What are labral tears?
Talk to the Hip Experts
The labrum is a rim of soft tissue or fibrocartilage that surrounds the acetabulum (hip socket). The labrum adds to the stability of the hip (by deepening the socket) and protects the joint surface. The labrum can become torn as the result of an injury but is more commonly torn related to FAI (link). The labrum can also tear when there is osteoarthritis of the hip, as a part of the overall degeneration of the joint. When there is a labral tear in the setting of osteoarthritis, the treatment is usually geared toward treating the arthritic joint as a whole.
What symptoms do labral tears cause?
Labral tears often cause pain in the groin or front of the hip during activity or with deep flexion (bending) and rotation of the hip. Some individuals with labral tears of the hip will also have clicking or a sense of catching deep within the hip with certain activities.
How are labral tears diagnosed?
Most pain in the hip which lasts more than a few days should be evaluated by a physician. The diagnosis of a labral tear is usually made by a detailed interview and examination by your sports medicine physician. To verify the diagnosis, a specialized MRI of the hip called an MRI arthrogram is done. X-rays are also commonly taken to evaluate the bony structure of the hip, which is sometimes abnormal in people with labral tears.
How are labral tears treated?
Treatment of labral tears is dependent on the severity of the symptoms and the specific characteristics of the tear. If you have been diagnosed with a labral tear, you should see a sports medicine physician with expertise in labral tears and hip arthroscopy. Labral tears that require surgery are treated with hip arthroscopy, a minimally invasive technique for treating damage within the hip. Labral tears may be addressed with either refixation (repair of the labral tissue using suture) or debridement (removal of a small portion of the labrum), depending on tear type and the patient’s age.