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What Does a Labral Tear in the Hip Feel Like?

Your hips are among the hardest working joints in your body, so when something goes wrong, the effects are widespread. If you’re hobbled by hip pain, there are any number of problems that can lead to this discomfort, but a labral tear typically comes with its own telltale symptoms.

At Western Orthopaedics, Dr. Brian White is a board-certified orthopaedic hip surgeon who specializes in hip disorders, with labral tears at the head of the list. Thanks to his focus on this large joint, Dr. White and our team offer advanced treatments for hip issues and use the most state-of-the-art surgical techniques available to preserve the joint.

In the following, we take a look at what a labral tear in your hip joint feels like so that you can better recognize the problem and seek the expert help you need.

Understanding a labral tear

Before we get into the warning signs of a labral tear, let’s quickly review the role of your labrum in your hip to better understand the impact of a tear in this important connective tissue.

Your hips are large ball-and-socket joints, which means they rely heavily on the connective tissues that hold the bones in place to provide stability. One such tissue is your labrum, which is cartilage that covers your acetabulum — the socket portion of your joint. Your labrum facilitates the movement of your femoral head within the socket and holds the bones in place without allowing them to rub together.

Labral tears typically occur due to:

Many of the conditions on this list are related. As an example, the leading cause of a labral tear is FAI, which can be caused by wear and tear and lead to arthritis if not treated.

Knowing the signs of a labral tear

One of the first signs of a labral tear is pain or discomfort. At first, this pain may only come on during and after activity or after you’ve been sitting or standing for long periods.

The pain may also flare when you use your hips in certain ways, such as bending over or rotating the joint (think getting out of your car). 

All too soon, the pain can become a constant and dull ache in your hip, even when you’re lying down to sleep.

Other signs of a labral tear are popping or clicking sensations inside your hip that seem to “catch” the joint. You may even feel that there’s something foreign in your hip that’s preventing you from making certain movements without pain.

Another sign that you may have a labral tear is increasing stiffness in your hip, though this is a symptom that’s shared by arthritis and other issues within the joint.

Finding out if  you need hip arthroscopy

The best way to identify the source of your hip problem is to come see Dr. White. After thoroughly reviewing your symptoms, he orders advanced diagnostic imaging so he can take a look at what’s going on inside your joint.

If he identifies a labral tear, the good news is that Dr. White is a leading expert in labral reconstruction, which he performs arthroscopically to minimize your recovery time and risk.

To get to the bottom of your hip pain and back on your feet without pain, contact Dr. White at one of our offices in Denver or Arvada, Colorado, to set up an appointment. You can call us, send us a message, or use the “request appointment” button.

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