Hip Labral Tear | Anatomy and Symptoms
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The hip labrum is a cartilage ring around the socket of the hip joint. Its function is to help the ball and socket of the hip joint to stay connected and stable. A tear to this cartilage can be relatively minor, and symptoms may be able to be managed with activity modification and physical therapy. In moderate and severe cases, injections and/or surgery may be necessary. You can read more about Hip Labral Tear: Anatomy and Symptoms in our related article. In this article, we will discuss the management and treatment of this condition.
Physical therapy treatments can include joint mobility and deep tissue massage, which can improve the range of movement of the hip joint and reduce pain. However, the most important part of physical therapy is the rehabilitation programme. Physical therapy for hip labral tears can be effective whether surgery is needed or not. If symptoms are mild in terms of pain, joint stiffness and activity limitations, then physical therapy is the best course of action to try initially. The exercise programme should be prescribed to you following a thorough assessment of your symptoms, mobility and flexibility, strength and areas of weakness. Exercise can help to improve hip strength and stability and often significantly reduces pain as well. You can read more about Hip Labral Tear Exercises in our article on this topic.
If surgery is indicated, physical therapy is essential for your recovery and guiding your gradual return to activities and sports. Often physical therapy is advised pre-surgery as well, to ensure you are as strong and flexible as possible before surgery. This has been shown to improve post-surgery outcomes.
Hip labral tear recovery time without surgery is typically about 8-12 weeks. The time will depend on the location and severity of the tear as well as your health, strength and flexibility. Additional factors such as adherence to advice and rehab exercises, quantity and quality of sleep, nourishment and hydration, and stress levels can also have an impact on recovery time.
Read about Hip Labral Tear Recovery with Surgery in our related article.
If physical therapy does not provide adequate pain relief or the exercises are too painful to perform, then injections may be recommended. These come in several forms. The two most common injections used for hip labral tears are:
These injections provide pain relief by reducing inflammation. Corticosteroid injections may be advised if physical therapy is restricted due to pain and the tear is assessed as not requiring surgical repair. A window of pain relief can provide the individual with the opportunity to carry out their rehabilitation that will provide longer-term pain relief.
These injections can aid the healing process. PRP injections may be suggested for smaller tears where there may be a capacity for healing, and PRP can enhance this. PRP is made from the individual’s blood, which is spun in a centrifuge at high speed to separate the components of the blood. The components that aid healing are taken and injected at the site of injury.
There are some hip positions that put more stress on the joint. If you have a painful labral tear of your hip, or are recovering from surgery, you may be advised to avoid any or combinations of these positions:
– Hip Flexion. Flexion of the hip is the bending of your hip joint to bring your knee to your chest.
– Hip Adduction. Adduction of the hip is moving your leg inwards and crossing your leg over your midline.
– Hip Internal Rotation. Internal rotation of the hip is the inward movement of your knee and the outward movement of your foot and ankle.
Activities to avoid are based on the positions mentioned above, as well as relating to weight bearing and impact. For example, you may be advised to limit how much walking you do or have a period of reduced weight-bearing using crutches. Exercises that cause higher impact through the hip joint, including such as running and jumping, may need to be completely stopped to help the hip labral tear recover, whether you have had surgery or not. Some sports are particularly challenging on the hip. These include high speed, sudden changes of direction, impact and rotation of the hip joint, such as in dance, gymnastics, squash, tennis, soccer, and golf.
A labral tear hip brace can work in a similar way to tape but may offer more structural support as well. Due to the location of the hip, however, the brace needs to go around the pelvis, and these braces tend to be quite cumbersome. For many individuals, especially more active and high-level athletes, these are not a good option. But for others, and in the initial period following surgery, it may be of some help to provide comfort and support around the joint. This help may be both psychological as well as physical. This is a good example of a hip brace. It is an adjustable strap to ensure a good fit.
James McCormack is a Physical Therapist who specialises in lower limb injuries. www.james-mccormack.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.Buy Now
Part of the recovery process is managing pain, and while tape may not be a long-term solution, it is a low-risk and low-cost option to offer pain relief. Using KT tape around the hip joint can affect how our skin feels when we move the joint, which in turn affects our proprioception. Proprioception is the awareness and control of our joint position. This can be impaired after surgery or when we are in pain. Changing proprioception can change muscle tone and activation and, therefore, can provide improvement in movement quality and pain. KT tape and other tapes can be good options for short-term help, such as managing an athlete through competition or when an individual is initially returning to sport.
This is not medical advice. We recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack. He offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments.