Labral tears

What is it?

A labral tear is when the labrum (the rubbery rim of fibrous tissue surrounding the socket) is damaged.


Labral tears are usually caused by femoral acetabular impingement (FAI) or hip dysplasia but can occur where there is no bone deformity in young women, particularly if their joints are hypermobile (where the range of movement is beyond what is normally expected for the joint). Tears can also be caused by falls and taking part in sports that involve frequent rotation of the hip – for example ballet, running, playing hockey or netball.


As well as having pain in the groin and symptoms of femoral acetabular impingement (FAI) or hip dysplasia, symptoms also include a sensation of the hip ‘clicking’ in the socket as it is moved, or ‘locking’. About a quarter of patients experience joint instability.


After discussing your symptoms and carrying out a medical examination, the specialist may suggest an X-ray and MRI scans to back up the diagnosis. CT is usually required to exclude FAI.


The pain of an acute labral tear may reduce with time but seldom goes away completely. If you continue to have symptoms, or your pain is very severe, you may be offered hip athroscopy to repair or smooth down the tear.

Important: This information is only a guideline to help you understand your treatment and what to expect. Every person is different and your rehabilitation may be quicker or slower than other people’s. Please contact us for advice if you are worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.

Arthroscopy is a type of keyhole surgery used to diagnose and treat joint problems.
Hip replacement surgery is carried out when other treatments such as medication and changes in your activities and lifestyle have not relieved your symptoms.
This procedure involves changing the orientation of the hip socket in patients with hip dysplasia.

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