What are Labral Tears?
The labrum is classified as the ring of cartilage that exists on the outer rim of the shoulder and hip sockets. It helps to both cushion the joint and hold the joint in place. Commonly occurring in either the hip or shoulder, a labral tear occurs when the labrum is damaged. In addition to causing significant pain and a variety of other symptoms, a labral tear can make you at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis in the affected area. However, at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta, Dr. Christopher Williams and his team can work with you to properly treat a labral tear and alleviate your symptoms for long-term recovery. Contact our innovative Atlanta, GA practice to learn more about your treatment options for a labral tear in the hip or shoulder and to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Williams. It is our goal to allow you to return to your normal daily activities with ease and comfort.
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What are Symptoms of Labral Tears?
Though many individuals may experience no symptoms with a hip or shoulder labral tear, it can cause some unpleasant side effects. These can include:
- Discomfort and pain in your hip or shoulder area that can worsen with movement
- Clicking in the affected joint
- Limited range of motion and flexibility
- Stiffness and tenderness in the joint
In order to properly diagnose a labral tear, a few diagnostic tests may be performed, as well as a physical exam and an evaluation of your medical history. An x-ray, MRI, or anesthesia injection may be conducted as a way to accurately diagnose your condition. During an anesthesia injection process, an anesthetic is administered to the joint area. If you notice significant pain relief, then it can be concluded that the inside of your joint is the cause of your discomfort.
What can Cause a Labral Tear?
Often, a labral tear in the hip or shoulder is due to an injury or trauma to the joint. However, in some instances, a labral tear can develop because of a structural abnormality, such as when an individual is born with hip or shoulder development issues. Additionally, repetitive movements can result in a labral tear due to the overuse and wear and tear on the joint. In order to help prevent any future complications, it is important to always remember to stretch and perform strength and flexibility exercises to build up the nearby muscles and protect the joints.
What are my Treatment Options?
The ideal treatment option for your labral tear will depend on the severity of your symptoms and how long you have been suffering from them. Typically, anti-inflammatory medication and/or physical therapy will be initially recommended to help restore stability and movement in the joint. In more severe cases, a surgical procedure may be needed in order to remove or treat the torn labrum. Prior to suggesting any form of treatment, Dr. Williams will help you understand your options and provide you with all necessary information, including follow-up procedures and aftercare instructions for optimal treating and recovery.
How Are Labral Tears Diagnosed?
First, our staff will start by asking for a brief history of your current ailment. Once this is complete, we'll move on to a physical exam, where we'll begin to move your leg into different positions especially at the joint of the hip. This could also include an evaluation of the way you walk. If this visual analysis leads us to believe there could be a tear, we will then recommend imaging scans, which will give us a better idea of what's going on inside your hip as well as if any adjacent structures have also been damaged.
Labral Tears FAQ
How painful is a labral tear?
A labral tear in the hip can feel like a deep pain in the groin or buttocks on the side of the injured hip. It can also include pain, locking, or clicking while your hip is in motion, usually when walking, and pain when the hip rotates in certain directions.
In the shoulder, a labral tear usually expresses as pain over the top of the shoulder and may include “catching” or “popping” during certain movements, and a feeling of weakness. In some cases, pain is more evident when doing tasks with the arm, especially an overhead movement.
Can a labral tear heal on its own?
With rest and other measures, a very minor tear may heal after 4 – 8 weeks or longer. However, a more serious labral tear will not heal on its own and will require treatment or surgery to reattach the labrum.
How do you know if you have a labral tear?
Symptoms of a hip labral tear include pain in the hip, groin, and buttock area, stiffness, and a clicking or locking sound when the hip moves. In the shoulder, a labral tear will feel like pain over the top of the shoulder, especially during an overhead movement with concurrent clicking, popping, or catching.
What happens if a labral tear goes untreated?
If a labral tear goes untreated, whether it be in the hip or shoulder, it can lead to chronic pain, joint instability, weakness, and increase the progress of osteoarthritis (especially in the hips).
How is a labral tear diagnosed?
Diagnosing a labral tear typically involves a combination of physical examination, medical history review, imaging tests (such as MRI or CT scans), and sometimes, diagnostic arthroscopy, which involves inserting a small camera into the joint for a visual inspection.
How long does it take to recover from a labral tear?
Recovery time can vary depending on the extent of the injury, whether surgery is needed, and individual factors. Generally, it may take several weeks to several months to fully recover from a labral tear. Rehabilitation and physical therapy are typically recommended to regain strength, mobility, and function.
Are you ready to Restore your Joint Mobility?
Not only can a labral tear be painful, but it can also hinder your ability to move freely and perform normal, everyday tasks. At Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta, Dr. Christopher Williams and his skilled orthopedic team will work with you to create an optimal treatment plan to alleviate your discomfort. Learn more about labral tear treatment by contacting our Atlanta facility to schedule a consultation with Dr. Williams.