Whether young or old, hip labral tears are a problem everyone who sits for long hours needs to take seriously. If you are constantly suffering from a stabbing pain in your lower back and groin area, a right or left hip labral tear may be the culprit. The key to knowing where to start with your torn labrum is to arm yourself with the knowledge to find the right treatment. This guide will help you get started on the right foot.
The labrum of the hip is a crescent-shaped cartilage structure, which provides stability and acts as a cushion to the joint. In addition, it plays the primary role in joint lubrication and pressure distribution. Understanding the functional importance of hip labrum will help you evaluate and manage carefully your hip acetabular labral tear injury.
Location of Hip Labral Tear Pain
Whether it’s a big or small labral tear in the hip, this type of injury is classified according to its location and morphology. Labral tears in both hips are categorized as anterior, posterior, and lateral/superior.
Anterior Labral Tear Hip
It is believed that the prevalence of an anterior labral tear in hip is associated with mechanically weaker tissue, poor vascular supply, and too much stress than the other areas of the labrum.
Posterior Labral Tear Hip
Posterior labral tear in hip is located deep in the buttock region. The labrum, when it comes to the posterior aspect, is claimed to be dimensionally square but has a round distal surface.
Superior Labral Tear Hip
A degenerative labral tear in the hips occurs when a part of the labrum is pulled away or separated from the socket. The superior/lateral portions are innervated and have nerve sensory end organs as well as free nerve endings.
Hip Labral Tear Causes
What causes a labral tear in the hip? With recent studies, medical researchers have found that the abnormal structure and shape of the labrum, femoral head, and acetabulum may lead to the condition.
In many cases, a partial hip labral tear is caused by a traumatic injury such as bad falls, collisions, motor accidents, and sudden twisting movements. It can also occur as a result of degenerative changes, bony abnormalities (hip impingement), internal snapping hip, or extreme sports activities that require frequent hyperextension or external rotations.
The risk factors for the condition include:
Pelvis/lumbar spine stiffness
Hip Labral Tear Symptoms
What does a hip labral tear feel like? It is important to be aware of hip labral tear symptoms and signs to prevent the injury from getting worse. Some patients do not feel any pain down the leg, but most will suffer from aches or discomfort deep in the buttock region, over the lateral hip, or in the groin. You may also experience:
Weakness in the muscles
Feeling of instability
Painful clicking or popping sensation
Locking of the joint after prolonged sitting
Decreased athletic performance
Hip labral tear symptoms (lower back pain and restricted mobility) may happen suddenly after a serious trauma or impact injury. However, it can also come on gradually if the hip joint progressively degenerates.
Hip Labral Tear Diagnosis
A labral tear of the hip often goes unnoticed because of the overlap of symptoms with hip bursitis, hip flexor tendonitis, and other hip injuries. This is the reason why it is necessary to be familiar with the hip labral tear pain pattern. Work closely with your doctor and a specialist for accurate hip labral tear diagnosis.
Your medical history and lists of symptoms are the first tools that the doctor will use to diagnose the problem. Typically, with hip labral tear, pain at night means damage to the joint. During the physical examination, your doctor will likely observe the way you get up, stand, and walk to assess your mobility. To evaluate the pain and check your hip’s range of motion, your legs will be moved in different positions.
Hip Labral Tear Test
If diagnosis is still in question, your doctor will perform a couple of imaging tests to find out the exact cause of your pain. Here are some of them:
Labral Tear Hip X-ray
Some patients experience referred pain from hip labral tear. The discomfort caused by a torn labrum can be hard to pinpoint. An X-ray may be required if the doctor suspects that there is a fracture or structural abnormality within the hip joint.
MRI Arthrogram Hip Labral Tear
An MRI arthrogram is helpful if the hip labral tear diagnosis remains unclear. Clear, detailed images of your hip’s soft tissues (e.g., muscles, tendons, cartilage, labrum) are needed to rule out the condition. In some cases, a doctor will suggest injecting a contrast material into the joint space to verify a hip labral tear.
