Key Points about Hip Labral Tear or Strain

  • A hip labral tear or strain is common in athletes, such as golfers and softball players. It is generally caused by repetitive movements of the hip, trauma, or a health condition such as osteoarthritis.
  • While some people do not experience signs or symptoms of a labral tear or strain, others experience hip pain or stiffness and a “clicking” sound in the hip.
  • You can prevent hip labral tears or strains by exercising the area with strength and flexibility exercises.
Common related conditions
Hip Flexor Tear or Strain Hip Strains and Sprains Hip Tendonitis Hip Dislocation


A hip labral tear or strain occurs in the soft tissue that covers the socket of the hip (labrum). The labrum socket cushions and holds the ball of the hip in the socket.

A tear or strain can occur from trauma or overuse of the hip and is common in athletes.

Symptoms of hip labral tears or strains may not be evident, but in some cases, pain in your hip or groin can be felt. If you have a strain or tear in the labral, you can feel some discomfort when you bend or move the hip.

If symptoms don’t improve in six weeks, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Hip labral tear or strain causes

Tears and strains in the hip labral multiple ways, including:

  • Repetitive motions from activities such as playing golf that require a pivot motion
  • Trauma to the hip from activities such as playing hockey or from a car accident
  • Being born with a hip problem that over time wears down and tears

Hip labral tear or strain symptoms

Many patients do not experience symptoms associated with a hip labral tear or strain. When symptoms occur, you may experience the following:

  • Pain or stiffness in the hip
  • Pain in the groin or buttocks
  • “Clicking “noise in the hip
  • Limited range of motion
  • Feeling unsteady on your feet

Hip labral tear or strain complications

If left untreated, a labral tear or strain can result in osteoarthritis. Patients with hip osteoarthritis may experience reduced mobility and a complete loss of mobility.

Hip labral tear or strain risk factors

Anyone is susceptible to a hip labral tear or strain.

Risk factors include:

  • Sex: Women are more likely to have a hip labral tear or strain than men.
  • Pre-existing hip condition: Hip impingement, hip dysplasia, and capsular laxity.
  • Trauma: Tears or strains can be a result of a car accident, falling, or an injury in a contact sport.
  • Structural abnormalities: if you are born with hip abnormalities, you are at a higher risk.
  • Overuse: Athletes that play sports requiring a lot of twisting and repetitive use of the hip.

Hip labral tear or strain prevention

Often, hip labral tears and strains are associated with athletes and participating in sports, so some precautions you can take include:

  • Improve the strength and flexibility in your hips with exercises
  • Avoid placing your full body weight on your hips when your legs and hips are at their extreme ends.

Hip labral tear or strain diagnosis

  • Your doctor will perform a physical examination to determine your diagnosis. During a physical exam, your doctor will move your legs and hip joint to evaluate your range of motion.
  • Your doctor will also review your medical history to determine when symptoms began and potential activities that might have caused the tears or strain.
  • Your doctor will likely order an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan to rule out other possible conditions.

Hip labral tear or strain treatment

Your doctor will develop a customized treatment plan for your case based on the severity of your symptoms.

Treatment options for hip labral tears or strains include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain relief
  • Corticosteroid injection directly into the joint to relieve pain
  • Physical therapy to increase your hip’s range of motion and strengthen the area

When nonsurgical treatments are not effectively relieving your symptoms, your doctor may recommend arthroscopic surgery. During arthroscopic surgery, your doctor will cut and remove part of your labrum or repair the tear with stitches.

When should I seek care?

If you are experiencing symptoms related to hip labral tears or strains that do not improve in six weeks, contact your doctor to make an appointment.

Next Steps

Your doctor will recommend the best treatment for your case. Depending on the severity of your labral tear or strain, your doctor may recommend rest and prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain relief.

If you participate in activities that place stress on your hips, strengthen your hips, and try exercises to increase your flexibility.

Follow your doctor’s treatment plan and schedule an appointment if your symptoms change or worsen.

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