The socket (acetabulum) of the hip joint is lined by an important ring of soft tissue – the labrum. The labrum is an important structure; it provides stability to the hip, lubricates the hip, and also maintains a negative suction seal. There are three common causes of labral tears.
Traumatic events: examples include sports injuries, a fall, or auto accidents. Rarely, the labrum can tear following a partial dislocation, full dislocation (when the ball is completely out of the socket) or fracture of the hip.
Femoroacetabular impingement: individuals with femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) with abnormal hip contact are particularly predisposed to developing labral tears.
Overuse injuries: individuals who participate in athletic activities, hobbies, or work that requires repetitive motion of the hip may damage the labrum.
- Groin Pain
- Catching or locking of the hip
- Difficulty squatting and lunging
- Sense of instability and discomfort during athletic activities
Diagnosis And Treatment
Dr. Welch considers each patient’s symptoms, as well as a detailed physical examination, x-rays, and usually and MRI of the hip to make the diagnosis.
Non-surgical treatment includes rest, activity modification, physical therapy to strengthen the hip and core muscles, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Injections, including steroid injections, are also helpful as they serve a dual purpose: to reduce pain and as a diagnostic test to determine if all of the patient’s pain is from the inside of the hip joint. If the patient fails non-operative management, then surgery is usually the next treatment option.
If surgery is necessary, Dr. Welch usually recommends an arthroscopic approach to the hip using two or three small incisions. During surgery, Dr. Welch introduces a camera into the hip through one incision and instruments into the hip though the other incisions. The three procedures performed for labral tears include labral repair, labral debridement, and labral reconstruction.