Hip Labral Tear

A hip labral tear is a tear or damage to the labrum, a ring of cartilage that surrounds the socket of the hip joint. The hip labrum helps to provide stability and cushioning to the hip joint. A tear can cause pain, stiffness, and weakness in the hip, and can lead to other complications if left untreated.

Causes of Hip Labral Tear

Hip labral tears can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

Trauma or injury: A sudden impact on the hip joint, such as a fall or car accident, can cause a labral tear.

Structural abnormalities: Some people are born with structural abnormalities in their hips that can increase the risk of a labral tear. These include hip dysplasia or a shallow hip socket.

Repetitive motions: Athletes who participate in sports that involve repetitive hip motions, such as soccer or ice hockey, are at increased risk of developing a labral tear.

Overuse: Overuse of the hip joint, such as running long distances or standing for long periods of time, can lead to a labral tear.

Degenerative changes: As we age, the hip joint can experience degenerative changes that can lead to a labral tear. This is more common in people over the age of 40.

Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI): FAI is a condition where there is abnormal contact between the femur (thigh bone) and the hip socket. This can cause damage to the labrum over time.

Inflammatory conditions: Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation and weakening of the hip joint, increasing the risk of a labral tear.

Signs and Symptoms of Hip Labral Tear

The signs and symptoms of a hip labral tear can vary depending on the severity of the tear. Some common signs and symptoms of a hip labral tear include:

  • Hip pain: Pain in the hip joint is the most common symptom of a labral tear. The pain may be sharp or aching and can be felt in the front, side, or back of the hip.
  • Hip stiffness: The hip joint may feel stiff and may be difficult to move.
  • Clicking or popping sensation: Some people with a labral tear may experience a clicking or popping sensation in the hip joint when they move.
  • Limited range of motion: A labral tear can make it difficult to move the hip joint through its full range of motion.
  • Weakness: Weakness in the hip or leg may be experienced due to pain or restricted movement.
  • Pain in the groin or buttocks: Pain may be felt in the groin or buttocks area.
  • Limping: Some people may develop a limp as a result of pain and difficulty moving the hip joint.

It is important to note that not all hip labral tears cause symptoms, and some people may have a tear without even realizing it. A doctor can perform a physical examination and imaging tests to diagnose a hip labral tear.

Treatment for Hip Labral Tear

Physiotherapy can play an important role in the management of hip labral tears. The goal of physiotherapy treatment for a hip labral tear is to reduce pain, improve hip joint mobility, and strengthen the muscles around the hip joint to provide better stability and support. Here are some common physiotherapy treatments for hip labral tears:

Rest and ice: Initially, rest and ice may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation in the hip joint.

Manual therapy: Manual therapy techniques, such as joint mobilization and soft tissue massage, may be used to improve joint mobility and reduce pain.

Therapeutic exercise: A physiotherapist can design a specific exercise program to help strengthen the muscles around the hip joint. Strengthening exercises can improve joint stability and support, which can help to prevent future injuries.

Stretching: Stretching exercises can help to improve flexibility and reduce muscle tension in the hip joint.

Biomechanical correction: A physiotherapist can assess your movement patterns and gait to identify any biomechanical issues that may be contributing to your hip labral tear. They can provide you with specific exercises and advice to correct these issues and reduce your risk of re-injury.

Education: A physiotherapist can educate you on ways to protect your hip joint during daily activities, such as lifting and bending, to prevent further injury.

It is important to note that the treatment plan for a hip labral tear may vary depending on the severity of the tear and individual patient needs. A physiotherapist can work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that best suits your needs.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a therapist about hip labral tear please call us at 03 9836 1126.



Walters, J., Solomito, M., Paquette, M., & Uhl, T. (2020). Physical Therapy for the Patient With Hip Labral Tears: A Systematic Review. Sports Health

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