A acetabular labrum tear can cause a wide variety of symptoms. Some people don't have any discomfort. Others have sharp pain around the groin, which may extend into the upper leg or buttocks. Pain can come on suddenly or develop gradually. Rotating your leg may be particularly painful.
Acetabular labral tears often cause a feeling of the leg "catching" or "clicking" in the hip socket as you move it. It may also feel like the leg is locking up.
If you've been diagnosed with an acetabular labral tear, your doctor will probably start with conservative treatment. He or she may recommend using painkillers and resting the hip. However, it’s unclear how well this approach works in the long run. Most of the labrum gets little to no blood flow, making natural healing difficult or even impossible.
Physical therapy may help an acetabular labral tear. You can learn to avoid putting too much pressure on the joint while building muscle strength.
Over time, the increased stress on the joint could lead to further deterioration and permanent damage.
Diagnosis of an Acetabular Labral Tear
Acetabular labral tears can be hard to diagnose. Studies show that, on average, people with labral tears of the hip go more than two years before getting a correct diagnosis.
Your doctor will give you a thorough evaluation, examining the hip, and getting you to flex and rotate your leg. You may need an MRI or other imaging tests to look for the tear. However, even with these tests, diagnosis is often difficult.
A more invasive way of diagnosing an acetabular labral tear is an arthroscopy, in which small incisions are made and a tool with a tiny camera is slipped into the hip to look at the labrum. This procedure is sometimes part of surgery to repair the damage.