Acetabular labral (hip) tears in Children and Young Adults

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If you or your teen has an acetabular labral tear, you may have many concerns and questions. It may comfort you to know that caregivers at Boston Children's Hospital offer a wealth of experience treating labral tears. We’re here to answer your questions and to support you and your family every step of the way.

About acetabular labral tears

Acetabular labral tears (also called labral tears) can occur with wear and tear on the hip or as the result of an injury.

A labral tear usually causes sharp pain in the front of the hip, sometimes shooting down the thigh. A catching or giving sensation in the hip may occur. Some patients do not experience any pain.

What is the labrum?

The labrum lines the rim of the hip socket (acetabulum). It acts as a cushion that:

  • provides hip joint stability
  • offers extra support to the hip
  • reduces friction in the hip joint
  • distributes force evenly across the articular surface (cartilage)

Does Boston Children’s Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program treat teens and adults?

Our hip team treats patients of all ages. Many teens and young adults with hip problems may need diagnostic and surgical techniques that differ from what is indicated for older adults. Our surgeons are recognized across the globe as pioneers in hip arthroscopy for teens and young adults, and our clinicians and researchers are dedicated to finding better ways to care for adolescents and young adults with hip problems.  

Boston Children’s Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program delivers a special degree of effectiveness—not just because of our long tradition of excellence in pediatric hip care, but also because we follow our patients through adulthood.

This gives us a unique expertise: we can track how the hip works in each age group, how the problems evolve, and how the hip’s function changes over time in adult patients who’ve had treatment in childhood. 

Boston Children’s is known throughout the world for our expertise and excellence in orthopedic care.  We’re happy to share that U.S. News & World Report has recognized the great work we do for and with our families and named Boston Children’s the #1 children’s hospital in orthopedics.

Acetabular labral tears: Reviewed by Yi-Meng Yen, MD, PhD
© Boston Children's Hospital, 2014

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