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What Does a Hip Labral Tear Feel Like?

A clicking or locking feeling in the hip, deep pain in the buttocks or groin area, and stiffness of the hip that disrupts normal function are some of the common signs and symptoms of a hip labral tear. Hip labral tears are difficult to diagnose and are often misdiagnosed for many months after the tear occurs.

The hip labrum is a ring of cartilage that lines the rim of the hip socket. It helps provide a suction seal and distribute pressure for better stability and shock absorption when bearing weight on the hip. Hip labrum tears can be caused by high impact activities, repetitive hip movements, sports injuries, or direct trauma to the hip.

Those at high risk for labral tears include people with conditions like hip osteoarthritis (which causes degeneration of the cartilage) and hip impingement (when there is abnormal contact between the bones forming the hip joint), as well as young athletes that participate in high impact sports such as football, basketball, or track and field events.

A hip labral tear diagnosis may be verified by MRI scans, which provide detailed images of the soft tissue structures around the hip, or maybe confirmed with hip arthroscopy, during which the surgeon has a clear view of the inside of the hip joint.

The advantage of hip arthroscopy is that once a torn hip labrum is identified, the tear may be repaired immediately using specialized instruments inserted through the arthroscope. Because hip arthroscopy is performed through small incisions in the skin, there is very little tissue trauma, so patients can recover quickly and get back to sports and other activities they enjoy.

Visit the Hip Specialists at the American Hip Institute for an accurate diagnosis of your hip symptoms and a personalized treatment recommendation.

Dr. Ajay C. Lall is a dual fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and hip arthroscopy. He is an avid clinical researcher with numerous presentations and publications at international academic meetings and within top peer-reviewed journals. The doctors at the American Hip Institute® have been global leaders in Hip Arthroscopy and Robotic Surgery for over a decade. While some would call this excellence, we simply call it the American Hip Institute standard.

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