The labrum is a layer of fibrous cartilage that lines the rim of the socket in which the ball of the femur sits. This cartilage provides cushioning for the joint and keeps the femur in place. A tear in the labrum can result either from injury or from degeneration due to impingement or other joint conditions.
In some cases, labral tears are not significant enough to cause symptoms and therefore don't require surgical treatment. But occasionally they can cause symptoms such as locking or "catching" in the joint and pain in the hip or groin area.
Since labral tears are often difficult to detect during a physical examination, your doctor may use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with a dye injection to confirm the diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, arthroscopic hip surgery may be recommended.