Your health care provider will take a history of your discomfort. The physical exam will likely involve moving your leg, and especially your hip joint, into various positions to check for pain and evaluate your hip's range of motion. He or she might also watch you walk.

Imaging scans

A hip labral tear rarely occurs by itself. In most cases, other structures within the hip joint also have injuries. X-rays are excellent at visualizing bone. They can check for arthritis and for structural problems.

A magnetic resonance arthrography (MRA) can provide detailed images of your hip's soft tissues. MRA combines MRI technology with a contrast material injected into the hip joint space to make a labral tear easier to see.

Anesthesia injection

Hip pain can be caused by problems within the joint or outside the joint. Your health care provider might suggest injecting an anesthetic into the joint space. If this relieves your pain, it's likely that your problem is inside your hip joint.

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Treatment depends on how severe your symptoms are. Some people recover in a few weeks with conservative treatments, including rest and modified activities; others need arthroscopic surgery to repair the torn portion of the labrum.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve), can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Pain can also be controlled temporarily with an injection of corticosteroids into the joint.


A physical therapist can teach you exercises to increase your hip's range of motion and build hip and core strength and stability. Therapists can also teach you to avoid movements that put stress on your hip joint.

Surgical and other procedures

If conservative treatments don't relieve your symptoms, your health care provider might recommend arthroscopic surgery — in which a fiber-optic camera and surgical tools are inserted via small incisions in your skin.

Depending on the cause and extent of the tear, the surgeon might remove the torn piece of labrum or repair the torn tissue by sewing it back together.

Complications of surgery can include infection, bleeding, nerve injury and recurrent symptoms if the repair doesn't heal properly. A return to sports usually takes 3-6 months.

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Preparing for your appointment

Your health care provider might refer you to a doctor who specializes in hip disorders or sports medicine.

What you can do

Make a list that includes:

  • Detailed descriptions of your symptoms and when they began
  • Other medical problems you've had
  • Activities that might contribute to your hip pain
  • All medications, vitamins and other dietary supplements you take, including doses
  • Questions to ask the health care provider

What to expect from your doctor

Your health care provider might ask:

  • Where exactly is your pain?
  • What were you were doing when it started?
  • Does anything make the pain better or worse?
Feb. 05, 2022
  1. Frontera WR, et al., eds. Hip labral tears. In: Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation. 4th ed. Elsevier; 2019. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 2, 2021.
  2. Johnson R. Approach to hip and groin pain in the athlete and active adult. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Oct. 2, 2021.
  3. Su T, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of labral tear. Chinese Medical Journal. 2019; doi:10.1097/CM9.0000000000000020.
  4. Nori S, et al., eds. Hip pain. In: Clinical Diagnosis in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. Elsevier; 2022. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 2, 2021.
  5. Krych AJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Oct. 14, 2021.