The labrum is cartilage that attaches to the socket or acetabulum in the hip joint. The labrum helps to stabilize the hip joint. Certain medical conditions such as hip dysplasia can occur when the head of the femur articulates with a shallow acetabular socket.
Some athletic activities result in excessive stress on the femoral acetabular (hip joint) and can cause a tear of the labrum. Those suffering from these types of injuries may experience a deep pain in the groin or pain that may radiate from the hip to the back. A person with a labrum tear may notice pain or have a feeling as if something is sticking in the joint when getting up from a seated position.
Sometimes a labral tear can occur without injury and is the result of a condition called Femoroacetabular Impingement. This condition develops when a person is growing in the teen years and occurs when there is an irregular contour where the labrum and articular cartiage surrounding the head of the femur. This results in excess stress and can result in a tear in the labrum.
Diagnosis of a labral tear is made using orthodedic tests and x-rays to evaluate impingement, improper movement and abnormal contour lines within the joint. Further investigation involves either plain MRI or MRI arthrogram, where dye is injected into the joint to visualize irregularities in the contours of the hip joint.
Treatment of tears of the labrum include physical therapy to help improve strengthening the muscles in the region to improve stability. Although the tear does not disappear patients notice improvement in the form of pain relief and improved mobility. Other treatments include intra-articular cortisone injections. Sometimes hip arthroscopy is needed when repair of the labrum is necessary.