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Hip Labral Tears

What are hip labral tears?

A labral tear is an injury to the tissue between the socket and ball portions of the hip joint. This tear can cause a variety of symptoms including intense pain, difficulty moving your hip, and reduced mobility of the hip.

How are labral tears diagnosed?

The first step in diagnosing a tear is typically a physical exam. Your physician may ask you to move your leg and hips to evaluate the location and intensity of any pain that you are feeling. After conducting a physical exam, a physician may order additional diagnostic imaging to determine the optimal treatment path. This imaging may include:

Labral tear causing pain in a mans hip, hip area is highlighted in red
Labral tears can cause a variety of painful symptoms
  • An X-ray to determine any abnormalities in the hip joint
  • An MRI or MRA scan can provide additional detail of the soft tissues surrounding the hip joint.

What are the different types of labral tears?

Labral tears are typically grouped into one of two categories

  • Posterior labral tears are tears that occur in the back portion of the hip joint
  • Anterior labral tears are generally more common and occur in the front portion of the hip joint.

What causes labral tears to form?

Some of the most common causes of tears include traumatic injury, overuse, and abnormalities of hip bones and joints. Symptoms may develop over time, or in the case of traumatic injury may be immediately apparent.

What symptoms are associated with labral tears

Common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the hip, buttocks, or groin area that can worsen when walking or running
  • Difficulty moving the hip or general hip stiffness
  • A locking or "clicking" sensation in the hip joint
  • Unsteadiness while on your feet

Some labral tears are asymptomatic and do not typically require treatment.

What treatment options are available?

If a tear is minor and only causes minimal symptoms, treatment may not be required. For larger and more painful tears, a variety of treatment options are available including

  • Over-the-counter medications to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Steroid injections can temporarily relieve painful symptoms
  • Physical therapy can help strengthen muscles and allow greater mobility
  • Minimally invasive surgery can repair the damage to the tear

A physical exam by a licensed physician is the best way to help determine which treatment option would be best for your individual situation.

What should I do if I have hip pain and think I may have a labral tear?

Our team of orthopedic physicians is expertly trained in diagnosing and treating all kinds of labral tears as well as other causes of hip pain. You can request an appointment by using the form on this page and our team of physicians would be happy to see you and help determine the best way forward. If you already have diagnostic imaging such as an MRI, you can request a free MRI review here as well.

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