A Soft-Tissue Hip Injury That Causes Pain or Stiffness

A hip labral tear is a condition affecting the fibrocartilage, called the labrum, that is attached to the rim of the hip socket, or acetabulum. The top (head) of the femur fits into the acetabulum, forming the ball-and-socket hip joint. The labrum acts as a gasket to help stabilize the hip joint. Hip labral tears can occur from:

  • Femoroacetabular impingement
  • An injury to the hip joint (the hip joint is hit or dislocated)
  • Wear and tear to the hip joint due to age or repetitive motion

Athletes who participate in contact sports or activities that require repetitive actions are most at risk for hip labral tears. People born with a hip structure abnormality may also experience them.

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

Hip labral tears can cause pain in the hip or groin, especially during periods of high activity. Hip stiffness or a clicking sound in the hip may also occur. In some cases, there are no symptoms.

To diagnose a hip labral tear, your doctor will perform a complete physical exam and review your medical history. He or she may also order an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to further assess the affected hip.

Minor hip labral tears can be managed with nonsurgical approaches, such as medication and physical therapy. If your tear is severe or nonsurgical treatments don’t help your symptoms, a hip arthroscopy or, in some cases of severe bone deformity, an open procedure may be indicated to address the tear. Many hip arthroscopy patients recover fully from this minimally invasive hip surgery within a few weeks to months.

Whether your condition is minor or severe, hip labral tears can increase your chance of developing osteoarthritis of the hip and should be monitored by your doctor. Your doctor can create a hip preservation plan to slow down the progression of osteoarthritis. Hip preservation methods try to protect your hip joint to delay or prevent hip replacement surgery in the future.

Matches Found

Experts in Care

Meet our doctors, view their profiles and select the one that’s right for you.

Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Top-Ranked by U.S. News & World Report

Penn State Health includes the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, ranked as one of the best orthopedic providers in the country by U.S. News & World Report. This honor was earned because our doctors consistently deliver exceptional patient care and outcomes through their commitment to advanced treatments, translational research and provider training.

Coordinated, Specialized Care Through a Dedicated Institute

Our orthopaedic specialists work together through our dedicated Penn State Bone and Joint Institute. There, they focus on providing you with multidisciplinary, tailored care and state-of-the-art treatments and technologies. This produces the highest-quality patient outcomes. All physicians at the institute are fellowship-trained and subspecialize in additional niche areas of orthopaedics, including arthritis care and joint arthroplasty (joint replacement surgery).

Designated as a Blue Distinction® Center

Penn State Bone and Joint Institute is a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement. This superior designation from BlueCross BlueShield is only given to health care facilities and providers that stand out for their expertise in delivering specialty knee and hip replacement care. Our surgeons specialize in a range of pain-relieving procedures, including partial knee replacement, total joint arthroplasty, joint preservation surgery and complex revision surgery. They perform more than 1,000 joint replacement procedures every year.

Confidence in Treatment Through Education

We developed a special joint replacement education website just for patients undergoing joint arthroplasty. The website takes you step by step through the joint replacement process. From things to consider before choosing surgery to recovery after surgery, you’ll find the information you need to help you feel confident in your decision to undergo joint replacement.

Advancing Orthopaedic Medicine Through Research

The doctors and researchers in our Center for Orthopaedic Research and Translational Science at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center are committed to advancing our field through scientific discovery and education. As the only academic medical center in central Pennsylvania, Hershey Medical Center is a national leader in research, in partnership with Penn State College of Medicine, and on the leading edge of new treatment options, including clinical trials.

Convenient Locations

Find the care your family needs, close to home, at one of our many locations throughout central Pennsylvania.

Find a location near you