Do I Have a Labral Tear in My Hip?

hip labral tear

Hip pain can be easily disregarded, but can eventually impact your ability to move and perform daily activities like walking, running, and standing up, among others. Hip labral tears are common in athletes or those who put immense strain on their hip joints. Dr. Daniel Gibbs provides some of the most highly-regarded hip labral tear treatment available today in Park City Utah.

What is a Labral Tear?

The labrum is a ring of cartilage that cushions and steadies your hip joint. Your hips bear your weight during most upright activities, and the labrum acts as a “rubber gasket” to facilitate fluid motion and hold your thigh bone in place. Though often seen in athletes, a hip labral tear can happen to anyone.

What Does a Labral Tear Feel Like?

Hip labral tears are difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are often similar to, or in conjunction with, other hip injuries. In general, after a hip labral tear you may notice:

  • Pain in the hip or groin area
  • Stiffness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Catching, locking, or clicking sensation in the hip joint

Symptoms can also worsen with increased activity, particularly movements that bend or strain the hip joint. Some people may not even notice symptoms of a hip labral tear and the condition can go untreated in some cases.

Hip Labral Tear Causes

Certain athletes are particularly susceptible to hip labral tears. Football, soccer, golf, and ice hockey are the most common culprits, although anyone who performs repetitive or high-impact movements can experience an injury from overuse or excess stress.

Other instances of a hip labral tear can be caused by an abnormality in the development of the hip joint. Any abnormalities can cause and imperfect fit between the two bones that causes unnatural movements or puts additional strain on the joint. Lastly, some degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis can cause the cartilage to break down over time.

What Are my Options for Hip Labral Tear Treatment?

Before recommending a specific treatment, Dr. Gibbs will first perform tests, complete imaging scans, and ask you questions. Mild hip labral tears may just require medication. Anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen can control symptoms and reduce swelling. Physical therapy to analyze your movements and make small adjustments that reduce stress on the joint.

Hip labral tear surgery is performed arthroscopically for those with moderate to severe tears. When the tear is accessible, the labral fibers can be repaired. Otherwise the torn section is shaved down or removed. The procedure is minimally-invasive, but will still require a few weeks to a few months of rest and relaxation to fully heal.

Treating a Hip Labral Tear with Dr. Daniel Gibbs

Dr. Gibbs is a talented surgeon of the hip, knee, and shoulder. He focuses on providing non-surgical or minimally-invasive procedures when possible to reduce healing time and help you get back to playing sports and exercising like normal. His compassionate care and enthusiasm for the community make him an invaluable part of our Heiden Orthopedics team.

24 Comments


I have had pain for 7 years in my right leg. I have myalgias and my butt, hip, and thigh muscles. The pain gets worse at night and when I sit or walk too long. I have clicking and popping in my hip when I move it certain ways. The pain is now constant, but it gradually got worse. I’ve seen many doctors about it and have run many tests, however my doctors have never done any of the test for a labral tear. I brought it up to my doctor and I’m going to see him tomorrow to check if that is what’s been causing me so much pain. Is there a reason why it would take them this long to run any of the tests and why I had to bring it up to them? They continue to tell me it was in my head for many years and after reading many articles I’m so certain that this is what has been bothering me. Are there other cases that took this long to diagnose? I’m curious about the typical timeline and why none of these tests have been run before.

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    Hi Nicole. I can’t speak specifically to your situation because I do not know all the facts. I will say that the diagnosis of a labral tear in the hip is often delayed. One study from 2009 found that the average time to diagnosis from the onset of symptoms was 3 years. Most people saw an average of 4 different health care providers before a correct diagnosis is made. I think we are better now than in 2009 but often it can take a while to get the correct diagnosis. I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if you have any other questions or if I can be of help in any way.

    -Dan Gibbs

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I was in a car wreck a few months back and ever since I’ve had this pain in my outer and inner upper thigh by my goin and lately it’s hitting to the point that it feels like it locks up and I’ve been falling to my knees

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    Ashley,
    I’m sorry to hear you were in a car accident. If you are having continued pain, especially a few months later, I would recommend seeing an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation. All the best.

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I’ve been trying to figure our what the pain between my pelvic bone and top right thighs bone so I’ve been researching and came across this. I feel like I may a year or sprain in between that area. It’s been painful since November 8, 2019 my birthday night was horrible. I woke up feeling like i had performed the splits and the pain hasn’t left since. It’s painful to open my legs no more the 2 inches.

Does it seem to be a tear?

