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Hip Injuries

Labral Tear and Stress Fracture of the Hip

Labral tears and stress fractures are two of the most common injuries to the hip. Here's where you'll learn more about how they happen and what you can do about them.

Hip Labral tear

The function of the labrum is to add stability and cushioning to the hip joint. It's the cartilage found around the bony rim of the hip socket, acetabulum. Degenerative labral tears can be associated with arthritis or occur from years of repetitive minor injuries to the hip. Oftentimes, those playing sports may tear their labrum by causing rapid hip motion through sudden stops and turns on the field. A labral tear causes pain in the groin area, or a “catching” sensation within the joint, but usually doesn't result in pain during normal daily activities.

If you believe you have a labral tear, see your physician immediately for individualized treatment.

Treatment Options for a Hip Labral Repair: 

In most cases labral tears require surgical repair. However, your orthopaedic surgeon may initially prescribe physical therapy and activity modifications along with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and ketoprofen.

Arthroscopic surgery may be necessary to repair the torn labrum if symptoms persist and you cannot continue your desired physical activities. This arthroscopic surgery is done on an outpatient basis. Full recovery usually occurs in eight to 12 weeks.

Stress Fractures of the Hip

The femur is the large bone in the thigh. The ball-shaped head of this bone fits into the socket, acetabulum, of the pelvis. When a stress fracture occurs in the hip, it usually involves the femoral neck, or the short section of bone that connects the femoral head to the main shaft of bone.

Stress fractures are actually hairline cracks in the bone that can grow larger over time if they are not treated properly. Usually, bones can adapt to repetitive stress; however, extreme stress that is repeated too often can overwhelm the bone's ability to adapt. This is especially true with repetitive, strenuous exercise, such as running.

A stress fracture is more likely to occur in runners after an increase in the distance, amount of training and intensity of their running program. Running on hard surfaces like concrete sidewalks or asphalt may also cause additional stress. Stress fractures of the hip are related to amount of exercise and how fast you increase your exercise program.

Stress fractures of the hip are marked by pain in the front of the groin while standing or moving. Rest usually makes the pain go away and strenuous exercise, such as running or climbing stairs, may be very painful. If you believe you have a stress fracture in your hip, please contact your physician immediately for individualized treatment.

Treatment of Stress Fractures of the hip include:

Initial treatment of a hip stress fracture may include X-rays, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or a bone scan to further evaluate your condition. Most orthopaedic surgeons recommend non-surgical treatments such as staying off the affected leg, use of crutches and resting the hip for four to six weeks.

In some patients with a hip stress fracture, MRIs and other imaging tests sometimes show an unstable fracture that needs to be surgically repaired. In most surgical cases, metal screws are inserted through the femoral neck to hold the fractured bones in place while the fracture heals.

To help you improve hip motion and strength during your hospital stay, surgery is followed by physical therapy treatments. The use of crutches or a walker will also be required. After you return home from the hospital, your orthopaedic surgeon may have you continue to work with a physical therapist to help you maximize your hip strength, restore a normal walking pattern and help you return to your activities without causing further injury. If you are a runner remember to increase your mileage slowly and always listen to your body as you resume training.


The information listed on this site is for informational and educational purposes and is not meant as medical advice. Every patient's case is unique and each patient should follow his or her doctor's specific instructions. Please discuss nutrition, medication and treatment options with your doctor to make sure you are getting the proper care for your particular situation.The information on this site does not replace your doctor's specific instructions.