Torn labrum hip symptoms are pain, stiffness, and even loss of range of motion. We explain why it happens and how it can be repaired.

T labrum tear is a fairly common pathology, especially in athletes. For example, in ballet dancers, soccer players, and ice hockey players.

The labrum is a cartilaginous ring found between the femur and the hip. Covers the outer edge of the joint cavity in question. In this way, it helps to hold the longest bone in the body in a proper position.

In addition to its frequency, this injury is important because it usually requires surgery. Therefore, in this article we explain everything you need to know about a hip labral tear and how to avoid it.

What is a hip labral tear?

Before explaining what a hip labrum tear is, it is important to understand what this joint looks like. The hip is a ball-shaped joint. The cavity in the hip bone in which the upper part of the femur fits is the acetabulum.

This part, which is shaped like a round ball, is called the femoral head. The ring of cartilaginous tissue, at the edge of the socket, is the labrum. As an article in Sports Medicine Oregon points out, this structure increases the stability of the joint.

When a hip labrum tear occurs, what happens is that the cartilage tissue is damaged. Therefore, it ceases to adequately exercise its function. The femoral head loses part of its grip.

There are many causes that can lead to this problem, both acute and chronic. For example, it may be the result of a femoroacetabular impingement or osteoarthritis.

Torn labrum hip symptoms

The hip labrum tear is sometimes asymptomatic. But, torn labrum hip symptoms can appear. For example, if you feel pain in the hip that is unbearable and spreads to the groin, you know that’s it!

This pain is worse when you walk or spend a lot of time sitting or standing. Stiffness in the hip joint, as if there are limitations to the range of motion, are common.

The joint may also crack with certain movements of the leg or appear locked. The problem is that, if left untreated, it can lead to complications. The chance of developing osteoarthritis increases over time.

Causes

As we have pointed out throughout the article, hip labral tear is more common in athletes. The truth is that there are multiple causes that can lead to this pathology.

Sports like golf or ice hockey are risk factors. Contact injuries are also frequently associated with a labrum tear. For example, American football.

According to an article from the Hospital for Special Surgery, this pathology may be due to structural abnormalities. Associated diseases are osteoarthritis and femoroacetabular impingement.

An abnormal contact between the femoral head and the hip socket is what the latter consists of It can be due to both a malformation in the femur and one in the acetabulum. The point is that such contact causes the labrum to wear out more quickly.

How to diagnose it?

Diagnosing a hip labral tear can be complex. It is essential that the doctor perform a proper examination of the joint. For this he will mobilize the leg in different positions.

However, certain complementary tests are usually required to rule out other injuries. One of the most used is radiography. Through the image you can see if there is any fracture or bone abnormality. It is especially useful if there has been trauma.

But the soft tissues of the body cannot be seen with the X-ray. For this reason, MRI is sometimes used.

Treatments for labral tear

Labrum tear is a difficult injury to treat. Although in minor tears you could resort to medical or physiotherapy approach, resorting to surgery to achieve healing is not bad.

There are measures that doctors usually recommend in all cases, regardless of when patients reach the operating room. One of them is weight loss if there is obesity. The measures are helpful in reducing the stress on the hip joint.

In the case of athletes, recommendations are to modify certain habits in physical activity. In many cases it is advisable to reduce the intensity or seek other forms of training.

Non-surgical approaches

To relieve pain and reduce the inflammation that occurs in this injury, you can get use of medical treatments. For this, doctors prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. For example, ibuprofen or naproxen. Corticosteroid injections work for some people.

Another of the pillars of treatment is physiotherapy. A specialist must carry out, and help you perform exercises that will help  you regain the joint’s range of motion.

Surgical treatment

Surgery is often one of the best options for treating serious tears. Doctors recommend it when non-surgical treatments fail. That is, when despite drugs and physiotherapy, pain cannot be controlled or mobility restored.

According to a publication from the Cleveland Clinic, doctors use arthroscopy to perform a surgery for a hip labral tear. It is a minimally invasive technique that takes place through small incisions. Through them doctors use the necessary instruments to repair the injury.

Doctors perform arthroscopy on an outpatient basis. Most patients can go home the same day. The idea is to either sew the tear or reconstruct the entire labrum. A healthy cartilage graft is necessary for a reconstruction.

Despite being a minimally invasive technique, it also carries risks. There may be bleeding, infection, or nerve injury.

Can you prevent it?

Recovery after a labral tear is not easy. The time required to rehabilitate varies depending on the severity of the injury. Importantly, despite surgery, you will probably need crutches for walking in the weeks afterward.

In fact, some patients do not fully recover until months have passed. That is why it is essential to try to prevent this injury. For this, perform strength and flexibility exercises with the legs and hips.

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