Hip (Acetabular) Labral Tears

An acetabular (hip) labral tear involves injury to the elastic soft tissue surrounding the ball-and-socket joint that holds the top of your thighbone in place. Labral tears often occur in athletes that change directions quickly and forcibly and also in people with structural abnormalities (such as arthritis or hip dysplasia) affecting how forces are transmitted into their hip joints. Labral tears can happen abruptly or over time due to wear and tear.


  • Hip pain and “catching”
  • Hip joint laxity (looseness)


There are nonsurgical and surgical treatment options available for acetabular (hip) labral tears. Both treatment types are performed by our hip specialists at Orthopaedic Specialists.

Nonsurgical Treatment

Avoiding aggravating activities that cause pain, taking anti-inflammatories, and/or receiving corticosteroid injection(s) may treat mild cases of acetabular (hip) labral tears. While nonsurgical treatment can relieve mild cases of the condition, surgery may be necessary if it continues to worsen.

Surgical Treatment

Hip Arthroscopy (Minimally Invasive)

Our sports medicine and orthopaedic surgeons perform minimally invasive arthroscopic labral repair or debridement, which uses very small incisions. Through the incisions, the arthroscope (small video camera) sends enlarged live video footage of the damaged tissue to a monitor for the surgeon to use as a guide while treating the labral tear. The areas of damage are either fixed using suture repair or removed using debridement to restore function and relieve pain in the hip. This technique results in smaller incisions, less scarring, less pain, and faster recovery than open surgical procedures.

What to Expect Following Surgery

After a minimally invasive hip arthroscopy, you typically will return home the same day. We will provide pain medication to help minimize discomfort, and you will likely need crutches or a cane for a short period during healing, usually for about one to two months. Physical therapy will also be a part of the rehabilitation process, which often includes exercises to help restore strength and mobility. You will learn more details about this process during your initial consultation.