A hip labral tear refers to a tear in a ring of cartilage called the labrum, which circles the outer rim of your hip joint socket. If the labrum is torn, frayed or otherwise damaged, it can cause groin or hip pain, or less commonly, pain in your buttocks.
A hip labral tear often causes no symptoms. However, you may experience groin or hip pain, especially after standing, sitting or walking for a long time. You may also have a reduced range of movement. Your hip may feel stiff and/or click, catch or lock when you move it.
Complications of a hip labral tear
A hip labral tear increases your risk of developing osteoarthritis in the affected hip joint.
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and perform a physical examination. They may also refer you for imaging tests, such as:
A hip labral tear doesn’t get better on its own and needs treatment. However, if you have a minor hip labral tear, you can ease some of your symptoms by resting and taking anti-inflammatory medications eg ibuprofen.
Depending on the severity of your hip labral tear, your doctor may recommend steroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain, as well as physiotherapy. More severe hip labral tears may need surgery.
Surgery for a hip labral tear
Surgery to repair a hip labral tear is usually done via keyhole surgery, which is minimally invasive — this is called a hip arthroscopy. It involves making several small cuts into your hip to insert special surgical instruments and a thin, telescope-like tube with a light and a camera on the end (an arthroscope).
A hip arthroscopy may involve:
Hip arthroscopy is often done as a day case, so you can return home on the same day as your procedure.
Hip arthroscopy can resolve pain caused by a hip labral tear and return full range of movement to your hip. A complete recovery from surgery usually takes four to six months, after which you can return to your usual activities, including sports.
How painful is a hip labral tear?
Depending on how bad your hip labral tear is, your pain may vary from mild to severe. In many cases, you may not experience any hip pain.
Is a labrum tear serious?
Depending on the severity of your hip labral tear, it can cause pain, restricted movement and locking of your hip.
What happens if a labral tear goes untreated?
In most cases, a hip labral tear needs treatment to get better. Without treatment, it can worsen and cause severe pain, as well as restrict the movement of your hip.
What aggravates hip labral tear?
Walking, sitting and standing for long periods of time can worsen a hip labral tear, as can any other physical activities that require repetitive movements of your hip.
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