The cartilage that lines the rim of your hip joint’s socket is known as the labrum, and it helps hold your hip joint together by acting like a suction cup. When this cushioning tissue tears, the condition is known as a labral tear.
Sports that increase the risk of labral tear include golfing, soccer, football, ballet and hockey. A hip labral tear can cause a “catching” sensation or a clicking sound in the hip joint, along with hip pain and stiffness. But sometimes a hip labral tear can exist without causing any signs or symptoms.
The tear can occur in contact sports, such as football, if the hip is involved in a collision. The repetitive motions common in sports such as softball also can make one prone to a labral tear, as can structural abnormalities in the hip, which increase the amount of wear and tear the hip undergoes during exercise.
Consult a sports medicine specialist if you think you may have a hip labral tear. It’s important to get this condition treated, as it can predispose you to osteoarthritis and further hip injury later in life. The doctor may order an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to get a close look at the problem and rule out other possible causes of your pain.
For some people, rest, pain relievers and compression are enough to heal the tear. Physical therapy can also help you recover, and can also assist you in avoiding re injuring the hip. Finally, surgery is necessary in rare cases to remove or repair the damaged tissue.
To prevent a recurrence of a hip labral tear, make sure you allow plenty of time to recover from exercise, and that you increase your mileage and training gradually.
Two other common athlete hip injuries are a hip flexor strain and a hip pointer.