Hip Labral Tears

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Hip labral tears most commonly occur as a result of traumatic injury, such as a motor vehicle accident or from participating in sports such as football, soccer, basketball and snow skiing. Both sudden changes of direction and twisting movements as well as repetitive movements and weight-bearing activities lead to joint wear and tear. Ultimately, degenerative impact to the cartilage surrounding the hip results in a hip labral tear.

At OrthoAspen, our mission is to help patients return to the active lifestyle they’re accustomed to. If a hip labral tear is diagnosed, our orthopedic specialists will do everything possible to find a safe and effective treatment solution to get you back to what you love doing most.

Causes & Symptoms

A hip labral tear refers to injury to the labrum. The labrum is the cartilage that surrounds the outside rim of the hip joint socket, alongside the head of the femur and the pelvic acetabulum. The labrum helps to deepen the socket and provide stability to the joint. It also acts as a cushion and enables smooth movements of the joint. When a hip labral tear occurs it often causes pain and a locking sensation in the hip joint.

It’s not uncommon for patients with a hip labral tear to not experience symptoms. If symptoms of a hip labral tear occur, they may include:

  • Pain in the hip that can be mild to severe and is triggered with activity
  • Pain and discomfort in the buttocks and thigh, extending to the knee area
  • Sensation of clicking, locking or catching when the top of the femoral head (thigh bone) catches in the hip socket
  • Instability in the hip, especially during activity—walking, running, etc.

To diagnose hip labral tears, your OrthoAspen doctor will order certain tests to determine the cause of hip pain. X-rays of the hip help to rule out other possible conditions such as fractures or structural abnormalities. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be used to evaluate the labrum. An injection of contrast material into the hip joint space at the time of the MRI can help show the labral tears much more clearly.

If a hip labral tear is diagnosed, your OrthoAspen physician will try to find a solution that will help you recover as safely and quickly as possible. Whenever possible, non-surgical, conservative options are preferable treatment solutions.


Treatment for a hip labral tear will vary depending on the severity of the condition. People with a minor labral tear recover within a few weeks with the help of non-surgical treatments.

Conservative treatments include:

  • Medications
    Anti-inflammatory medications can be helpful in relieving pain and reducing inflammation associated with labral tears. Your doctor may also recommend cortisone injections to alleviate the pain associated with a hip labral tear.
  • Physical Therapy
    Physical therapy helps to improve hip range of motion, strength and stability.

In more severe cases, your OrthoAspen physician may recommend a minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery to remove or repair the torn portion of the labrum. The surgery is performed under general, spinal or local anesthesia. The torn tissue is sewn back together or removed, depending upon the cause and extent of the tear.

Following the surgery, instructions are provided for incision care, activities to avoid and exercises to perform for a fast recovery and a successful outcome. Physical therapy will be recommended by your doctor to restore strength and mobility. Your doctor will also prescribe pain medications to keep you comfortable.

If you’d like to learn more about hip labral tears or would like to be seen by one of our elite-grade orthopedic experts, click here to get started or call us any time at 970-544-1289.


Visit OrthoAspen in two convenient locations
Aspen Clinic
Aspen Valley Hospital
0401 Castle Creek Rd., Suite 2100,

Aspen, CO 81611
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1400
Basalt Clinic
Midvalley Medical Center
1450 E. Valley Rd., Suite 201,

Basalt, CO 81621
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1400