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The Hip Joint – Labral Pathology

The hip joint is a common site of injury in the general and sporting population. Its connection with the back, pelvis and lower limbs make it a complex region to investigate, treat and manage.

The complexity of the hip increases as it can refer to a vast array of regions including the hip itself, the pelvis, groin, glute, thigh and even knee. With a number of possible sources of pain ranging from hip osteoarthritis, a labral tear, tendon pathology, bone stress and other tissues, a comprehensive investigation is often required. Recover Sports Medicine regularly sees injuries of this nature, and our Physiotherapists aim is to help find a correct diagnosis that will help to guide prognosis and potential management options.

One of the more common presentations and diagnoses around the hip seen within the clinic is a labral tear. Symptomatic labral tears are often associated with mechanical symtpoms including clicking and catching, and most occur at the front region of the hip.

They are often normally aggravated by hip extension (hip flexor stretch) and deep hip flexion (squatting or prolonged sitting). The cause of a labral tear occurs primarily due to two reasons. One is due to impingement or what has commonly been termed FAI (Femoral Acetabular Impingement). This is where the neck of the thigh bone (femur) impacts onto the labrum (a cartilage ring around the hip joint). Associated with this are the terms CAM and PINCER lesions. These describe differences in bone morphology or make up. This change in bone structure reduces the range before the neck of the femur and labrum come into contact. When certain tasks that require a large range of motion occur regularly, the continual microtrauma to the labrum may case a tear.

 

 

The other source of a labral tear is instability. This often effects females more so than males due to their bone structure and make up as well as a larger range of movement. Instead of having issues with extra bone growth, a reduction in coverage is often a key reason for the symptomology, termed hip dysplasia. An analogy is the comparison between a fruit bowl and a soup bowl. One encapsulates the region with its high walls, whilst the other is a flatter surface allowing its contents (the hip) to move around more freely and push from the inside out.

 

 

These two causes can sometimes occur together, however, one will always be the primary reason for the labral pathology. Although a labral tear has been discussed above, it rarely exists in isolation, and the management of these conditions are different and require the expertise of well experienced Physiotherapists, which is where Recover Sports Medicine can help.

Our highly trained team are able to assist in the rehabilitation of various hip injuries to help increase range of motion and promote healthy and pain free movement.

 

Michael Giakoumis
Senior Physiotherapist
Recover Sports Medicine


If you would like to make an appointment to see any of our experienced practitioners, please call Recover Sports Medicine on 1300 858 774 or email contact@recoversportsmed.com.au

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