Labral tears

common problems

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Labral Tear

Arthroscopic picture of an inner surface tear of the labrum near the edge of the hip socket. The ball of the hip can be seen to the right of the metal probe.

What is the labrum?

The acetabular labrum is the fibrocartilage edge of the acetabulum, or hip joint socket. It is firmly attached to the bone and to the cartilage lining of the acetabulum. The labrum deepens the socket and probably has an important role in proprioception, or joint position sense, within the hip.

What causes labral tears?

Most labral tears are due to degeneration within the fibrocartilage of the labrum. This makes the labrum weaker and prone to tearing. This degeneration may be due to activity, age or structural abnormalities of hip such as FAI. Occasionally, the labrum can be torn as a result of an injury. In some cases, this is a serious injury that may involve a dislocation or near dislocation of the hip.

What does a labral tear feel like?

Most people with labral tears experience sharp catching pain with certain movements. This can be very severe, and sometimes makes the hip feel as if it might give way or lock. The sharp pain might be brief, but is often followed by dull aching pain.

How can a labral tear be treated?

Using arthroscopic surgery, the torn or frayed part of the labrum can be trimmed. If the labrum is in generally good condition, but has been torn away from the edge of the bone by an injury, it can be repaired with stitches.