Articular cartilage friction increases in hip joints after the removal of acetabular labrum

Yongnam Song, Hiroshi Ito, Lampros Kourtis, Marc R. Safran, Dennis R. Carter, Nicholas J. Giori

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70 Citations (Scopus)


The acetabular labrum is believed to have a sealing function. However, a torn labrum may not effectively prevent joint fluid from escaping a compressed joint, resulting in impaired lubrication. We aimed to understand the role of the acetabular labrum in maintaining a low friction environment in the hip joint. We did this by measuring the resistance to rotation (RTR) of the hip, which reflects the friction of the articular cartilage surface, following focal and complete labrectomy. Five cadaveric hips without evidence of osteoarthritis and impingement were tested. We measured resistance to rotation of the hip joint during 0.5, 1, 2, and 3 times body weight (BW) cyclic loading in the intact hip, and after focal and complete labrectomy. Resistance to rotation, which reflects articular cartilage friction in an intact hip was significantly increased following focal labrectomy at 1-3 BW loading, and following complete labrectomy at all load levels. The acetabular labrum appears to maintain a low friction environment, possibly by sealing the joint from fluid exudation. Even focal labrectomy may result in increased joint friction, a condition that may be detrimental to articular cartilage and lead to osteoarthritis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-530
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Feb 2

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the VA Palo Alto Bone and Joint Rehabilitation Research and Development Center, Department of Veterans Affairs, and by a Korea University Research Grant.

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Acetabular labrum
  • Articular cartilage
  • Cartilage friction
  • Hip
  • Osteoarthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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