Steroid Injections for Hip Joint Labral Tear
A labral tear of the hip refers to a tear in the fibrocartilage which covers the acetabulum (socket) part of the hip joint. A tear may occur through repetitive wear and tear or through a singular traumatic injury.
Anatomy of the hip
The hip joint is made up of the ball-shaped femoral head (top of thigh bone) which sits in the acetabulum (cup shaped socket in the pelvis). This ball and socket joint allow for range of movement and gives support for weight bearing through the joint. The fibrocartilage (labrum) deepens the socket to increase the stability of the joint.
Causes of Hip Joint Labral Tear
There are many causes of a hip labral tear – these include
- Femoral acetabular impingement (FAI) is a condition in which there is abnormal contact (impingement) between the ball and socket of the hip joint (femoral head and acetabulum respectively). Over time, this can lead to pain and has been associated with damage to the labrum.
- Traumatic injury during certain sports which have repetitive and high-impact movements, such as football, rugby and golf.
- Degenerative changes (osteoarthritis) causing wearing down of the cartilage in this hip joint can mean it has an increased risk of tearing.
Symptoms of a Hip Joint Labral Tear
- Pain in the groin or buttock area.
- Clicking or catching feeling within the hip area when you move
- Stiffness around the hip joint
- Potentially aggravating with bending or rotating the hip and during certain sports or exercise.
It is also possible to have a labral tear of the hip and have no symptoms
How to diagnose
One of our physiotherapists will listen to your history and do a thorough examination on your hip to develop a diagnosis. The examination will include an assessment of your mobility, strength and biomechanics to determine what may be contributing to your symptoms.
The physiotherapist may refer you to have an MRI scan to confirm the diagnosis.
In general, depending on the severity of the labral tear, they can be well managed with physiotherapy treatment and not require surgical intervention. Although the tear itself will not heal by itself, conservative treatment can help you manage pain and improve function.
Non-surgical treatment includes:
- Over the counter anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen to reduce inflammation. Always check with your pharmacist before taking.
- Physiotherapy to strengthen, improve flexibility and motor control around the hip joint. Strengthening the muscles around the hip helps reduce the pressure on the joint.
- Corticosteroid injection to reduce pain and inflammation within the joint.
- Activity modification and avoiding aggravating activities for a short period.
If symptoms have not improved you may want to consider an ultrasound guided steroid injection.
Hip Joint Labral Tear Steroid Injection therapy
An ultrasound guided steroid injection into the hip joint can help temporarily reduce pain and inflammation in the hip joint. This may be appropriate if the pain is limiting you from doing your exercises or the pain is affecting your sleep. The injection is given under ultrasound guidance to ensure accuracy and maximising effectiveness to improve pain and function (Daniels et al, 2018).