Hip Labral Tear

Hip Labral Tear

What is a Hip Labral Tear?

The hip or acetabular labrum is a ridge of cartilage that runs around the rim of your hip joint socket. Its purpose is to make the hip socket deeper and more stable. The labrum can be torn from its attachment and cause pain, clicking or catching.

What Causes of a Hip Labral Tear?

The labrum can tear for many reasons. Some people tear their labrum from falls or sporting injuries when you force your hip into extreme positions. Repetitive trauma in sports requiring regular hip rotation — like golf, soccer, hockey, and ballet– can lead to a torn hip labrum.

Studies show that up to 22% of athletes complaining of groin pain have a labral tear in the hip. However, almost 75% of cases of torn acetabular labrum have no known direct cause.

What is a Labral Tear of the Hip?

A labral tear is an injury to the labrum of the hip.

The labrum is a cartilaginous structure that covers the socket of the ball and socket hip joint. The labrum functions to allow the femoral head to move freely in the socket and a negative pressure seal to maintain the joint integrity throughout the movement of the hip.

Labral tears occur for 3 reasons:

  1. Injury
  2. Structural Changes
  3. Degenerative Issues


Relates to a specific trauma or incident that results in an injury to the labrum. This may occur as a one-off event, known as macrotrauma, but most commonly it occurs as the result of repetitive overload, or small insults to the labrum repetitively.

This is most common in sports that require high impact repetitive movements, particularly those that involve rotation or twisting on a flexed (or bent) hip. Common sports that have a high incidence of labral tears include tennis, ice hockey and football (Soccer).

Structural Changes

Structural changes to the shape of the proximal femur (thigh bone), may result in premature contact between the ball in the socket, which can compromise the Labrum. Changes may be the result of Femoroacetabular Impingement Syndrome (FAIS) or the result of hip conditions, such as Perthes Disease or Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE).


Degenerative causes of labral tears are related to changes that occur to the labrum as part of the hip osteoarthritic process. Loss of the cartilage surface results in increased pressure on the bony surfaces, which further perpetuates the cycle of osteoarthritis and deterioration of the joint surfaces of the hip.

Hip Labral Tear Symptoms

Common symptoms may include:

  • Hip Pain
  • Hip Stiffness
  • Pain in the Groin or Buttock Regions
  • Clicking or Locking of the Hip
  • Instability or feeling unsteady when standing on 1 leg

Your pain may increase with activities that require you to bend and turn on one leg.

If you are concerned about your hip symptoms and think you may have a labral tear, please contact your local PhysioWorks Clinic, with same-day appointments available, the team can assess and diagnose your hip to start your recovery today!

More information: Hip Pain

How Does A Hip Labral Tear Feel?

Some people experience no pain from a hip labral tear, but most will feel pain or ache in their groin, over the lateral hip, or deep in their buttock region. Acetabular labrum tears often cause a feeling of the leg “catching” or “clicking” in the hip socket as you move it. It may also feel like the hip is locking up. Some people get a feeling of giving way within the hip joint.

How is a Labral Tear Diagnosed?

Your clinical diagnosis of a hip labral tear is a combination of symptoms, and clinical signs, for example, a restricted range of movement. It is difficult to get a specific diagnosis without an MRI or MRA (a unique MRI looking at joints and requiring injection into the joint) or by arthroscopic hip surgery.

Please consult your hip physiotherapist or surgeon for their professional opinion regarding your hip labrum.

Hip Labral Tear Treatment

Phase I – Reduce Pain & Protect Your Labrum

In most cases, you must start treating your labral injury straight away by resting your hip and avoiding those aggravating activities.

You should avoid sitting:

  • with knees lower than your hips.
  • with legs crossed or sitting on your legs with hip rotation.
  • on the edge of the seat and contracting the muscles that flex your hips.

You should also avoid overextending your hip.

Hip Labral Tear Exercises

Hip labral tear exercises commence in phase two.

