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What’s a Torn Hip Labrum? Can Surgery Correct It?

A torn hip labrum is an injury that causes pain and instability that can be extremely difficult to deal with. For many patients, surgical repair of the torn labrum is necessary to alleviate pain and increase mobility in the hip. The good news is that there are new surgical and interventional options that decrease operative and recovery time. Here’s everything you need to know:


The hip is a ball and socket joint composed of the head of the femur and acetabulum. In order to prevent instability and bone-on-bone contact, the soft tissue labrum surrounds the outside edge of the acetabulum and acts as a suction cup, keeping the head of the femur in place, while allowing it to rotate.

torn hip labrum

Illustration 1– The bones of the hip joint and soft tissue labrum

A labral tear can result in pain, instability, stiffness, and decreased function.


Labral tears are seen across all patient populations. The most common causes are:

  • Wear and tear due to aging
  • Athletic injuries
  • Overuse
  • Abnormal anatomy
  • Hip impingement syndrome
  • Arthritis

Tears in the labrum should to be treated appropriately in order to prevent arthritis.  If the damage to the labrum progresses, it can cause the bones of the hip joint to begin to rub together.  This rubbing can cause bone spurs and arthritis in the hip, which may severely damage the hip joint and result in the need for Total Hip Replacement.

Arthroscopic Labral Repair Surgery

Surgery repairs the labrum as well as other cartilage that has been damaged.  Using a small camera, known as an arthroscope, the surgeon is able to access the hip joint and view the labrum in detail.  Once the tear has been identified, loose or torn pieces of cartilage can be trimmed away as well as any bone spurs that may have formed.

The goal is to restore the integrity and function of the joint so the patient can live a normal, pain-free life. Following surgery, Physical Therapy is used to regain strength and stability in the hip joint. The recovery time depends on the severity of the tear, but generally takes only a few weeks.

The Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine (OSM) Center has 5 locations throughout Fairfield County.  We utilize the collective skills of our exceptional providers to deliver the most complete musculoskeletal care available. From your first appointment, you are cared for by a team specifically built based on the best treatment for your condition. If surgery is necessary, you will be paired with an OSM surgeon who has the expertise and experience in your specific condition. Our surgeons use the latest minimally invasive techniques where appropriate to ensure fast recovery.  Contact us today to schedule a consult.