Cartilage Tears in the hip

What are hip cartilage tears?

The hip joint contains articular cartilage (which covers the ends of the ball and socket portions that make up the joint) as well as a more flexible cartilage, which surrounds the socket portion, called the labrum.  Both types of cartilage can develop tears.  Articular cartilage tears usually happen with wear of the hip joint, whereas labral tears can occur without wear and can be associated with femoracetabular impingement.

What symptoms can they cause?

Hip pain felt in the groin is common with both types of tear. Labral tears more commonly cause intermittent pains in the hip joint and sometimes clicking or snapping and a feeling of giving way or sudden seizing of the joint.  Specialist examination can reproduce a click that indicates a tear, but an MRI scan is usually required to confirm the problem.

How are the tears treated?

Such tears can usually be dealt with by key-hole surgery of the hip (hip arthroscopy) during which the tears are either repaired or trimmed.  Patients are usually able to return to all activities after a period of physiotherapy exercises.