Role of the acetabular labrum in load support across the hip joint

Corinne R. Henak, Benjamin J. Ellis, Michael D. Harris, Andrew E. Anderson, Christopher L. Peters, Jeffrey A. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


The relatively high incidence of labral tears among patients presenting with hip pain suggests that the acetabular labrum is often subjected to injurious loading in vivo. However, it is unclear whether the labrum participates in load transfer across the joint during activities of daily living. This study examined the role of the acetabular labrum in load transfer for hips with normal acetabular geometry and acetabular dysplasia using subject-specific finite element analysis. Models were generated from volumetric CT data and analyzed with and without the labrum during activities of daily living. The labrum in the dysplastic model supported 4-11% of the total load transferred across the joint, while the labrum in the normal model supported only 1-2% of the total load. Despite the increased load transferred to the acetabular cartilage in simulations without the labrum, there were minimal differences in cartilage contact stresses. This was because the load supported by the cartilage correlated with the cartilage contact area. A higher percentage of load was transferred to the labrum in the dysplastic model because the femoral head achieved equilibrium near the lateral edge of the acetabulum. The results of this study suggest that the labrum plays a larger role in load transfer and joint stability in hips with acetabular dysplasia than in hips with normal acetabular geometry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2201-2206
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Aug 11 2011


  • Acetabular labrum
  • Cartilage mechanics
  • Dysplasia
  • Finite element
  • Hip


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