What are labral tears?
Every joint in the body has support and cushioning from various tissues. One of the closest structures to the actual joint is cartilage. Cartilage covers the bones that make up the joint, like the hips. Cartilage inside the hip joint is the labrum. The labrum lies within the pelvic bone that aids with this ball and socket joint. The femur head moves more easily with protection from the labrum. Like the rest of the cartilage in our bodies, the labrum is vulnerable to tears and injury. For the hip, tears of the labrum can lead to chronic aches and pain.
What causes labral tears?
Labral tears are close to other orthopedic conditions like osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis of hip refers to diminishing cartilage while labral tears are literal rips or tearing of the labrum. In both these conditions, there is injury to the hip that most commonly causes chronic hip pain. Causes of labral tears in the hip are the following:
- Natural wear and tear or aging
- Severe injury to the hip, thigh or groin
- Overuse or overextension of the hip joint
Athletes have a higher risk of ligament and labral tears due to their level of physical activity. So, labral tears often result from sports-related injuries.
How do I know if I have labral tears?
In addition to chronic hip pain, there are several symptoms that relate to labral tears. Patients may not notice any major symptoms immediately after the tear. Over time, the hip pain and other symptoms begin to build. If the labral tear grows or the patient waits on a diagnosis, there will be more chronic pain. Major symptoms of labral tears include:
- Pain sensations near the groin or buttocks
- Catching and locking within the hip
- Sounds like popping or clicking from the hips
- Weakness in the hip toward one side specifically
How do I prevent labral tears?
Most labral tears come from serious injury to the hip. Protecting the hip and other joints can help with injury prevention. Especially for athletes, patients must take caution before physical activity or exercise. Follow along with this labral tear prevention advice:
- Wear supportive shoes for working out and exercising
- Wear the right gear and equipment when participating in sports
- Let the hips and legs rest after repetitive motions like cycling or running
- Seek treatment when feeling any levels of pain near the hip joint