We have reviewed a consecutive series of six professional footballers who presented with intractable hip pain which was attributed at arthroscopy, to an anterior acetabular labral tear with adjacent chondral damage. The location and type of labral tear were identical for each patient. There was no evidence of acetabular dysplasia. A variable area of chondral damage was associated with the labral tear.
All unstable tissue was resected. Five returned to professional football at the highest level. Acetabular labral pathology should be included in the differential diagnosis of footballers with hip or groin pain. Arthroscopy of the hip is an appropriate method of diagnosis and treatment and minimises the length of rehabilitation required.