Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.
The hip is the largest ball and socket joint in the body. Yet, for decades, difficulty in seeing the inner workings of a patient’s hip joint has presented physicians with a challenge. Today, arthroscopic technology allows your Houston orthopedic doctor to obtain views of the hip joint that were previously impossible to achieve – all with the use of minimally invasive surgical technology.
For many patients – both athletes and non-athletes – labral tears of the hip can cause serious discomfort, limiting physical activity or making exercise altogether impossible. If you have a stiff, achy hip with limited range of motion, pain in the hip or groin, or a locking or catching sensation in the hip joint, then you may have a labral tear of the hip.
What is a hip labral tear?
The labrum is a ring of cartilage that protects the socket of the hip joint. One of its primary functions is to hold the thighbone securely in place. This cartilage can tear slowly as the result of degeneration (natural wear-and-tear that accompanies age or a structural abnormality) or it may tear suddenly. Acute tears are usually associated with athletes who play impact sports like football and soccer, as well as golfers, softball players and ballet dancers, whose sports involve repetitive hip motions.
How is a labral tear of the hip diagnosed?
Your Houston orthopedic physician will begin the diagnostic process with a physical exam, review of your medical history and an evaluation of the joint’s range of motion. An x-ray or MRI may be ordered to gain a better understanding of the injury. It’s typical for hip labral tears to be accompanied by other injuries in the hip joint, especially if the labral tear is the result of trauma.
How is a labral tear of the hip treated?
The use of NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, can be helpful in managing hip pain. Your Houston orthopedic physician may also administer corticosteroid injections to help manage the pain temporarily. Physical therapy can help increase range of motion while rebuilding strength and stability. If these non-surgical methods are unsuccessful, then arthroscopic hip surgery may be recommended to repair the labral tears.
During arthroscopic hip surgery, your Houston orthopedic doctor will make tiny incisions on the skin, through which a fiber-optic camera and surgical tools can be passed. The entire procedure takes place through these incisions. Typically, the surgical repair of a hip labral tear takes one of two approaches: either the surgeon reattaches the torn labrum, or she removes the torn pieces from the joint. Your physician will discuss the possible options with you prior to your surgery.
See a Houston Orthopedic Physician for Hip Labral Tear
For more information about hip labral tears, treatment and surgery, call (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics online.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.