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Ligamentum teres – what it is, how it’s injured

ligamentum teresWhat is the ligamentum teres? If you pull a chicken leg out of its socket, you’ll see a fibrous white ligament. That’s the equivalent of the ligamentum teres in the human. It helps hold the head of the femur (thigh bone) in the hip socket.

Ligamentum teres injuries

Traumatic or twisting injuries can cause this ligament to tear. Hip dislocation can stretch it to the tearing point, too.

Doctors don’t have a test to help them find this type of tear. It doesn’t show up in MRIs, X-rays or CT scans. The patient’s symptoms, such as deep groin pain and repetitive mechanical symptoms such as popping, catching, locking or “giving way” of the hip are the only signs that an injury has occurred.

Discovering ligamentum teres injuries

It wasn’t until arthroscopic surgery came along that doctors even knew that ligamentum teres injuries occur as often as they do. One study found that approximately 15% of hip surgery patients had also experienced a ligamentum teres injury.

During arthroscopic surgery a special tool called an arthroscope is inserted into the joint. There’s a tiny TV camera on the end of the arthroscope that gives the surgeon a view inside your hip joint. Special shaving and suction tools can also go through the scope into the joint. Because the scope can enter the joint from several different places, it gives the surgeon access to hard to reach areas. Positioning of the hip to facilitate arthroscopic surgery enhances the surgeon’s view into the joint.

Repairing ligamentum teres injuries

The tear can be trimmed and the ligament tightened and stabilized. Any inflamed tissue is removed. The hip is thus stabilized.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, call the Zehr Center for Orthopaedics at 239-596-0100 for an appointment. Because living with pain isn’t really living!®

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