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Hip Labral Tear

The hip is a ball and socket joint and the largest weight-bearing joint in the body. The upper end of the thigh bone (the femur) is the ball that fits into the socket (the acetabulum) in the pelvis. The socket is lined with articular cartilage that reduces friction and provides smooth movement. However, the socket is shallow, so nature provides a strong ring of cartilage lining it called the labrum to help contain the ball within the socket via a strong suction seal. The labrum holds the leg bone in place and seals the hip joint to increase joint stability.

A labral tear destabilizes the hip joint, adds to joint impairment, restricts motion, creates weakness and instability, and can lead to hip dislocation. To alleviate the pain, the patient often changes their gait to take the load off the damaged labrum and reduce pain. This changes the center of gravity which leads to muscle dysfunction. Over time the hip joint can deteriorate and become permanently damaged. Labral tears are just as common in both men and women and can be associated with other hip conditions such as hip dysplasia or femoroacetabular impingement.

The most common symptoms of a hip labral tear are:

  • Pain with prolonged sitting / driving
  • Sharp hip or groin pain especially with walking or running
  • Pain at night
  • Sexual groin pain
  • Joint stiffness when attempting to stand
  • Reduced range of motion
  • A clicking or locking sensation with movement

Degenerative tears

Repetitive use or overuse can wear down the labrum and cause a degenerative tear. Nonathletes performing activities of daily living and athletes who play ice hockey, soccer, football, golf, and ballet are at increased risk of a degenerative tear. In fact, almost three quarters of labrum tears are the result of gradual wear and tear.

Traumatic tears

Traumatic tears are caused by trauma from an auto accident, a sports injury, or even a slip and fall from a standing height causing a hip dislocation or partial dislocation (subluxation).

Structural tears

Hip dysplasia or femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) are conditions that cause abnormal hip movements which predispose patients to having a labral tear. Hip dysplasia is a malformed socket which is excessively shallow that can lead to significant edge-loading and tearing of the labrum along the hip joint. Hip dysplasia often leads to hip dislocation or subluxation. Hip impingement is a condition where the hip bones are abnormally shaped and impinge on or pinch the labrum during range of motion causing tears. This condition is called femoroacetabular impingement (FAI).

The experts at LALL Orthopedics + will review your medical history, ask questions about hip injuries and symptoms, and conduct a thorough orthopedic examination with specific tests to help identify the source of your hip pain. They will order imaging studies including x-rays to check for bony causes of hip pain, and an MRI to evaluate the soft tissues.

Treatment depends on the cause and severity of the tear. Nonsurgical treatment includes rest, icing, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and cutting-edge regenerative medicine options such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or Stem-Cell injections to help heal the labral tear. Nonsurgical options are always the first line in treatment modalities for labral tears, but if symptoms fail to resolve, minimally-invasive, same-day arthroscopic hip surgery may be recommended to repair the injured hip and restore its function.

Surgeons at LALL Orthopedics + are world-renowned experts in arthroscopic treatment of hip conditions such as labral tears. It is a minimally invasive procedure that can be employed to:

  • Debride or trim torn labral tissues that are causing symptoms including popping and locking. It is a valid approach in selected patients.
  • If the labral tissue is of the appropriate size and consistency, your surgeon will repair a labral tear by reattaching the labrum to the rim of the socket using sutures or anchors.
  • If the labral tissue is repairable, yet small or diminutive in size, your surgeon will perform a novel arthroscopic labral repair with augmentation procedure where they add graft tissue to the native labrum during the reattachment procedure.
  • When the labrum is too damaged to repair, the experts at LALL Orthopedics + will perform a world-leading arthroscopic labral reconstruction procedure where they will rebuild the labrum in its entirety using a graft. The newly reconstructed labrum will heal to the socket, restore the hip’s suction seal and provide significantly improved stability while restoring hip function.

New Jersey hip surgeon Dr. Ajay C. Lall is a former dual sport NCAA collegiate athlete (football and track & field), American board certified, triple fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Lall specializes in hip arthroscopy, robotic hip replacement and regenerative medicine such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem-cell therapy. He treats non-athletes and athletes at all levels of play from collegiate to professional to the Olympic level.

Contact LALL Orthopedics + to schedule a consultation, receive the correct diagnosis, and undergo state-of-the-art treatment options. LALL Orthopedics + has offices in Paramus, NJ, Philadelphia, PA and Belvidere, IL. LALL Orthopedics + regularly sees patients from Bergen County, Hackensack, and Morristown, NJ.

At a Glance

Ajay C. Lall, MD, MS, FAAOS

  • Board Certified – Orthopedic Surgery
  • Triple Fellowship Trained
  • Performs over 750 Surgeries Per Year
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