The “growth plate” is cartilage that stimulates growth near the ends of long bones in children and teenagers. When a person stops growing, these growth plates throughout their bodies solidify into solid bone. In the hip area, the growth plate is situated at the femur (or thigh bone). Since cartilage of the growth plate is soft and more vulnerable than bone, any fracture is serious and requires immediate medical attention to not only heal the injury but to prevent problems as the bone continues to grow. If treated properly, growth plate fractures will likely heal with no complications. Treatment options include keeping the hip immobilized with the aid of a splint or cast. If the growth plate fracture is more severe, surgery may be necessary.
The hip joint socket has a ring of cartilage that runs outside its rim to keep the ball at the top of the thighbone in place. This ring of cartilage is known as the “labrum.” As with many other orthopedic conditions, a labral tear can occur from either anything as sudden as a traumatic injury to gradually wearing down over time due to repeated motion. Symptoms of a labral tear include pain in the groin or the buttock area of the hip that is affected, stiffness when the hip is in motion, or a sensation of the hip locking when in motion. A labral tear cannot be diagnosed through X-rays, an MRI scan is necessary. Treatment depends on the severity of the tear. If the discomfort is mild, physical therapy can be helpful, while outpatient surgery may be necessary for more extreme diagnoses.
When a muscle that supports the hip joint (comprised of the femur and pelvis), undergoes wear and tear, it is generically classified as hip strain. The muscles and tendons become tender and at risk. A hip strain could be as mild as a mere stretch, or as severe as muscles having been torn. Hip strains can develop overtime from overuse and repeated movements, or they can happen suddenly as a result of direct impact from falling down or an injury. Symptoms include limited motion and pain when the hip muscle is used. A hip strain can typically be diagnosed on physical exam if the X-ray of the joint is normal. If the strain is not too severe, it may be treated through rest and physical therapy. In cases where the strain is particularly serious, surgery to reconnect the tendon to the bone may be necessary.