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Hip Labral Tear

A hip labral tear is an 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). The acetabulum is lined with strong protective cartilage called the labrum. The labrum forms a gasket around the socket, a seal that helps stabilize the joint. When the labrum tears, the tissue can get pinched between the femoral head and the acetabulum, causing pain when the hip joint rotates or flexes.

Labral tears can result from structural problems in the hip, injuries or degenerative conditions, such as arthritis. The problem is especially common in athletes who perform repeated hip flexion (the motion of bringing the knee toward the chest), such as runners, hockey players, soccer players and football players.

Please visit the UCSF Hip Preservation Center at for more information.

Our Approach to Hip Labral Tears

UCSF is committed to helping patients with hip labral tears return to the highest level of activity possible, whether they're avid weekend warriors or elite professional athletes. Our team includes orthopedic surgeons who specialize in the hip and other joints, primary care sports medicine doctors, 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 therapies, including exercise regimens, functional activity training and neuromuscular reeducation (techniques that condition the area to move normally again). 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 labrum.

Awards & recognition

  • usnews-neurology

    Among the top hospitals in the nation

  • usnews-orthopedics

    One of the nation's best for orthopedic care

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.