Phase II – Restore Flexibility & Strength

  • Have your biomechanics, joint and muscle function assessed by your physiotherapist.
  • Restore any limited joint range of motion.
  • Improve your soft tissue muscle length and resting tension.
  • Activate your deep stability muscles.
  • Progressively strengthen your intermediate and superficial muscles.
  • Enhance your proprioception and joint position sense.

Phase III – Return to Activity or Sport

  • Aim to improve your functional activities of daily living (ADLs) via goal-focused exercises.
  • Graduate through a return to sport program that is specific to your needs.
  • Agility, speed, power, and sport-specific drills.
  • Modify your return to sport under the advice of your physiotherapist or doctor.
  • Many hip labral tears responded favourably to conservative exercise-based treatment, but some will need hip labral repair surgery.

Hip Surgery for Labral Tears

A percentage of hip labral tears will require surgery to stop the pain and clicking. The procedure should also improve hip joint integrity, reducing the future degeneration associated with labral tears.

Surgery involves re-attaching the labrum and occasionally debriding (removing the torn section) of the labrum. You will require post-operative hip labral repair rehabilitation. Under the guidance of your physiotherapist and surgeon, they will prescribe your exercise regime to facilitate your safe return to sport.

Related Articles

  1. Hip Pain: Offers insights into managing and overcoming hip and groin pain through tailored exercise programs and physiotherapy techniques​​.
  2. Gluteal Tendinopathy: Discusses the causes, symptoms, and treatment of gluteal tendinopathy, which is relevant for readers interested in hip-related issues​​.
  3. Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (GTPS): Provides detailed information on lateral hip pain, including diagnosis, treatment options, and the importance of hip core muscles​​.
  4. Hip Flexor: Iliopsoas Groin Pain: Explores causes and treatments for hip flexor issues, offering advice on managing hip and groin pain​​.
  5. Hip Arthritis: Looks into systemic diseases affecting the hip, referred pain sources, and severe cases where hip surgery might be considered​​.
  6. FAIS (Femoroacetabular Impingement Syndrome): Discusses FAIS, its impact on hip health, and its connection to labral tears​​.
  7. Hip Replacement: Details when hip replacement might be necessary, covering various causes of hip and groin pain​​.

Introduction to Hip & Groin Pain

Hip and groin pain affects a wide array of individuals, from athletes to the elderly. Understanding the common causes and treatments of this pain is vital for maintaining overall well-being and mobility.

Common Causes of Hip Pain

hip & groin pain
Hip &Amp; Groin Pain Causes &Amp; Treatment

Lateral Hip Pain and Its Causes

Groin Pain: Different Types and Causes

Other Muscle-Related Pain

Systemic Diseases Affecting the Hip

Referred Pain Sources

  • Sciatica: Pain radiating along the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back through the hips and down the legs.
  • Lower Back Pain: Can refer pain to the hip area.
  • Pinched Nerve: Nerve compression in the spine or hip area.

Hip Surgery: A Solution for Severe Cases

What's New in Hip & Groin Pain Research?

Recent studies suggest the importance of tailored exercise programs in managing hip and groin pain. Physiotherapy techniques focusing on strengthening and stabilising the deep hip rotators and core muscles have shown significant improvements in pain management and mobility.

What to Do? Seeking Professional Advice

If you're experiencing hip or groin pain, it's crucial to consult with a physiotherapist or doctor.

They can assess your condition, provide a personalised treatment plan, and guide you through exercises tailored to your specific needs.


Hip and groin pain can significantly impact your quality of life. However, with the right knowledge and professional guidance, managing and overcoming this pain is achievable.

