Hip Labral Tear

A hip labral tear is a type of injury to the joint's soft tissues. The hip is a ball-and-socket joint, with the femoral head (ball) located within the acetabulum (socket). Cartilage covers both surfaces, allowing the hip to glide smoothly in any direction. The labrum is a ring of cartilage that lines the outside rim of the acetabulum and functions as a seal for the femoral head. When the labrum tears, it can get pinched between the femoral head and the acetabulum, causing pain when the hip joint rotates or flexes (such as when moving the knee toward the head).

Labral tears can result from structural problems in the hip, trauma or degenerative conditions, such as arthritis. The injury is especially common in athletes who perform repeated hip flexion, such as runners, hockey players, soccer players and football players.

Our Approach to Hip Labral Tear

UCSF is committed to helping patients with hip labral tears return to the highest level of activity possible, whether that means a daily jog or reporting for practice with the NFL. Our team includes orthopedic surgeons, hip and other joint specialists, primary care physicians trained in sports medicine, physical therapists and athletic trainers. These health care providers work together to tailor a treatment plan to each patient's needs and goals.

Treatment for a hip labral tear usually begins with rest, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy. We offer the full range of physical rehabilitation treatments, including exercise regimens, functional activities and neuromuscular reeducation, in addition to providing information and instruction. Patients who continue to experience pain may choose to have surgery. Our orthopedic surgeons are experts in hip arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure using small incisions and specialized instruments to repair the torn cartilage.

Awards & recognition

  • usnews-neurology

    Best hospital in Northern California

  • usnews-orthopedics

    One of the nation’s best in orthopedics

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.