Hip labrum injury

November 12, 2012

Hip labrum injury

Labrum in your ball and socket joints can be damaged leading to a very painful and long lasting injury.

The ball and socket joints of the body are surrounded by a type of cartilage called the labrum; it forms a ring round the bony socket in order to stabilize the joint whilst still allowing for flexibility and movement.

Labrum pain

Recent developments in medical techniques has meant a corresponding increase in the recognition of hip labrum tears, previously research has focused on the much more common injury and pain of the shoulder labrum which are more commonly the source of this type of pain and discomfort.

ItÂ’s usually a tear

Pain in the hip joint which is the caused by the hip labrum is usually the result of a tear in the labrum itself.

  • Degenerative tear – the result of repeated use and activity, generally chronic.

  • Traumatic hip labrum tear is generally an acute injury as a result of an accident or fall.

Hip labrum tears are often when dislocation of the hip occurs and are often associated with a twisting movement which will caused immediate pain in the hip.


Unfortunately the symptoms of a tear in the hip labrum are very similar to other injuries and strains in the area – such as groin strain, snapping hip, sports hernia or other sports related injuries, if a hip labrum tear is revealed during an MRI scan it still may not necessarily be the source of the pain. Typically symptoms of this type of tear can include -

  • Pain in the groin area

  • A feeling of clicking or snapping in the hip itself

  • Limited movement of the joint.


There are specific tests which are able to determine the cause of any hip pain; typically X-rays will be taken which may also reveal any other underlying cause of the pain. As already stated an MRI may not be useful to clearly see the labrum, but may be of some benefit particularly if a contrast fluid is used.

Occasionally a doctor may choose to carry out a procedure known as a diagnostic injection which should pinpoint the location of the pain. A needle will be inserted into the hip joint as the doctor watches on a monitor, the doctor then administers a local anesthetic directly into the hip joint – complete alleviation of the pain indicates that the source of the pain and therefore the problem is within the hip joint; if no pain relief is experienced then further investigations may be necessary.


As recognition of the problem of hip labrum tears has increased so treatments options have also developed and evolved and continue to do so with improvements in technique being seen all the time. Early treatment, soon after diagnosis will include -

  • Rest – allowing a reduction of the inflammation and an easing of symptoms

  • Anti-inflammatory medication

  • Physiotherapy

  • Cortisone injections

In the event of these treatments not working then a hip arthroscopy may be considered in order for the surgeon to look inside the hip joint and assess the whole joint area before he or she decides on an appropriate course of action. Very often the torn are of the labrum will be shaved away, repairs are only attempted when the tear is large. Recovery time after a hip arthroscopy is fairly long – at least six weeks and sometimes as many as 12 weeks.

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