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Scoping Out a Unique Cause of Hip Pain

Posted on: 11/30/1999
A surgeon at the Nashville Sports Medicine Center reports on the number of patients with damage to the ligamentum teres in the hip. This is the ligament that goes between the head of the femur (thighbone) and the hip socket. It can be injured during major trauma such as a fall, twisting injury, car accident, or athletic injury.

Arthroscopy has been very helpful in finding damage to this ligament. It doesn't show up on MRI, X-ray, or CT scan. In this study, 271 hips were examined using the arthroscope. Notably, there was a tear or other damage of the ligamentum teres in 41 of the hips examined. Before this study, only a few cases had been reported.

In this study 23 patients had a traumatic cause of damage. The other 18 cases were caused by thickening or aging of the ligament. All patients had constant groin pain that didn't get better with treatment. About half had catching, popping, locking, or giving way of the hip joint. A few reported pain with activities and loss of motion.

Arthroscopic surgery was used to repair the torn ligament. Almost all of the patients had a good result and good recovery. Only one patient had some symptoms from minor nerve damage that went away in time.

The authors of this study conclude that tears of the ligamentum teres are more common than has been recognized or reported. Arthroscopy can be used to find and repair this type of injury.

J. W. Thomas Byrd, MD, and Kay S. Jones, MSN, RN. Traumatic Rupture of the Ligamentum Teres as a Source of Hip Pain. In Arthroscopy. April 2004. Vol. 20. No. 4. Pp. 385-391.

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