Re: Labrum Tear
Hi there -- sorry about your wife's predicament!
I tore the labrum in my right hip at age 14 (sitting incorrectly) and was not diagnosed until age 29. I would have periodic, excruciating pain when my hip locked, but no constant pain. Since my diagnosis, I have had three hip arthroscopies. The first was done by a general orthopedic surgeon. He did a labral trim, to cut off the ragged edge of the cartilage. The surgery took four hours, even though it was only expected to take an hour and a half. He noted that I had no femoral acetabular impingement (FAI). HA!
After the first surgery, I had daily, constant pain, so about 2 years later, I had surgery with a hip specialist to remove more ragged cartilage and to reshape the hip joint to correct FAI. He found damage on the femoral head, as well. Finally, 2 years after the second surgery, I had my final surgery. The hip surgeon found that more than half of the cartilage had delaminated from the acetabulum, so he performed microfracture under the cartilage, then put plastic anchors around the edge. I also had a lumbar disc rupture, which I suspect came from years of compensating for my hip -- mostly in the way I sit.
Cautionary tale, perhaps? Some of the things that I have learned along the way: Unless your wife suffered a significant trauma (car accident?), hip injuries do not spontaneously arise. Something about your wife's mechanics is off and you should definitely bring the shoe wear issue to the doctor's attention.
Given what I have been through, I should never have had the first surgery. However, I think surgery would have been inevitable. I strongly believe that only hip specialists should perform hip arthroscopies. Most of the extra time in my first surgery was spent trying to get the instrumentation into the joint. The hip specialist incised the hip capsule, which he finds he need to do in a majority of patients. He also released traction when he was not actively working in the joint.
My surgeon is in San Francisco (hour drive), but the other doctor I was considering for the revision surgeries is in Nashville: Dr. Byrd. If your wife has not seen him, I would urge her to make an appointment. While contemplating her options, she should probably cease running. Cycling (with the seat up high) is much easier on the hip joints. Aqua jogging, swimming, or water aerobics are other options. If she needs surgery, she will likely do a lot of cycling in rehab. Also, you will probably notice her slumping. This is to compensate for the hip. I have a saddle chair (looks like a horse saddle), which allows me to sit properly for my back but let my legs dangle. She can also seat on the corner of a hard chair (dining room chair) and let her legs drop to either side.
If she has any questions, or just wants to vent about how much her hip hurts, I am happy to answer questions or just "listen".