Acetabular Labral (Hip) Tear

Acetabular Labral (Hip) Tear


At Children’s Andrews Institute, we provide comprehensive care and innovative treatments for every pediatric hip condition our patients may experience, including acetabular labral (hip) tears. Our goal is to provide our patients with the most effective but least invasive options possible.

When your child tears the cartilage (labrum) that cushions the hip joint (acetabulum), our physicians are here to help. Labral tears usually occur during sports and activities in which the hip rotates suddenly, like football or soccer.

Some tears may only require medication, activity modification or rehab with our in-house physical therapists. But if surgery is needed, our surgeons offer a minimally invasive arthroscopic approach. They also have expertise treating related hip injuries such as:

  • Hip dysplasia in teens and young adults
  • Hip impingement

Symptoms of Acetabular Labral (Hip) Tears

The labrum is a ring of cartilage that lines the outside rim of the hip joint. Young athletes who participate in hip rotation-heavy sports such as football, soccer and golf are at an increased risk of labral tears.

Signs and symptoms of a tear depend on its severity. Minor tears may cause only minimal pain and swelling for a few weeks after the injury. For children with more severe tears, symptoms may include:

  • Pain – especially with activity
  • Stiffness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Discomfort walking
  • Feeling as if the hip is giving out, “locking” or “clicking”
Tests and Diagnosis

Diagnosing Acetabular Labral (Hip) Tears

Our physicians start with a physical exam of your child’s hip. We also take a quick, painless imaging scan to look for damage to the bones and soft tissue in your child’s hip.

Your child’s physical evaluation may include:

  • Comparison of the injured and non-injured hips
  • Tests to stress the hip and identify weak and possibly injured cartilage

Diagnostic testing may include:

  • X-ray: Uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to take detailed images of the bones of the hip joint
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan: Uses magnetic fields and radio waves to take detailed pictures of the hip joint, checking for tears in the cartilage

Treating Acetabular Labral (Hip) Tears

At the Andrews Institute, our team of orthopedic specialists designs treatment plans using the least invasive options possible. Whenever possible, our physicians first suggest non-surgical treatment for a torn labrum.

Non-surgical treatment options include:

  • Medication for pain
  • Activity modification
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation

If symptoms continue to worsen, we may recommend minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery. 

After surgery, our physicians work collaboratively with in-house physical therapists to create an individualized rehabilitation plan for your child’s unique needs.


Acetabular Labral (Hip) Tear Resources

Learn more about acetabular labral (hip) tears in children:


Acetabular Labral (Hip) Tear FAQs

How are acetabular labral (hip) tears prevented?

While labral tears that happen because of an acute injury are unavoidable, those that happen from wear and tear can be prevented with effective strength and stability exercises. 

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