Loose Bodies

The diagram to the right illustrates loose bodies within the hip joint.

The hip is a ball-and-socket-joint: the femoral head forms the ball and the acetabulum, which is part of the pelvic bone, forms the socket. The labrum of the hip is a cuff of thick fibrocartilage tissue that surrounds the acetabulum. The labrum helps to support the hip joint and provide stability. Surrounding the hip joint are ligaments, tendons, and muscles that control hip movement.

Loose bodies are pieces of cartilage or bone that float within the joint. They are most often the result of sports injuries or acute traumas in young patients. In older patients, they are the result of degeneration that occurs in many types of arthritis.

Loose bodies are often seen in athletes who play contact sports such as football, basketball, field hockey, and soccer.


  • Catching/snapping/crunching sensation deep within the joint
  • Joint instability
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Loss of strength
  • Pain deep within the joint and/or groin
  • Pain with:
    • Sleeping on the affected side
    • Twisting and turning
    • Crossing legs while sitting
    • Daily activity

If your symptoms last longer than 2 weeks and interfere with daily activity you should consult your primary care physician for a referral.

What To Expect During Your Appointment:

During your appointment, Dr. Betz will perform a physical exam to test range of motion in the hip and the leg strength. In-office imaging may be done or an MRI may be set up to diagnose the cause of your pain. Once the results of your imaging come back, Dr. Betz will provide treatment options and help you decide the course of action that is best for you.


Dr. Betz performs an in-office exam on the patient to check for loose bodies within the hip joint.

Non-Surgical Options:

  • Rest
  • Medication: non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are often prescribed to minimize swelling and pain.
  • Physical Therapy: strengthening the upper leg will help relieve pain. Stretching is also performed to help regain mobility.
  • Injections: If the other non-surgical treatments fail, Dr. Betz can use injections to help reduce pain.
    • Steroid Injection (Cortisone): steroids are proven to be very effective at reducing inflammation and pain when injected directly into the joint space.
    • Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP): your own blood is used to extract platelet-rich plasma, which is then injected into your hip joint. The platelets within the plasma stimulate the body to repair itself.

Surgical Options:

If non-surgical treatment fails to improve pain or the joint is locked and unable to move, Dr. Betz will discuss surgery as an option. Each patient and case is different, but most loose bodies can be removed arthroscopically. For more information on arthroscopic surgery please see “Arthroscopic Surgery”.

For postoperative patients:

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