Hip Labral Tears in Teens and Young Adults

A labral tear is an injury to the labrum — a ring of cartilage around the rim of your hip socket. In certain cases, if left untreated, it could lead to further joint damage and arthritis.

At the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Hip Preservation Program at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, we're experts at treating hip labral tears.

Contact the AYA Hip Preservation Program

To make an appointment with one of our orthopaedic experts or ask a question about hip labral tear care, call 412-692-5530.

What Is a Labral Tear?

Your hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball, or femoral head, sits in the socket, or acetabulum, and allows for motion at the hip joint.

You have a ring of cartilage, called the labrum, around the rim of your hip socket. Think of the labrum like a gasket. It suctions the ball into the socket and provides stability to the hip joint.

Sometimes the hip labrum can become torn causing pain and difficulty with range of motion.

Hip labral tear causes and risk factors

An overuse injury or trauma can tear the labrum. In younger people, repetitive motions, or conditions like acetabular hip dysplasia or femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), are often the culprits.

Athletes in sports that involve quick changes of direction, especially rotating and twisting of the lower extremities, may become at risk for hip labral tears.

Why choose the AYA Hip Preservation Program for hip labral tears?

  • Michael McClincy, MD, is one of few surgeons in the Pittsburgh region who performs advanced hip surgeries to fix labral tears.
  • We take a team approach to diagnosing and treating young people with hip labral tears.
  • We offer access to clinical trials and research that helps us advance how we treat hip disorders. It also means you get early access to new treatments for hip labral tears.

Adolescent Hip Labral Tear Symptoms and Diagnosis

Many people with hip labral tears have no symptoms.

If you do have symptoms, you may feel:

  • Catching or locking in the groin.
  • Pain in your groin that may wrap to the back of your hip.
  • Reduced range of motion in your hip.

Diagnosing hip labral tears in teens and young adults

To help diagnose a labral tear in your hip, your doctor will:

  • Ask about your medical history and if you've had any hip injuries in the past.
  • Ask about your symptoms and pain level.
  • Perform an exam, moving your leg to test the strength and range of motion of the hip joint.

Your doctor may also order imaging tests, such as:

  • X-rays of the bones in your hip.
  • MRI to see the soft tissues that surround the hip joints.

Hip Labral Tear Treatment and Surgical Repair in Young People

At the AYA Hip Preservation Program, we tailor your treatment based your physical examination and individual goals.

Nonsurgical treatment for labral tears

Most times we start with nonsurgical treatments for labral tears, such as:

  • Anti-inflammatory medicines.
  • Rest or reduced activity.
  • Steroid shots to help with pain.
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the hip joint and surrounding areas.

Hip labral tear surgery in teens and young adults

Your doctor may suggest a hip arthroscopy to repair your hip labral tear if you get no pain relief with conservative treatments.

During hip arthroscopy, we use a small camera (an arthroscope) to look inside your hip. We can repair cartilage or shave off excess bone. This is a minimally invasive surgery because it only requires small incisions.

Physical therapy after surgery will help you make a successful recovery.

Make an Appointment for Hip Labral Tears at the AYA Hip Preservation Program

To make an appointment with one of our hip doctors, call 412-692-5530.