Hip Labral Tear Risk Factors and Causes

Almost anyone can get a hip labral tear, but certain people are at higher risk. Risk factors include:

  • Sex. Research suggests hip labral tears are more common in women.1
  • Hip impingement (femoroacetabular impingement). Hip impingement occurs when the joint’s ball and/or socket grow excess bone, causing there to be abnormal contact between the two. People who have hip impingement experience pain and a decrease in range of motion in the hip.

See Pain Due to Hip Impingement (Femoroacetabular Impingement)

  • Hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition in which the hip socket is shallow and cannot fully support the rounded femoral head. Over time, hip instability and increased stress on the joint can contribute to a labral tear.
  • Capsular laxity. The hip’s main source of stability is a fibrous joint capsule made up of the hip joint’s ligaments. These ligaments attach the hip’s ball and socket together and surround the joint. Laxity, or looseness, can develop when the hip is frequently over rotated. This can occur when participating in sports like golf, gymnastics, dance, baseball, and hockey.
  • Micro-traumas to the hip. Repetitive micro-traumas—small, unnoticeable injuries that build up over time—can occur when participating in sports such as golf, ballet and soccer and cause labral tearing.2
  • Trauma. Labral tears can be the result of a car accident, slipping, or falling, as well as an acute injury from contact sports, such as hockey or football.3

Labral tears with hip pain have been diagnosed in people ages 8 to 75.4 Since labral tears are observed in such a large age range, researchers have yet to settle on the role age plays in causing the injury. Most researchers believe that age influences recovery and long-term outcomes after arthroscopic surgery.

See Hip Labrum Repair Surgery: Issues to Consider


  • 1.Hunt D, Clohisy J, Prather H. Acetabular tears of the hip in women. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2007;18(3):497–520.
  • 2.McCarthy JC, Noble PC, Schuck MR, et al. The Otto E Aufranc Award the role of labral lesions to development of early degenerative hip disease. Clin Orthop. 2001;393:25–37.
  • 3.Narvani AA, Tsiridis E, Tai CC, Thomas P. Acetabular labrum and its tears. Br J Sports Med. 2003;37(3):207-11.
  • 4.Groh MM, Herrera J. A comprehensive review of hip labral tears. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2009;2(2):105-17.
  • 5.Redmond JM, Gupta A, Cregar WM, Hammarstedt JE, Gui C, Domb BG. Arthroscopic Treatment of Labral Tears in Patients Aged 60 Years or Older. Arthroscopy. 2015;31(10):1921-7.