Labral Tears

What is a Labral tear?

A hip or acetabular labral tear refers to damage to cartilage and tissue in the hip socket. Over time, labral tears in the hip might be responsible for permanent damage to the joint.

The labrum is a band of tough cartilage and connective tissue which lines the edge of the hip socket, or acetabulum. It protects the joint of the hip bone and prevents the bones from rubbing against each other directly. The labrum also helps to keep the leg bone in place and enhances the stability of the joint.


  • Repetitive motion
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Dislocation or violent impact on the hip joint. This is commonly found in athletes and victims of car accidents.
  • Birth defects such as abnormal hip structures, which enhance the wear and tear on the hip joint.


  • Pain radiating in the hip and groin
  • Catching or locking sensation in the hip joint
  • Feeling of stiffness in the joint
  • A limited range of motion


A physical examination by the doctor will help to diagnose and determine the causes of your symptoms. X-rays will enable the physician to take a closer view of the bone and rule out other possible conditions. An MRI scan may also be used to examine the soft tissues further.


The level of treatment varies depending upon the severity of the condition. While some patients may recover in a few weeks using conservative treatments, those with severe labral tearing may need surgery. Different combination of treatments may be used such as:

  • Rest and activity modification which reduces the inflammation of the joint and the alleviation of the symptoms.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication and cortisone injections to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with labral tears.
  • Physical therapy and learning new exercises to maximize range of motion, strength, and stability.
  • Surgery: Labral tears could be repaired or trimmed using an arthroscopic procedure. Based on the severity of the tear, the surgeon will either repair the torn tissue by sewing it back together or cut it out and remove the torn piece of labrum.