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Labral Tears

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Labral tears occur when the ring of soft elastic tissue outside the rim of the joint socket, called the labrum, tears due to strain or injury.

Athletes are at a greater risk for developing a labral tear, especially a hip labral tear. Symptoms may include pain or a ‘catching, locking, or clicking’ sensation in the joint, as well as stiffness and limited range of motion. Initial treatment may include pain relievers and physical therapy, as well as arthroscopic surgery to remove loose fragments from the joint and trim or repair the labral tear.

Imaging scans such as X-rays are used to help diagnose labral tears and rule out fractures or structural abnormalities. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) takes diagnosis a step further by providing detailed images of soft tissue.

Your physician may recommend an injection of anesthesia or corticosteroids to help relieve pain caused by a labral tear in the joint. Additional treatments include anti-inflammatory drugs and medications, such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) and naproxen (Aleve, others), can relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

Physical therapy is another treatment that can help maximize range of motion and improve strength and stability. A physical therapist will help analyze movements to help patients avoid those that put stress on bones and joints.

Surgery is recommended for patients experiencing pain for more than four to 12 weeks after physical therapy treatments. Arthroscopic surgery is another method for repairing labral tears by either cutting out and removing the torn piece of labrum or by sewing it back together.

After surgery, many people are able to return to sports and exercise routines within four to six months.