Hip labral tear

Exercising man with hip pain

​​​​​The hip labrum is a ring of cartilage that runs around the rim of your hip joint. The labrum acts like a rubber seal and makes the hip socket deeper and more stable. Labral tears can result from trauma—a sudden pull, fall or blow to the joint—or from repetitive use. Athletes often get labral tears from running, jumping and throwing repeatedly. 

Hip labral tear symptoms  

If the hip labrum tears from its attachment, you may hear a clicking sound when you move.

Other symptoms are: 

  • A “catching” feeling in the joint

  • Hip stiffness and instability  

  • Limited range of motion in the hip or leg

  • Pain in hip, groin or deep in the buttocks

Hip labral tear diagnosis  

Labral tears frequently go undiagnosed because symptoms are similar to other soft tissue injuries to the hip. Your doctor will look at the history of your injury and do a thorough physical exam.

Diagnostic imaging tests may include:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)—a painless, noninvasive test that uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the hip.

  • X-ray—uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the hip and other internal structures.

Hip labral tear treatment 

Treatment for hip labral tear varies based on the extent of the injury. Severe tears that don’t respond to the traditional labral tear treatment may require surgery. The experts at The Christ Hospital Health network create a customized treatment plan for you, which may include any of the following options: 

  • Ice—applied to the affected area. 

  • Modify activities—to rest the hip joint. 

  • Nonsteroidal/anti-inflammatory medicine—anti-inflammatory drugs, also called NSAIDs, which help manage your pain.

  • Physical therapy—techniques, such as exercises and stretches that help heal the labrum and improve hip function. 

  • Surgery—to repair/remove torn labrum area (typically done arthroscopically) 

At The Christ Hospital Health Network, we can identify and treat labral tears in the hip, so you can get back to your active lifestyle quickly.

Find a hip specialist near you.