Hip Cartilage – Labral Tears & Femoro-Acetabular Impingement (FAI)

Published On: 18 February 2013Categories: Hip Labral TearsTags: , , , , , , ,


The hip joint is classed as a type of ball and socket joint. It is comprises of the head of the femur and the acetabulum. The acetabulum is lined with cartilage called the labrum and labral tears may take place leading to injury. Femoro-Acetabular Impingement (FAI) is a hip condition in which the top of the femur (thigh bone) causes irritation against the brim of the acetabulum that leads to continual friction. This may ‘impinge’ or ‘pinch’ and ultimately cause an injury to the labrum.

Causes:  Labral tears are common in activities that involve forceful movements, twisting and jarring around the hip joint. Such activities may include jumping and landing which take place in sports such as football, rugby, tennis or cricket. A structural defect of the acetabulum may lead to labral tearing where trauma or overuse takes place. FAI may occur due to a mechanical or congenital structural irregularity involving the ball and socket joint.

Symptoms & Diagnosis: Labral tears are normally associated with pain and swelling around the hip and groin. There may also be a history of clicking, catching, locking or pinching in the affected area. As with all hip complaints including FAI, pain may be referred to the lower back, buttock, groin, hip or lower leg regions.

Management: A skilled physiotherapist will accurately diagnose the problem and provide the appropriate treatment, rehabilitation and advice. Hip labral tears and FAI may lead to the early onset of hip osteoarthritis if the symptoms are not controlled at an early stage. An MRI scan or X-Ray may be indicated along with onward referral to a consultant as required.

Please feel free to contact the G4 Clinic to speak to a member of the team for any questions that you may have.

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