A hip labral tear is an injury to a band of cartilage surrounding the hip joint called the labrum. Repetitive activities, including long-distance running and other sports that involve twisting and turning, result in this injury. This article will further help you overcome hip labral tear through the exercises and the dos and don’t’s in doing such.
Hip labral tear symptoms may vary which include:
- Stiff hip
- Increasing pain when sitting or walking or sharp pain when squatting
- Clicking or catching hip movements, as if something is stuck in the hip
- Deep pain in the front of your hip or groin
- Muscle weakness around the hip
Causes Of Hip Labral Tear
There are several causes of a hip labral tear which include:
Injury to or dislocation of the hip joint happens during car accidents or from playing contact sports such as football or hockey.
Some people are born with hip issues that can accelerate wear and tear of the joint and eventually cause a hip labral tear. This can include having a socket that doesn’t fully cover the ball portion of the upper thigh bone (dysplasia) or a shallow socket, which can put more stress on the labrum. Extra bone in the hip, called femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), can also cause labrum pinching, leading to tearing over time.
Sports-related and other physical activities, including long-distance running and the sudden twisting or pivoting motions common in golf or softball, can lead to joint wear and tear that eventually result in a hip labral tear.
Hip Labral Tear Treatments
Healing from hip labral tears will always depend on the severity of the injury and how the body responds to a specific treatment. The following are some treatment options that can be done with hip labral tears and help manage symptoms of a minor tear.
- Anti-inflammatory medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen can reduce inflammation.
- Medication injection: Doctors can inject medications like steroids into the hip joint to ease symptoms.
- Physical therapy: Specific physical therapy exercises to stretch and strengthen the hip muscles may help relieve pain. Physical therapy usually requires a prescription from your doctor.
For persistent symptoms, surgery will be recommended. Arthroscopic surgery is done to repair a hip labral tear. This is a minimally invasive surgery in which the doctor makes small incisions (cuts) in the hip and uses miniature instruments to make the following repairs:
- Refixation or repair (stitching the torn tissue back together)
- Reconstruction (reconfiguring damaged tissue using healthy tissue from elsewhere in your body or from a donor)
- Debridement (removing a small piece of labral tissue)
If FAI is also present, it will be addressed (removed) simultaneously to help prevent the labrum from tearing again. Arthroscopic surgery is often outpatient, meaning the patient goes home the same day.
Physical Therapy For Hip Labral Tear
Physical therapy for hip labral tears involves pain relief, teaching your body to move differently, and muscle strengthening. Here are the following hip labral tear exercises that can be useful:
1. Four-Way Hip with Resistive Band
Firstly, anchor the band onto something sturdy, and make the movements in the opposite direction of the band. Start with hip adduction. Then keep your foot and knee straight for all the movements, slowly pull your leg across your body, and control it coming back. After that, you will turn to face the chair or countertop. Now kick forward for hip flexion. Turn again, and now kick out to the side for hip abduction. Finally, turn again, and kick behind you for hip extension. Try to keep your body upright for all of these. Start with 10, and work your way up to 20-25. If those become easy, you can go to a heavier resistance band.
2. Balance Exercises
Stand on one foot, but hold onto something sturdy. Try to balance for 30 seconds to a minute. When that becomes easy, just use one finger on each side. Then just one finger for balance, and finally, try balancing without holding on.
The best way to squat is to give yourself a target, like a chair or couch. Then spread your feet about shoulder-width apart, and make sure your knee does not go in front of your toes.
You can use a block or a pillow for a target now. Then, put one foot back into a lunge position keeping your toes straight. Try to keep your upper body upright. You can bend your back knee down to hit the target and slowly come back up. Start with 10 and work your way up to 20-25.
Cardio exercises help relieve hip pain caused by a labral tear or another hip injury. Some of these exercises include:
Swimming is a great exercise option when dealing with a hip labral injury. Swimming helps the muscles in your body without the impact and stress on your hips and other joints, which usually comes from many non-aquatic exercises. You can also vary your routine by selecting different strokes, from breaststroke to backstroke, so you don’t get bored.
Walking allows you to work a fair number of muscles throughout the body while producing fairly low levels of impact on the joints. And, of course, it will get your heart rate up. Walking on a level surface is best when walking with a hip labral injury.
Rowing a boat or using a rowing machine offers another great cardiovascular workout option when dealing with hip pain. Rowing causes stress on your joints and, when done properly, can work several muscles that come to play in the hip, like your glutes and your back.
A stationary bike
A stationary bike or cycle is another solid cardio workout that works on quadriceps muscles in a safe, controlled environment. No need to worry about traffic, inclement weather, or difficult terrain. Instead, you can safely work out at your desired speed and resistance level.
Positions to be avoided
On the other hand, some positions should be avoided with hip labral tears to avoid further injuries, such as the hip joint’s impingement and the surrounding musculature’s spasm. These are the positions to be avoided:
- Excessive Hip Extension
- Jumping and
It takes time to recover from a labral tear, which usually can take up to 6 weeks, but most competitive athletes can return to sports after 2 to 6 months. Suspecting a labral tear, one should seek medical attention. But for small tears, conservative treatments would be enough to manage them. On the other hand, larger tears may need surgery. And diagnosing a torn labrum can be difficult because the symptoms are similar to many hip injuries. Imaging tests, such as MRI and MRA, should be done to help identify the injury.