Acetabular labral (hip) tears in teens 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 Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program 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.

What is an acetabular labral tear?

An acetabular labral tear is a tear in the seal (labrum) that normally cushions the hip joint and provides joint stability and support.

The labrum lines the rim of the hip socket (acetabulum). It acts as a cushion to offer extra support to the hip, reduce friction in the joint and distribute force evenly across the articular surface (cartilage).

What causes an acetabular labral tear?

An acetabular labral tear is often a wear-and-tear injury caused by sports and activities that involve hip rotation. Labral tears are often associated with underlying structural problems of the hip. They also can occur with repetitive hip over-rotation and hyper-flexion in normal hips.

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. 

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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