The labrum is a ring of strong fibrocartilaginous tissue lining around the socket of the hip joint. Labrum serves many functions where it acts as a shock absorber, lubricates the joint, and distributes the pressure equally. It holds the head of the femur in place and prevents the lateral and vertical movement of the femur head within the joint. It also deepens the acetabular cavity and offers stability against femoral head translation. It also has some positional or proprioception function to help know the position of the hip.
Labral tears may be caused by trauma, femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), hip hypermobility, dysplasia, and degeneration. It is one of the rare conditions and is common in athletes playing sports such as ice hockey, soccer, golf and ballet. Structural abnormalities may also cause hip labral tear.
Symptoms of a hip labral tear may include deep going pain, pain in the buttocks or on the outside of the injured hip. Patients may experience clicking, locking of the hip joint, stiffness or restricted range of motion.
Diagnosis of a labral tear is made based on a thorough history and physical examination of the hip. X Rays are useful in helping to identify underlying conditions such as osteoarthritis or hip impingement. MRI can identify both the location and severity of a labral tear.
- Hip labral tears generally do not heal on their own. However, there are nonsurgical treatment options that can help to manage symptoms. These options include:
- Anti inflammatory medications- these medications can help to decrease the inflammation and pain associated with a labrum tear
- Physical therapy- is an important component in the treatment of labral tears. Physical therapy will help to strengthen the surrounding muscles of the hip joint and improve overall hip mechanics.
- Cortisone injection- may be used for acute pain and relief of symptoms.
- If your symptoms persist despite the above treatments, or the tear is large, surgery may be recommended. Surgery to repair the labrum is generally done arthroscopically using fiber-optic camera and surgical instruments through the smaller incisions. Depending on the severity of tear, the damaged or torn labrum may be debrided (or removed), repaired, or reconstructed using donor tissue. If there is FAI present, it will be corrected to prevent retearing of the labrum.
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Dr. Scott Faucett
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