Labral Tears of the Hip

Unraveling the Mystery of Labral Tears of the Hip: Key Information You Need to Know

A labral tear hip injury involves a tear in the ring of cartilage or labrum that aligns the outer rim of the hip socket joint. The labrum cushions the hip joint and secures the thighbone into the hip socket. A labral tear may cause the thighbone to become insecure in the hip socket, affecting your mobility and functionality. Over time, this may cause friction, damage to the hip joint, and general discomfort. Knowing what labral tears are and following your recommended treatments can help you overcome your injury’s limitations. Read more to learn what to look for with labral tears and our recommended treatments.

What are Labral Tears?

Labral tears are very common injuries involving a tear in the labrum in athletic individuals or those with structural issues in their hips. This tear may compromise the connection between the thigh bone and hip socket and adversely affect performance.

Types of Labral Tear Injuries

Anterior Hip Labral Tears

This is the most common variation of hip labral tear. These tears occur in the front area of the hip joint.

Posterior Hip Labral Tears

Posterior hip labral tears occur on the back of the hip joint.

What Does Labral Tear Injury Mean?

A Labral Tear may indicate that you have experienced damage to the hip joint over time or a sudden and traumatic hip injury.

Labral Tear Injury Symptoms

  • Hip pain or groin pain
  • Discomfort when standing, sitting, or walking
  • Locking, catching, or clicking of the hip
  • Stiffness
  • Limited range of motion

Labral Tear Causes


Sudden injury to the labrum can occur while playing contact sports or during other accidents.

Structural Problems

Individuals born with structural anomalies in their hip joint may experience higher levels of stress to their labrum. These patients may have a hip socket that does not entirely cover the ball of the upper thigh bone or a shallow hip socket. Other patients with excess bone growth on their hip, called femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), may experience labrum pinching, which can cause a gradual tear.

Repetitive Motions 

Repetitive activities involving the hips, performed with inadequate preparation, can cumulatively stress the labrum and induce a symptomatic tear.

Labral Tear Diagnosis

After noticing joint, hip, or thigh discomfort, seeking medical care to diagnose your condition is important. A complete physical examination from a physical therapist or physician can complete the diagnosis of your hip labral tear. A medical provider will generally recommend a hip recovery program as part of your treatment plan for your injury. The treatment for your diagnosis will depend on the extent of your injury and lifestyle. 

Evidence of a labral tear on diagnostic imaging does not mean that the labrum is responsible for your pain. Many high functioning people without hip pain have asymptomatic labral tears. Moreover, a labral tear can be an incidental finding even in people with hip pain. A physical therapist can help you determine the root cause of your hip pain regardless of whether a labral tear is present.

Labral Tear Treatment

Labral tears treated with physical therapy can help restore hip and thigh function while minimizing pain. In severe cases where rest and physical therapy do not help, surgery may be performed to restore integrity of the labrum. Surgical treatment involves labrum repair through arthroscopic surgery. Repairing the labrum can include removing frayed areas, stitching your tear, or using tissues from another location to replace the missing areas of the labrum. If a hip impingement causes your tear, your surgeon may reshape your bones to glide more smoothly.

Why Choose Physical Therapy

During treatment, your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist to restore the strength of your hip joint and range of motion. Physical therapy uses progressive overload to increase your tolerance for activity and athletic endeavors. Physical therapy and exercise can help prevent hip injuries from recurring by better ensuring adequate preparation for your future physical pursuits.

Contact Us

If you are struggling with a labral hip tear, contact us today to schedule an appointment at Resilient Performance Physical Therapy in NY, NJ, and CT. Join us today to begin your journey to recovery and healing.