Hip Labral Tears: What Are They and How Do They Happen?

The hip is a large ball and socket joint. The hip labrum is cartilage that lines the inside hip joint, protecting the head of the femur which rests in the socket. A hip labral tear can result from damage occurring either over time, or from a sudden injury. Hip labral damage can be serious, as it does not heal easily; cartilage cells cannot repair themselves. Hip labral tears can lead to joint instability and future orthopedic issues.

Hip labral tears can result from repetitive movement, commonly seen in athletes. Patients who run, play contact sports, or engage in sudden twisting motions whether in athletic or work activity. Routinely or repeatedly moving your hip past the range of motion will cause smaller labral tears, possibly leading to further joint damage, and more painful issues.

Sudden injuries also can cause hip labral tears. Hip dislocations are usually accompanied by labral tears. The hip takes a lot of force to dislocate, such as from a car accident or a serious sports injury. Elderly patients, or patient with prior hip or labral injuries or conditions, have more risk of these tears, since the joint and labrum may already be weakened, and less able to repair themselves.

Consider common symptoms of hip labral tears:

Hip labral tears left untreated are a chronic problem. They may alter your gait, which can lead to other knee, back, and neck issues. It will also make the joint more unstable which will accelerate the onset of osteoarthritis.

Many hip labral tears can be treated conservatively, especially if they are obtained gradually and treated early. If conservative methods fail to help your hip feel better after a few months, you and best-rated hip surgeon, Rupesh Tarwala, MD, can discuss hip arthroscopy. Hip arthroscopies are minimally invasive procedures that limit pain, complications, and recovery time after surgery. Rupesh Tarwala, MD is an internationally acclaimed hip arthroscopy specialist who provides top hip arthroscopic surgery treatment in New York and New Jersey with New York Bone and Joint Specialists.

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