The current authors examined the hypothesis that labral lesions contribute to early degenerative hip disease. Between 1993 and 1999, 436 consecutive hip arthroscopies were done by the senior author. In addition, 54 acetabula were harvested from human adult cadavers. Two hundred forty-one of the 436 (55.3%) patients who had arthroscopies had a 261 labral tears, all located at the articular, not capsular margin of the labrum. Stereomicroscopic examination of the 54 acetabula from cadavers revealed 52 labral lesions. Overall, there was no significant difference between the arthroscopic and cadaveric populations in terms of the incidence of labral tears. (Overall, 73% of patients with fraying or a tear of the labrum had chondral change. Arthroscopic and anatomic observations support the concept that labral disruption and degenerative joint disease are frequently part of a continuum of joint disease.