The hip joint is responsible for bearing our body weight as we walk, run, stand, and sit. These movements require the hip joint to be very flexible while still maintaining stability for our bones, muscles, and soft tissues. In fact, the only joint that allows more range of motion than the hip is the shoulder.
Unfortunately, all of this movement and weight-bearing makes the hip joint prone to injuries, such as a labral tear. By understanding your hip joint and what puts it at risk for injury, you have a better chance of protecting it and avoiding unnecessary hip pain.
Two bones come together at the ball-and-socket joint of your hip. The ball at the top of the femur (your thigh bone) fits into the socket of the acetabulum (your hip bone). Strong ligaments help keep the bones in place. Cartilage ensures that the joints slide together smoothly. The muscles surrounding the hip work with these soft tissues to enable you to perform everyday movements without the hip bones slipping out of place.
The hip labrum is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the outer edge of the hip socket. It helps the joint maintain alignment while retaining lubricating fluid inside the joint capsule. A hip labral tear is a common injury that is often caused by repetitive stress from physical activity or trauma.
Just about anyone can suffer a hip labral tear. By keeping the bones and muscles healthy, you have a better chance of protecting the area. Here are some causes and risk factors that make the labrum more prone to injury:
In addition to these causes, women have a much higher risk of developing a hip labral tear. Some medications may also make bones weaker. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects of your medications.
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If you’re suffering from hip or groin pain, you may be wondering what is causing it. Hip pain is the most common symptom of a hip labral tear. In some cases, it develops gradually because of repetitive stress to the area from playing sports or other personal habits. Those who fall or suffer a major trauma may suddenly experience pain. Here are the symptoms to look out for:
Since many hip injuries and conditions have similar symptoms, diagnosing a hip labral tear may be tricky and time-consuming. Your doctor starts by conducting a thorough examination including asking questions about your daily habits, symptoms, and medical history. During the physical examination, your doctor will look for swelling and redness around the joint. Also, your doctor will perform an evaluation of joint flexibility, strength, and range of motion. The FABER test may also be used. This test involves manipulating the leg and applying gentle pressure on the knee to see if your hip pain is caused by a hip labral tear.
After the examination, your doctor may elect to perform diagnostic testing to rule out other conditions and take a better look at the area. For example, an MRI gives a detailed look at the soft tissues that surround the hip joint. A hip injection may also help your doctor confirm his or her diagnosis. During this procedure, a numbing medicine is injected into the affected area. If your pain goes away, chances are you’re suffering from a hip labral tear.
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Depending on the severity of your hip labral tear, your doctor will recommend several treatment options. In most cases, nonsurgical treatments are the first options for treating your pain. If these conservative treatments don’t provide pain relief, minimally invasive surgery may be the next option.
One of the main goals of treating this condition, especially a minor tear, is pain management. Your doctor may recommend some of the following conservative treatments:
If more conservative treatments haven’t helped with your hip pain after two or three months, minimally invasive surgery may be the next option. Arthroscopic hip surgery uses a small incision to insert a tiny camera into the hip. This procedure allows the orthopedic surgeon to take a closer look at the area and use small surgical tools to repair the joint. Since the procedure is minimally invasive, you can expect less damage to the body, scarring, and pain after surgery. In addition, recovery times are usually faster.
The most common surgical procedures for a hip labral tear include:
Is your hip pain keeping from the activities you love? Have you tried to manage it yourself without success? Our team at NJ Spine & Orthopedic is ready to help you get your life back. We care about listening to your symptoms and goals for treatment. In most cases, our doctors give you conservative options to consider before they recommend surgery.
If you do end up needing arthroscopic hip surgery, our experienced joint and hip doctors use the latest technology and techniques to take care of your hip issues and get you back on your feet.
Your time is precious…why spend it in pain? Schedule a consultation at NJ Spine & Orthopedic today to discover how we can get you back to doing the things you love.
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