There are 2 types of cartilage in the hip: surface cartilage and labral cartilage. The labral cartilage runs along the rim of the socket. When torn, it is very painful. A labral tears is also harder to reach than other cartilage tears, because it is located deeper in the body and surrounded by muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Labral tears may be a few millimeters to a few centimeters in length. There are a few theories for why the labrum tears:

  • The cartilage may be taking more pressure than normal due to the shape of the socket
  • The labrum may be pinched inside the joint, causing it to get caught in between the ball and the socket as the hip joint moves
  • The cartilage may be sheared off, causing a friction force, and the labrum fails
  • Our tissues may become more susceptible to injury as we age

Labral Tear Symptoms

Many patients have experienced symptoms for years but received wrong diagnoses for their pain. Labral tears can be confused with many other sources of pain.

Common symptoms include:

  • Back problems
  • Disc problems
  • Intra-pelvic problems
  • Ovarian type pain symptoms
  • Leg length discrepancy

Labral Tear Treatment

At Wake Forest Baptist, we don’t push surgery as the only treatment possibility. Our non-operative treatments for labral tears include:

  • Activity modification
  • Medical pain management, such as anti-inflammatories
  • Rehabilitation

If your pain does not respond to non-operative treatments and is affecting your daily quality of life, your doctor may recommend surgery.

Labral tear surgery is a type of hip arthroscopy.