You may have come across the term "labral tear" due to the large number of high-profile athletes having undergone treatment for this condition.
The labrum is a thick ring of cartilage that surrounds the shoulder and hip socket. It provides stability to the joint by increasing the depth of the socket which helps to keep the head of the arm bone or thigh bone in its proper position. In addition to stabilizing the hip joint, the hip labrum also helps to seal in joint fluid minimizing friction within the joint.
Tears in the labrum can increase the possibility of dislocation and other joint disorders. Shoulder labrum tears are common in sports such as baseball, volleyball, tennis and basketball that involve repetitive throwing and overhead arm motions. Those who participate in sports such as football, soccer, and ice hockey are prone to injuring the hip labrum. Diagnosing a labral tear is not easy and usually requires imaging studies along with a physical exam.
Shoulder symptoms to watch out for:
- Deep aching pain inside the shoulder. You may feel pain in the back of the shoulder. If the biceps tendon is involved, the pain may be felt in the front of the shoulder.
- Pain with overhead shoulder motion.
- Popping, clicking, or grinding with shoulder motion.
- Weakness of the shoulder joint.
Hip symptoms to watch out for:
- Deep pain within the hip joint. This may be accompanied by radiating pain in the lower back, side of the hip, top of the hamstrings, glutes, etc.
- A clicking or locking sensation in the hip.
- Stiffness and limited range of motion of the hip.
- Weakness of the hip joint.
Not repairing a labral tear promptly may result in the tear worsening, catching of the torn labrum in between articulating surfaces, loss of the joint fluid, increased friction and deterioration of the joint. Since the advent of arthroscopic technology, our ability to treat athletes/individuals with labral tears and return them to active lifestyles has increased exponentially. However, early diagnosis and treatment will improve outcomes.
Dr. Domb is a nationally recognized orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery of the hip, shoulder and knee. A noted pioneer in advanced new techniques in hip arthroscopy, he delivers innovative treatments for patients with hip injuries such as impingement and labral tears. Dr. Domb is also an expert in arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder and knee, adept in specialized techniques including arthroscopic rotator cuff repair and all-inside ACL reconstruction.