Torn cartilage in the hip, also known as a hip labral tear, can be extremely painful and difficult to live with. A tear in the cartilage of the hip can decrease one’s mobility and stability. The cartilage that helps keep the hip in place is called the labrum, which is made up of fibrocartilage. The three main functions of this cartilage of the hip are to protect the joints, decrease extra force on the joints and seal the joints together. A labral tear or torn cartilage in the hip weakens the joint sockets of the hips. Since the hip is known as a ball-and-socket joint, it has more free range of movement than most other parts of the body.
Torn Cartilage In The Hip Causes
- A hip labral tear or a torn cartilage in the hip is often caused by traumatic events. However, there are some genetic
and degenerative diseases that can cause a hip cartilage to prematurely tear. Some of the causes of a torn cartilage are:
- Fall- It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, if you fall incorrectly then you can tear your hip cartilage.
- Natural deterioration- This can occur naturally due to age.
- Femoroacetabular Impingement- This is a predisposition that individuals are born with that has a shallow socket and the ball of the joint is uncovered.
- Sports-related injury- Sports such as soccer, football, dance and hockey often see players being hit and falling constantly, which can lead to hip labral tear.
- Car/Motor vehicle accident- If your legs or hips have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident, then your risk to a hip injury can increase.
Most patients who complain of hip pain will also complain about hearing a “clicking” noise in their hip. This sound is often associated with hip injury and it is a major symptom of a torn cartilage. Some of the symptoms of torn cartilage of the hip can include the following:
- Pain in your hips, knees, back and/or legs
- Decreased activity
- Inability to walk or stand
- Difficulty sitting down or getting up
- Unable to drive or climb stairs
- Pain in your private areas, such as the groin
For a torn cartilage in the hip to be properly diagnosed, one must seek medical help. If a medical professional believes that there is a labral tear, then they will require additional testing to confirm this diagnosis. Some of the tests include:
- X-Ray- This can help check the bones and cartilage for any abnormal injuries or problems.
- Computed Tomography scan with 3D reconstruction (CT scan)- A CT scan can help check the problem area with a 3D reconstruction to see how to fix the issue.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)- A dye called gadolinium is injected into the joints of the torn hip before an MRI is performed to help illuminate the problem area during the procedure.
The good thing is that surgery is not required for all patients who have torn cartilage in the hip. When a hip injury is not extensive, then the patient should get plenty of rest, get off their feet, go to physical therapy and take anti-inflammatory medication. If the pain is unbearable then patients can take medication such as Advil or Tylenol.
If labral tear is extensive then doctors will need to surgical shave down the healthy tissue of the labrum and repair it. A hip arthroscopy helps repair the damages done to the cartilage of the torn hip. Immediately after surgery a patient should avoid things like: intense workouts, excessive walking, prolonged sitting or standing and gradually increase their daily movements. Post-operative physical therapy is often recommended to help get your hip joints moving correctly.
Some tips to help prevent torn cartilage in the hip are as follows:
- Avoid excessive workouts and too much pressure on hips
- Wear the proper footwear when walking or working out
- Stand up straight and keep proper balance
- Drink plenty of liquids with a healthy diet
- Stay within your required BMI