Hip Labral Tear Treatment
If you have been diagnosed with a torn labrum, a specialist will work with you to create a safe and effective treatment plan to achieve your particular goals. Your age, hip joint health, specific characteristics of the tear, and the severity of your symptoms will be considered. Listed below are the reliable labral tear hip treatment options available.
Hip Brace for Labral Tear
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An adjustable groin wrap is recommended, especially if you are at high risk for re-injury. The goal of brace treatment is to support the tendons and muscles, provide relief from aches and stiffness, and increase the blood circulation to gradually improve mobility.
The use of a stretch strap is also an important part of the rehab process. Your doctor and physical therapist will advise you on how to improve your posture, restore neuromuscular control, and strengthen the muscles. All of these things will help improve the function of your hips, especially with the assistance of a stretch strap.
Hip Labral Tear Exercises
Once your strength, pain, and range of motion improve, you can start working out. To minimize the pressure on your hip, you must know how to teach your body controlled, safe movements. Be sure to seek advice from a physical therapist to know what hip labral tear exercises to avoid.
Standing Hip Adduction
Step 1: Secure a stretch band around the leg of a table or chair, then attach the other end on your right ankle.
Step 2: With your feet shoulder-width apart, slowly bring your right leg in front of you and across your body.
Step 3: Hold the position for 3 to 5 seconds, then return to the starting position.
Step 4: Perform 10 repetitions on each leg. If those become easy, try to work your way up to 15 to 20.
Balance Exercise with a Chair
Step 1: Start off by standing on one foot, but hold onto a chair for balance. Make sure your posture is straight.
Step 2: Hold on with both hands and try to balance for at least 30 seconds. Once it becomes easy, hold on with just one hand and balance for 1 minute. Eventually, you will have the strength to balance without holding onto a chair.
Step 3: Do this exercise several times a day.
Step 1: Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands in front of you.
Step 2: Keeping your back straight, slowly lower your body and imagine you are sitting on a chair.
Step 3: Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds, then return to the starting position.
Step 4: Perform 10 repetitions and build up to three sets.
Immediate Hip Labral Tear Pain Management
Start treating the torn labral tissue right away, as early treatment may help prevent severe arthritic changes. Immediate hip labral tear pain relief strategies include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, hot or cold therapy, and deep tissue massage for muscle tightness.
Labral Tear Hip Surgery
Some individuals recover quickly with conservative treatments, while others need hip replacement for labral tear. Surgeons commonly use arthroscopy to fix a torn labrum. During this procedure, the specialists reattach each layer of tissue and sew it back together.
When hip labral tear repair is not possible, debridement may be necessary. The procedure consists of cleaning out the fragments from the joint and getting rid of the torn tissue. As with any surgical procedure, nerve damage can be a short-term side effect.
Hip Labral Tear Recovery
Will a hip labral tear heal on its own? Unfortunately, a torn labrum in the hip doesn’t have the ability to heal on its own once the tissue is damaged. A combination of treatment methods is needed to fully treat the injury.
Complete hip labral tear recovery without surgery usually takes three to six months. When it comes to surgical interventions to treat labral tear hip, recovery time may take four to six months. However, you can only go back to strenuous activities six months after surgery.
You may need to finish several months of comprehensive hip labral tear physical therapy to regain strength and flexibility in the joint.
Care and Prevention of a Hip Labral Tear
Figuring out how to properly treat and prevent a hip labral tear means addressing the specifics of your condition. Follow-up care is also important, so you can return to your desired activities quickly. Determine and change any external factors that will cause re-injury, such as workout selection or the duration of strenuous activities you complete. The best way to prevent the injury from recurring is to maintain appropriate lower-extremity muscular strength and mobility.
Jessica Hegg is the content manager at ViveHealth.com. Avid gym-rat and nutrition enthusiast, she’s interested in all things related to staying active and living healthy lifestyle. Through her writing she works to share valuable information aimed at overcoming obstacles and improving the quality of life for others.
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