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    Hi Nicole. There are many things that can cause pain in the area that you are describing but yes, a tear of the labrum is one of them. I would recommend seeing an orthopaedic surgeon for further treatment and guidance. All the best.

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Can a SI joint dysfunction potentiate a labral tear in the hip? I also have hEDS. They found a small tear in my labrum, a significant hamstring tendon tear. None were surgically repaired. It has been 2 years, 3 injections (SI and hip) and the pain is getting worse.

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    Nicole,
    I’m sorry to hear your pain is getting worse. I would recommend getting a second opinion. 2 years is a long time to have continued pain with no significant improvements. Best of luck!

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    I have SI issues and it’s totally different than my Labral tear. It took a good 1 1/2ura to get correct diagnosis. Initially my primary care would give Steroid injection thinking it was SI joint. Relief for maybe a week or so. Then sent to orthopedist Dr and he thought Bursae issue. Another injection in the office. Couple weeks later he gave me an outpatient injection in outpatient surgery and said If that didn’t work would do an MRI. MRI done and sent to Nashville specialist to deal with the Labral tear.

    In physical therapy 2 week for 8 weeks. Trying to not have surgery because surgery not always successful

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I am in the same boat. Today I can barley walk at all. It’s taken 4 years of on and off days of pain to finally get to this point. I had x-rays and a hip steroid injection 2 months ago but it only lasted a month. My doc said it must be in my hip and not a nerve problem. I begged for another injection but he wouldn’t give me one. I went for an MRI 2 days ago and just being in the position for the MRI for 30 minutes has me almost crippled for the past 2 days. Today I can barley walk at all. It’s too long to endure this horrible pain. I’ve never had pain like this.

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I was in a car accident in 2018. I have this intense pain in my hip and in my groin and buttocks since then. I have gone through three rounds of physical therapy and the pain is as intense as it was right after the accident. I had an MRI that was negative. My right hip is week and the pain increases with walking, extended periods of sitting and just bending slightly to the left or right. I saw the orthopedist today and he gave me a cortisone injection. Could this possibly be a larval tear even with a negative MRI

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    Randy,
    It is possible to have a labral tear without findings on an MRI. I would recommend getting a second opinion from an orthopedic hip specialist. Hope this helps.

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I’m a 29 yo female and active runner, I’ve never had any hip pain. One day I was trying to fit on my tight jeans and wiggle my way into them and I felt a pop with excruciating pain followed. I couldn’t put any weight on it or run for 3 weeks, I iced and rested, with periodic Tylenol. I started to feel a bit better, I could actually put pressure on my leg while walking again. Than a few days after I must of slept the wrong way and woke up in the middle of the night with excruciating pain again in my hip to the point of throbbing. It feels like I slammed my hip in a car door and it’s pulsating. Any way I sleep it’s pain, I limp when I walk, ice doesn’t do anything. It hurts anyway I rotate my leg. Should I see a dr.? It’s been about a little over a month since it initially popped, but now it’s unbearable to sleep. I don’t think I dislocated it’s not deformed, I can still walk but gimping around the house. Pulling my leg up to my chest is painful. I can move it around, it just feels like a strained muscle that I need to stretch but stretching doesn’t relieve it. Ughh..

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    Chrissy.
    Since you’re still experiencing excruciating pain over a month later, I would definitely recommend seeing an Orthopedic hip specialist. You probably need some imaging of the hip to really see what’s going on. Hope you feel better soon! -Heiden

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Orthopedic doctor may think I have tear in labrum. Next week is my appointment for an MRI. Past four mornings I awake with excruciating pain down my leg. I can feel it coming from my groin , hip area radiating into my hamstrings, knee, shin…probably all referred pain
It just wakes me up then I have to get up and walk it off and feels somewhat better. Dr., Is this what can happen if diagnosed with tear in labrum??

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    Carolyn,
    If there is a tear in your labrum you can experience groin pain, pain with range of motion, and pain with activity down the medial aspect of the thigh. Also consider, if the pain is radiating from your hamstring down to your foot, it could be originating from your back. I would recommend continuing with the MRI to determine the source of your pain. Hope this helps.

