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Physical Therapy Treatment for Hip Labral Tears

Hip labral tears occur when the labrum, a band of cartilage surrounding the hip joint, is irritated. Labral injuries can occur after trauma or as a result of repetitive stress to the hip joint. Individuals who participate in sports that require extremes of hip motion or repetitive twisting are more at risk for labral tears. Hockey and soccer players as well as long-distance runners are often affected.

Additionally, hip labral tears are more often encountered in those with bony abnormalities at the hip joint. Femoroacetabular impingement results in pain due to abnormal bony contact between the ball and socket of the hip joint. This bony contact with repetitive stress on the labrum into specific positions about the hip results in a labral tear. Other contributing causes of labral tears include: hip muscle weakness, hip muscle tightness, poor technique with repetitive activities/sports, and degenerative changes over time.

Symptoms of a hip labral tear may include:

  • Pain in the groin or buttocks- especially with squatting, standing, walking, stair climbing
  • Stiffness or pain in the hip
  • Unsteadiness when on your feet
  • Clicking sound or the feeling of “locking” in the hip when moving
  • Weakness in the hip muscles; sensation of “giving way”


Physical Therapy treatments include:

  • Strengthening of the hip, lower limb, and core to correct weakness and imbalances about the hip
  • Stretching to improve hip flexibility and mobility in an effort to decrease irritation in the hip
  • Education regarding avoidance and modifications of repetitive strain and stress on the hip joint
  • Pain management strategies
  • Balance and gait training activities



To assess your progress with physical therapy, we will look at the strength of your hip and surrounding muscles, assess your range of motion and flexibility, and track the progress you make towards your individualized goals. An example of this may include not feeling any pain, catching, or weakness in the hip when walking or performing repetitive movements with sport-specific activity.




McGovern RP, Martin RR, Kivlan BR, Christoforetti JJ. Non-operative management of individuals with non-arthritic hip pain: a literature review. Int J Sport Phys Ther. 2019;14(1): 135–147.


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