A hip labral tear involves the ring of cartilage, called the labrum, that follows the outside rim of the socket of your hip joint. The labrum acts like a rubber seal to help hold the ball at the top of your thighbone securely within your hip socket.
Athletes who participate in sports such as ice hockey, soccer, football, golfing and ballet are at higher risk of developing a hip labral tear. Structural abnormalities of the hip can also lead to a hip labral tear. Many hip labral tears cause no signs or symptoms.
Occasionally, however, you may experience one or more of the following:
- A locking, clicking or catching sensation in your hip joint
- Pain in your hip or groin
- Stiffness or limited range of motion in your hip joint
The cause of a hip labral tear may be:
- Trauma. Injury to or dislocation of the hip joint—which can occur during car accidents or from playing contact sports such as football or hockey—can cause a hip labral tear
- Structural abnormalities. Some people are born with hip problems that can accelerate wear and tear of the joint and eventually cause a hip labral tear
- Repetitive motions. Sports-related and other physical activities—including the sudden twisting or pivoting motions common in golf or softball—can lead to joint wear and tear that ultimately results in a hip labral tear
It can be treated with corticosteroid injections to reduce pain and swelling, physical therapy or surgery to remove damaged tissue or sew the torn labral together.