Hip Labral Tears

By Brian M. Torpey, MD, FACS


The labrum of the hip is semi-rigid lip or ring of cartilage that surrounds the hip socket. The labrum serves to pad and support the rim of the hip socket as normal hip motions are performed.

Sometimes, as a result of a hip injury, the labrum can become torn. In other situations, the boney margins of the hip joint can pinch each other, which cause the labrum to become irritated and torn. Over time, a torn labrum can cause arthritis to form within the hip joint.

Patients who have a torn hip labrum will commonly experience a sense of clicking or popping in their hip as well as a painful sensation in the front of their hip and groin region. Labral tears can also occasionally cause the hip to catch or lock during normal hip motions.

If clinical symptoms suspicious for a labral tear are present, orthopaedic surgeons will often confirm the presence of a tear by obtaining an MRI arthrogram radiology test.

Fortunately, the majority of symptomatic hip labral tears can be treated with minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures that allow the surgeon to either repair or trim the torn labrum.