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A hip labral tear involves the ring of cartilage (labrum) that follows the outside rim of the hip joint socket. The labrum acts like a rubber seal or gasket to help hold the ball at the top of the thighbone securely within the hip socket.


Trauma to the hip can lead to a labral tear. Structural problems of the hip also can lead to a hip labral tear. Many hip labral tears cause no signs or symptoms. Some people, however, have one or more of the following:


  • Pain in the hip or groin, often made worse by long periods of standing, sitting or walking or athletic activity

  • A locking, clicking or catching sensation in the hip joint

  • Stiffness or limited range of motion in the hip joint


A hip labral tear rarely occurs by itself. In most cases, other structures within the hip joint also have injuries. X-rays are excellent at visualizing bone. They can check for arthritis and for structural problems. A magnetic resonance (MR( scan can provide detailed images of your hip's soft tissues. 

Treatment depends on how severe your symptoms are. Some people recover in a few weeks with conservative treatments, including rest and modified activities and then some physiotherapy. However, some patients need an injection and some require arthroscopic surgery to repair the torn portion of the labrum.

Paracetamol and Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Pain can also be controlled temporarily with an injection of corticosteroids into the joint.


A physiotherapist can teach you exercises to increase your hip's range of motion and build hip and core strength and stability. Therapists can also teach you to avoid movements that put stress on your hip joint.

If conservative treatments do not relieve your symptoms, you may wish to consider arthroscopic surgery to repair the torn labrum.

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