Hip Labral Tears

ValleyOrtho’s physician treat a wide range of common hip injuries, including labral tears.


The hip joint is configured like a ball-and-socket. The ball is located at the upper end of the thighbone (femur), the socket is located on the pelvis (acetabulum), and the labrum is soft tissue that covers the rim of the acetabulum. Both the ball and socket are covered in joint cartilage for smooth movement.

A hip labral tear is an injury to the labrum. The labrum serves as a seal while also providing stability and sensory feedback to the hip joint.


Hip labral tears can be caused by many things, including the following:

  • Structural ailments: Conditions that cause abnormal hip movement can also lead to hip labral tears. In femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), the ball doesn’t fit into the socket properly. This imperfect fit can cause long-lasting groin pain and movement limitations. This is the most common cause of labral tears. FAI can affect people at any age. In some patients it can result in osteoarthritis without treatment.
  • Injury: Trauma to the hip can lead to a hip labral tear. This can happen to people who play certain sports that have repetitive and rotational movements, such as ice hockey, football, soccer and golf.


  • Hip pain
  • Pain in the groin, buttocks area or thigh
  • A clicking or locking feeling in the hip area
  • Feeling unsteady on your feet
  • Catching in the hip with movement

It’s also possible to have a hip labral tear with no symptoms at all.


The diagnosis of a labral tear is usually made by a detailed examination. To verify the diagnosis and to confirm the severity of the injury, an MRI of the hip, can be ordered. X-rays are also commonly taken to evaluate the bony structure of the hip, which is sometimes abnormal in people with labral tears.


A hip labral tear will not heal on its own. Rest and other measures can help manage symptoms of a minor tear. Nonsurgical treatments include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Hip injections
  • Physical therapy

If symptoms persist or if the tear is severe, the hip joint specialists at ValleyOrtho may recommend surgery.

Surgery to repair a labral tear in the hip is usually done arthroscopically. This is a minimally invasive technique which allows our hip specialists to make the following types of repairs:

  • Labral repair (reattaching the torn labrum to the socket)
  • Debridement (removing a small piece of labral tissue)

Whether caused by a sports injury, an accident, or gradual wear and tear, pain in the hips caused by a labral tear can limit the ability to live one’s best life. Our comprehensive care team will tailor a treatment plan specific to each patient’s goals.