Related Articles

  1. Groin Pain Management - Expert advice on managing groin pain, covering causes such as adductor tendinopathy and femoroacetabular impingement​​.
  2. Hip, Groin & Buttock Pain FAQs: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments - Answers to frequently asked questions about hip, groin, and buttock pain, including symptoms, causes, and treatments​​.
  3. Hip Labral Tear - Information on hip labral tears, their symptoms, and treatment options​​.
  4. Piriformis Syndrome - Understanding & Physio Treatment Tips - Insight into piriformis syndrome, a condition causing buttock pain and how physiotherapy can help​​.
  5. Trochanteric Bursitis - Hip Bursitis: Causes & Treatments - An article explaining the causes of hip bursitis and offering treatment solutions​​.
  6. Groin Strain - Discusses groin strains, their symptoms, causes, and treatment methods​​.
  7. Gluteal Tendinopathy: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment - Offers insights into the causes and treatment of gluteal tendinopathy​​.

Hip, Groin, Buttock Pain FAQs

Welcome to our comprehensive FAQ section, designed to address your concerns about hip, groin, and buttock pain. Here, we aim to provide clear, accessible information to help you understand the potential causes of your discomfort and the various treatment options available. Our physiotherapy experts have compiled a series of questions and answers to guide you through common issues, from hip impingement to sciatica, and everything in between. For more in-depth exploration, we've linked to related articles on our website, allowing you to delve deeper into each topic.

Hip, Groin, Buttock Pain
Hip, Groin, Buttock Pain Faqs

Hip Pain FAQs

Dealing with hip pain can be challenging, impacting your mobility and quality of life. Explore our detailed articles for insights on diagnosis, treatment options, and the importance of hip core muscles in maintaining joint health.

Lateral Hip Pain FAQs

Lateral hip pain, including conditions like gluteal tendinopathy and hip bursitis, requires targeted treatment strategies. Discover effective physiotherapy approaches to manage and alleviate your pain.

Groin Pain FAQs

Groin pain can significantly affect your ability to perform daily activities. Learn how to recognise serious symptoms and find effective relief methods through our expert advice.

Buttock Pain FAQs

Buttock pain, including conditions like SIJ pain and sciatica, can be debilitating. Our articles offer insights into symptoms, causes, and comprehensive treatment options to help you recover.


Our FAQ section is designed to be your go-to resource for hip, groin, and buttock pain. Whether you're dealing with a temporary discomfort or a chronic condition, understanding your symptoms and knowing the best treatment options is crucial. Remember, while our website provides valuable information, consulting a physiotherapist for a tailored diagnosis and treatment plan is always recommended. Explore our related articles for more in-depth knowledge and take the first step towards a pain-free life today.

Related Articles

  1. Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (GTPS) - Readers can learn about the causes and management of pain near the greater trochanter, which is closely related to lateral hip pain.
  2. Trochanteric Bursitis - Hip Bursitis: Causes & Treatments - This article explains the causes of hip bursitis and offers treatment solutions, relevant to those experiencing lateral hip pain.
  3. Gluteal Tendinopathy: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment - Offers insights into the causes and treatment of hip tendinitis, a condition linked to lateral hip pain.
  4. Hip Adductor Tendinopathy - Effective Physio Solutions - Focuses on groin pain caused by inflammation or degeneration of tendons in the hip region, directly relevant to the groin pain FAQ.
  5. Hip Flexor: Iliopsoas Groin Pain: Causes And Treatment - Provides detailed information on hip flexor issues, which can cause groin pain, making it highly relevant to readers of the original article.
  6. Hip & Groin Pain Guide: Causes, Treatment, Physio Advice - A comprehensive guide on hip and groin pain, covering common causes and treatments that align with the article's topics.
  7. Piriformis Syndrome - Understanding & Physio Treatment Tips - Discusses piriformis syndrome, a condition causing buttock pain, which is directly related to one of the SEO keywords.
  8. What Is Hip Impingement? - Explains hip impingement, a condition causing hip and sometimes groin pain, providing valuable insights into potential causes of the reader's discomfort.
  9. Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction (SIJ) Causes, Relief, Treatment - Relevant for readers experiencing buttock pain, as it covers SIJ pain, a topic mentioned in the original article.
  10. Hip Arthritis - While not directly mentioned in the FAQ sections, hip arthritis can be a source of hip pain, making this article useful for readers wanting to understand more about hip conditions and pain management.
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