Hip Pathologies for Patients – Understanding Labral Tear


What’s a labral tear?

Labral tears are a hip pathology that can be caused by trauma, structural abnormalities or repetitive motions (particularly those in sports). The labrum is a rim of cartilage around the hip socket that helps keep the head of the femur (thigh bone) inside the acetabulum (hip socket). A labral tear is a tear in the labrum; patients feel pain deep in the groin on the side of the involved hip, and may also have a locking sensation or hear a clicking in their affected hip.

Trauma, for example, from a car accident or from playing contact sports, can cause a hip labral tear. Some people are born with hip problems that can accelerate wear and tear of the joint, eventually causing a hip labral tear. Repetitive motions such as the sudden twisting or pivoting motions that are common in golf or baseball can lead to excessive joint wear and tear that will ultimately result in a hip labral tear.  A surgical approach for treatment has been common in the past, but new information from ongoing studies is changing the way this condition is treated to a more conservative path where surgery is not required.

As an article from Houston Methodist  points out, our understanding of the acetabular labrum has expanded just in the last 10 years, as the availability of high-power photography and improved lab techniques have made it possible to take a closer look at the structure of this area of the hip. This article, targeted towards educating patients,  starts off with an explanation and visuals of the hip, and provides a comprehensive explanation of the who, what, when, how, and why of labral tears.  “Acetabular labrum tears (labral tears) can cause pain, stiffness, and other disabling symptoms of the hip joint. The pain can occur if the labrum is torn, frayed, or damaged. Active adults between the ages of 20 and 40 are affected most often, requiring some type of treatment in order to stay active and functional… [continue reading here].