[image via Flickr]

Because the hip joint is a ball and socket orientation with large range of motion, it requires good structural support from surrounding tendons and muscles in order to prevent injury. One of the structures at risk for injury in the hip is the labrum which is a layer of cartilage that provides extra stability for the joint. An acute tear of the labrum most often occurs following a dislocated or subluxed hip in comparison to a chronic tear which is usually the result repeated insult due to anatomical deformity or abnormality in the shape of the femoral head or joint articulation.

In the soccer athlete, twisting, rotating, flexing and extending of the hip occurs frequently and therefore could cause degeneration of the labrum. There are specific symptoms of a hip labrum tear that the soccer athlete should be aware of in order to take action and get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. If detected early and symptoms are minimal, a labrum tear can be treated conservatively through RICE and a guided exercise program under the supervision of a physical therapist or athletic trainer.

However, if symptoms persist regardless of conservative approach surgical intervention may be required. In order to avoid labral tears and/or the lengthy recovery following surgical intervention, the soccer athlete should include a good strengthening and flexibility program into their training.