Health & Fitness

Hip pain caused by tear may be relieved by arthroscopic surgery

Q. I am 59 years old and in good shape. I never hurt my hip. I work out in the gym about three times a week. Over the last few months, I have an intermittent pain and a sharp catching sensation in my right hip. At first, this happened only when I worked out, but lately it happens anytime. I went to my primary doctor who took X-rays and they were normal. I then went to a specialist who ordered an MRI, which showed a cartilage tear and a loose body. The doctor said I need surgery to get better. Are there any alternative treatments other then surgery and if surgery is done, what does it consist of?

Selesnick Harlan.JPG
Dr. Harlan Selesnick

A. The hip is comprised of a ball part (femoral head) and a socket (acetabulum) that allows motion. Surrounding the socket is a cartilage bumper that helps provide stability (labrum). If the labrum is torn, it can result in pain and a catching sensation. A loose piece of cartilage or bone can get caught in the joint producing similar symptoms. Hip arthritis can also limit motion, cause pain and catching.

If a loose body or labral tear are truly causing your mechanical symptoms, then arthroscopic surgery to remove the torn piece and fix the labrum is usually necessary to get better. If you are not satisfied with your doctors explanation and plan, you may want to get an opinion from an orthopedic surgeon.

Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to