OrthoVirginia Blog

Hip Labral Tear

D. Andrew Parker, MD

The labrum is a type of cartilage that surrounds the socket of ball-and-socket joints. A labrum is found in both the shoulder and the hip joint. The labrum forms a ring around the edge of the bony socket of the joint. It helps to provide stability to the joint by deepening the socket, yet unlike bone, it also allows flexibility and motion.

There are two general types of hip labral tears: degenerative tears and traumatic injuries. A degenerative tear is a chronic injury that occurs as a result of repetitive use and activity. Degenerative labral tears can be seen in the early stages of hip arthritis.

A traumatic hip labral tear is usually an acute injury as a result of a sports injury, fall, or accident. Hip labral tears can be seen in association with episodes of hip dislocation or subluxation. They are commonly associated with sudden, twisting maneuvers that cause immediate pain in the hip.

Typical symptoms of a hip labral tear include groin pain, clicking and snapping sensations in the hip and limited motion of the hip joint. Your doctor can use an MRI with contrast to help diagnose a labral tear.

The treatment of hip labral tears is rest, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and cortisone injections. If those measures do not relieve the pain, a hip arthroscopy may be needed. Recovery from a hip arthroscopy depends on the extent of work that needs to be completed, but usually lasts 6 to 12 weeks.