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Hello.
I am writing to you because I could really use a second opinion.
I am a 17 year old, female dancer with everyday practices, international competitions and much more. But for a year now I had a very painful hip and I tried everything to make it go away, but it seems like nothing helps. In last 3 months the pain has got even worse, so I needed to stop dancing, because my hip just could not take it anymore. Now it hurts all the time, as I walk, sit or even lay in bed. I noticed that it got painful on touch too, actually it has gotten so painful that I can not lay on my left hip anymore. I really tried everything. At first I went on physiotherapy but it did not help at all. Then I went to an orthopedist who sent me on MRI and RTG and he said that besides the normal variant – supraacetabular fossa nothing seems wrong. Can you please tell me what do you think I should do or try next. Do you think that supraacetabular fossa could really cause that much pain or is it maybe something more behind it? Is it possible that there is a muscle injury orthopedist overlooked?
Thank you for your time and response.

Kind regards,
Hana

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    Hana,
    Without viewing your medical history or seeing your imaging results, we are unable to provide a second opinion or diagnosis. If you are still having pain and your problem has not been taken care of though, I would recommend taking your imaging to another provider for a second opinion. At your age, you should be able to continue with sports and normal activity without ongoing pain. All the best.

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Hi! My orthopedist is thinking I might have labrum huip tear. My problems is, I usually don’t have pain during exercise or walking, but after. Like two hours after when I get up from bed I can feel sharp pain in my groin. Do this still add up as labrum tear? I fear I might have osteoarthitis.. Thank you so much for answering

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    Tia,
    It would be difficult to provide a diagnosis without doing a full examination. Did your doctor take any imaging? If you are concerned the diagnosis provided is inaccurate, I would recommend getting a second opinion. It never hurts to have a second pair of eyes go over your information and provide insight. Hope this helps.

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I was running one day and an hour later I couldn’t walk now it’s been two weeks still have pain in groin front of hip and but, I couldn’t walk it’s getting a little better barely a limp but can’t change or lift leg hurts the most ,will ice work should I seek help

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    Jeff,
    If you are still experiencing pain you should get in to see an orthopedic hip specialist to rule out an injury. If it is getting slightly better you could also consider seeing a Physical Therapist to aid in your recovery. Hope this helps.

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Hi. I would really like your opinion on how to fix my issues. Background info is this, in 2018 I started with what I assumed was very bad back pain, unable to bend over to put shoes and socks on. My PCP sent me to Ortho whom sent me to PT. She tried multiple times to obtain an MRI but insurance denied. After 2 rounds of PT without relief I went to pain management. Several cortisone injections later finally in February 2019 an MRI showed L4-5, S1 impingements therefore my “locking up” was attributed to my back and I underwent a Spinal Cord Stimulator implant. Two months post implant my pain and “locking up” sensation had actually got worse. I am unable to walk on uneven ground, roll over, twist, turn, bend over, climb stairs, get in and out of vehicles, ride in a car for longer than 15 min ect. So 4 mo ago my Pain Mgmt Doc performed a Rhizotomy at BiL L4-5, S1 Facet joints. Guess what the pain is unresolved. I then went to 3 different Physicians in an attempt to get my life back. The inability to lean over a sink while brushing teeth, to get in an out of bed without help, to sweep, mop, ride in a car, let alone WALK without being brought to my knees in excruciating pain for 2 yrs is unreal and not being taken serious and looked at and treated by Physicians like You’re crazy and it’s all in your head is tiring and maddening. I actually had one Physicians Assistant tell me that the use of opiod pain medications amplified and created a false sense of pain!!!! I hit the internet and google led me to Labrum tears symptoms which aremy exact symptoms. After lots of crying and begging I got my PCP to order Bil hip Arthrograms. Right Hip showed Degeneration and undersurface tearing of the anterior and anterior superolateral acetabuar labrum, Mild Femoral cam derformity, mild changes of femoracetabular impingement, Mild hamstring origin tendinosis, Mild edema/fluid deep to the iliotibial band adjacent to the greater trochanter. Left Hip showed Mild pubic symphyseal spurring, Degeneration and undersurface irregularity of the anterior and anterior superolateral acetabular labrum with partial tearing, Mild cam derformity, Mild hamstring tendinosis, Mild edema deep to the iliotibial band and adjacent to the greater trochanter. These were taken 9/2/20 AND I have not been able to find a Hip Doctor yet. It shouuld not be this hard to obtain healthcare

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    Shellie,
    I’m sorry to hear about your situation, that sounds frustrating. Since you now have the results of the MRI arthrograms, I would recommend getting in to see an orthopedic hip specialist. Your PCP or previous orthopedic doctor should be able to refer you to a hip specialist. If you are still having trouble locating a doctor, your insurance should be able to provide you with a list of in-network doctors in your area. If we can be of any more assistance please don’t hesitate to reach out. We can be contacted @ 435-615-8822.

    Reply

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