Labral Tears (Hip)

The labrum, or labral cartilage, is a ring of fibrous cartilage in the shoulder and hip joints. The labrum forms a seal around the joint that helps stabilize the joint and keeps the bones of the joint in place. It helps to provide stability to the joint by deepening the socket, yet unlike bone, it also allows flexibility and motion. 

The labrum can be damaged or torn by a traumatic injury, such as a fall, an accident, a sports injury or in conjunction with an FAI (femoroacetabular impingement). 

Some degenerative labral tears are chronic - a result of repetitive use and activity. Degenerative labral tears often appear in the early stages of hip arthritis.

It can be difficult to properly diagnose labral tears, but our experts have decades of experience with this condition. We have one of the oldest and most well-regarded orthopaedic and sports medicine units in the United States. We have treated hundreds of patients with labral tears and can offer you several different options that can alleviate pain and give you range of motion once again. 

Symptoms of a Hip Labral Tear

A hip labral tear can be difficult to diagnose. Typical symptoms can include:

  • Hip/groin pain. Pain is usually increased with athletics or physical activity. Pain also worsens with deep hip flexion or sitting in a low chair.
  • Clicking and snapping sensations in the hip.
  • Most patients have limited range of motion of the hip

Diagnosis for a Hip Labral Tear

  • We will conduct a thorough medical examination and talk with you about your pattern of symptoms. 
  • Review any material sent to us by your referring physician, if you have one.
  • Take X-rays.
  • We may order a CT scan or an MRI scan to get a better look at the bone or labrum.
  • Possibly use a diagnostic injection to help clarify the location of the problem. The doctor or a trained healthcare professional will inject a contrast fluid into the hip while the process is watched on an X-ray or ultrasound monitor. 

Treatment for a Hip Labral Tear

Non-surgical Treatment for a Labral Tear of the Hip

Depending upon the results of your exam and any tests, your U-M physician may advise:

  • Rest and activity modification
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Cortisone injection

Surgical Treatment for a Labral Tear of the Hip

If the labral tear in your hip is severe, or if a non-surgical treatment hasn't helped, your physician may recommend:

  • Hip arthroscopyYour surgeon will place a small camera (an arthroscope or "scope") into your hip joint to see the labral tear and evaluate the cartilage, bone and other structures. At this time, your surgeon may also be able to repair the labrum, or trim the torn portion of the labrum.

Contact Us / Make an Appointment 

  • MedSport, 877-877-9333, or 734-930-7400
  • Orthopaedics, 734-936-5780
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 734-936-7175

You're about to make an important decision, and we want to help you make a good one. Let our years of experience diagnosing and treating hip conditions help you. Visit our Contact Us page to see a list of Musculoskeletal Call Centers. Our staff will be glad to talk with you about your options and how we can help.