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What is a Hip Labral Tear?

The hip joint is made of the femur and the pelvis. The labrum of the hip is the fibrous cartilage (similar to the meniscus in the knee) that runs around the bony rim of the acetabulum (the hip socket). The labrum deepens the socket adding stability to the hip joint as well as cushioning the joint itself. It also serves as an insertion point of the joint capsule which is a tissue that surrounds the entire hip joint. A detailed history as well as a clinical exam are key in the diagnosis of hip labral tears. X-rays are commonly used to look for associated or predisposing factors. MRI arthrogram (dye injection) are used to help confirm the diagnosis, although they are far from perfect.


  • Hyperflexion or hyperextension of the hip with activity
  • Possible single traumatic event
  • Increased laxity to the hip joint or other joints in the body
  • Extended period of activity at the extreme end ranges of hip motion

Signs & Symptoms

  • Deep aching hip pain during or after activity
  • Possible painful clicking with hip flexion and rotation
  • Occasional sharp pains with activity


Initial treatment of a hip labral tear is rest from all aggravating activities along with physical therapy to regain motion and strength. Strengthening of the core, hip rotators, glutes, and lower extremity are key. Sometimes joint mobilizations are used in order to provide a stretch to the capsule that may be causing pain. If pain continues or worsens after following the non-surgical course of PT, surgery may be warranted to repair the torn labrum.

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