What is the labrum of the hip?
The labrum is a fibrous rim of cartilage that covers the edge and seals your hip socket. This lining of cartilage provides stability for the ball of the thigh bone (femur) inside of the hip socket (acetabulum), while also allowing flexibility.
How do tears happen?
Labral tears can occur from an injury such as a twist, slip, or from repetitive stress. For example, athletes such as gymnasts and ballet dancers who have to repeatedly pivot or flex their hip are more likely to damage their labrum than those who do not.
Over time this repetitive impingement of the hip joint can cause the labrum to tear. Damage to the labrum, if not managed properly, may lead to early degenerative arthritis.
What are the symptoms?
If you are experiencing pain in the front of your hip or groin, along with clicking, locking or catching of your hip joint you may have a tear of the hip labrum. Prolonged sitting, standing, walking or pivoting can cause pain and it may also cause a limp when walking. Other possible symptoms include joint stiffness or a feeling of instability in your hip.
How can Physiotherapy help?
If your physiotherapist suspects a labral tear, they will perform a series of tests to rule out any other conditions. It can be difficult to absolutely confirm a diagnosis of a labral tear in the clinic, however if it is suspected it can be confirmed with medical imaging.
Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, your physiotherapist will aim to reduce your symptoms and help you return to your pre-injury activity levels. Treatment will include a stretching and strengthening program.
We will also address any training errors or neuromuscular imbalances, provide movement re-education and a variety of manual techniques to help reduce pain. Other treatments are available or may be used in conjunction to physiotherapy including medications, corticosteroid injection or arthroscopy. The right treatment course for each case is decided through consultation with your medical team and will be based on your goals for the future.