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Labral Hip Tear, only 17, Ballet Dancer!

So I am a ballet dancer. I have been dancing since I was 3. Well I recently landed badly from a jump and could not walk the next day or bend over. I went to the doctors because the pain in my right hip was so bad. Found out I have a labral hip tear in my right hip. I am only 17, I live in New York and I trainee 6 hours a day, if not more. So the doctors are worried about my age and how extensive the tear is. I am in a lot of pain, but I am doing PT and Pilates. I need advice or help. I have never dealt with an injury and I am seeing a doctor and doing Physical therapy. Do you think I can recover and dance again? Will this go away? Is surgery a mandatory option? I really don't want surgery because the recovery period is around 6 months and the ballet world is limited, however I need to do the smart thing. Please help, I have been out for 3 weeks and I need to dance again!!! Please be detailed, it would help me so much!

Thank you to whoever takes the time to read this and help. I am desperate and going through a tough time. So thank you so much, God bless Smile
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replied March 11th, 2012
Especially eHealthy
Ballet123,

The labrum of the hip is a cartilage ring that goes around the outside of the bony acetabulum (hip socket). Unfortunately, cartilage will not heal. It has limited blood supply and no potential for healing.

The only part of the labrum which has a blood supply is the very inner portion, which is in contact with the bone. The rest is avascular (no blood supply).

Thus, tears in the labrum do not heal. It is like tears in the meniscus of the knee, they do not heal.


Sometimes, patients can get the inflammation of the initial injury to decrease to a point that they are able to return to their previous activities. So, physical therapy is always worth a try.



Since your condition was due to an injury, you most likely do not have femoralacetabular impingement (FAI). In patients with chronic hip pain, they are often found to have a torn labrum. But, this is due to the femur coming up and pinching the outside of the acetabulum. Over time, the labrum is torn. This is usually a degenerative tear.


So, if you do need surgery, it may be possible that your tear can be debrided totally through the arthroscope. The hip joint may not have to be dislocated. In FAI, often the proximal femur has to be shaved off. This would probably not have to be done in your case.

The labrum cannot be "fixed". It can be debrided, which means that the detached portion is removed and the edges smoothed down. If needed, the capsule is reattached to the edge of the acetabulum.


Thus, if it can be done totally through the 'scope, then your rehab would be quicker. But, the surgeon will have you sign a permit, that if the case cannot be done totally through the 'scope, that the procedure will have to be converted to an open procedure. So, there is never any guarantee that the surgery can be totally done through the 'scope. Every try will be done, to do it through the 'scope, but again, there are no guarantees.


However, you do also have to understand, that just because you have surgery, that will not guarantee that you will be able to return to ballet. Ballet places extreme stress on the hip joints. You will never have a "normal" joint. It may be able to make it better, but never "normal", like it was before the tear.

You may be able to return to dancing. Hopefully, you will.


Good luck with your therapy. Do hope that you will be able to dance again. You need to discuss all of your options thoroughly with your surgeon.

Wishing you the best.
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