Hip pain is pretty common, and one diagnosis we are seeing more of since investigative technologies have been developed, is the hip labral tear. Not only is this painful, depending on the severity, it can require surgery to correct. The labrum in the hip is actually a ring of cartilage and has two important functions. It acts to deepen the socket to provide stability to the joint, and it also acts to reduce the friction that is felt whilst moving. A hip labral tear is characterized by the breaking or damaging of the labrum in the hip, the surface is no longer smooth.
How Do You Get A Hip Labral Tear?
There are basically two ways that you can end up suffering from a labral tear in the hip region.
- Degenerative tear
- Traumatic labral tear
Gradual wear and tear on the tissues can cause this condition. It might come from excessive twisting over time, or a certain weight bearing repetitive movement such as long distance running. It is not uncommon to see other degeneration to the joint in older patients, such as hip arthritis. The actual injury may occur at one time, but is a cause of degeneration, and over use over a long period of time, and is classified as a chronic injury.
Conversely, a labral tear can happen as a result of a traumatic injury. It is pretty common to occur in sports that need a ot of sudden changes and twisting. Such as soccer, footy, basketball or netball. A fall, or heavy landing can also be a cause of a traumatic labral tear. Hip labral tears will also usually be present when there has been dislocation or subluxation of the hip joint.
Symptoms Of A Hip Labral Tear
A labral tear to the hip can actually be quite hard to diagnose. The symptoms usually mimic those of a lot of other hip injuries, and you need to really get an MRI or see through an arthroscope if there is a tear. In addition to this, you will find that the tear is not always the cause of pain, often they are present with other injuries, but will not cause discomfort or issues.
However, for those that are suffering hip pain, it is helpful to know that the common symptoms of a hip labral tear are:
- Pain in the groin area.
- Snapping and clicking in the hip.
- Decreased range of motion of the hip area.
Treatment Of A Hip Labral Tear
Since this injury was really only discovered and become common in the last few years, the treatments plans are still evolving as we gain more understanding into the mechanisms of the injury. Although you often hear of athletes having arthroscopic surgery to get rid of the tear right away, the typical treatments start off more conservatively and grow with severity:
- Anti- inflammatory medication
- Physio treatment
- Cortisone Injection
- Hip Arthroscopy- Treatment of a labral tear will usual consist of surgery to shave off the tear. The recovery is usually 6-12 weeks depending on severity.
It is also really important that you perform strength and hip flexibility exercises to ensure a proper and full rehabilitation. Often overuse injuries can come from muscle imbalances, or weaknesses that are causing incorrect biomechanics. Make sure your hips are strong and you do a lot of hip mobility and you will greatly reduce the risk of re injury, and enhance your recovery. Returning to activity without the proper strength in your hip is just asking for trouble.