SLAP tear of hip overview

The hip or acetabular labrum is a ridge of cartilage that runs around the rim of your hip joint socket. Its purpose is to make the hip socket deeper and more stable. The labrum can be torn from its attachment and cause pain, clicking or catching.


Cartilage damage can become a serious injury since it does not heal easily. Hip labral tears can lead to joint instability and further orthopedic issues in the future


The labrum can tear for many reasons. Some people tear their labrum from falls or sporting injuries when your hip is forced into extreme positions. It can also be damaged by repetitive trauma in sports that require regular rotation of the hip e.g. golf, football, hockey, and ballet


You can also tear a hip labrum with a sudden injury. Hip dislocations are usually accompanied by labral tears of the hip.




  • Stiffness in your hip
  • Pain in the front of your hip or groin region
  • Pain that may radiate down through the buttocks
  • Pain gets worse with standing, walking or other activity
  • Locking or catching in your hip joint as you move
  • Feeling of instability or weakness on that side of your body

Hip labral tear may predispose you to develop osteoarthritis in that joint in the future. Hip labral tears left untreated are a chronic problem. They may alter your gait, which can lead to other knee, back, and neck issues. It will also make the joint more unstable which will accelerate the onset of osteoarthritis.


Phase I – Reduce Pain & Protect Your Labrum

Rest the hip and avoid aggravating activities.  

Avoid sitting:

  • with knees lower than your hips.
  • with legs crossed or sitting on you legs so that the hip is rotated.
  • on the edge of the seat and contracting the muscles that flex your hips.

You should also avoid extending your hip excessively.


Phase II – Restore Flexibility & Strength

  • Restore any limited joint range-of-motion.
  • Improve your soft tissue muscle length and resting tension.
  • Activate your deep stability muscles.
  • Progressively strengthen your intermediate and superficial muscles.
  • Enhance your proprioception and joint position sense.

Phase III – Return to Activity or Sport

  • Aim to improve your functional activities of daily living
  • Graduate through a return to sport program that is specific to your needs.
  • Some labral tears can be treated conservatively but some will need hip surgery.



Try to avoid loading your hip with your full body weight when your legs are in positions at the extreme ends of your hip’s normal range of motion.

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