Tears in the labrum often occur in patients in which there are pre-existing structural abnormalities (such as femoroacetabular (hip) impingement or hip dysplasia). Less often they occur after trauma, or over usage during high intensity repetitive activities such as in pivoting sports (eg football, tennis or golf) or ballet dancing. Left unchecked, labral tears can progress and often the hip joint cartilage starts to peel off, leading to further damage within the joint and eventually arthritis. If you had a labral tear you may experience sharp, knife like, groin pain. This tends to occur in activities such as squats/lunges or getting in and out of a low car. The pain is usually activity related initially but can be severe and disabling, affecting work, parenting, and leisure pursuits. As tears and symptoms progress, walking distance, standing or sitting for prolonged periods becomes more problematic.
Pain while sitting is another characteristic feature of labral tears. This could manifest itself with inability to drive long distances or air travel. I distinctly remember one case in which the patient became depressed as he could not go to the cinema! Other symptoms include a catching sensation or clicking, as well as your hip ‘giving way’. In some cases pain may be located in other areas such as buttock, in front of the thigh or the side the hip.