Hip Labral Tear: Road to Recovery Without Surgery


The hip joint consists of a ball-socket joint, with the acetabulum serving as the shallow socket. Supporting the hip is the labrum, a ring composed of fibrocartilage and connective tissue that attaches to the acetabulum. The labrum plays a crucial role in providing stability to the hip joint, when a hip labral tear occurs it is typically caused by direct trauma or activities that involve repetitive movements. Symptoms of a hip labral tear may not always be present, but some people may experience a sensation of joint locking, clicking or catching, hip pain, or stiffness in the hip joint. This condition may also result in a sense of instability or weakness in the area affected.

Conservative Treatments that Assist with Hip Labral Tear Recovery Without Surgery

The severity of labral tears can differ and may also be present in patients who do not experience hip pain. If you have a labral tear but do not experience pain or limited range of motion, then treatment may not be required. However, if you are experiencing pain and a restricted range of motion, it is appropriate to undergo an evaluation. If it is determined that you have a minor tear or prefer not to undergo arthroscopic surgery, which is typically recommended for a hip labral tear, you will be advised on a course of conservative treatments. An orthopaedic hip specialist can recommend straightforward conservative treatments to alleviate pain and aid patients in resuming their regular activities.

This can include:

Pain management: Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, can be effective in managing pain enabling patients to engage in daily activities with greater comfort. In cases of severe or debilitating pain, doctors may prescribe stronger medications.

Corticosteroid injections: These potent anti-inflammatory injections can provide significant pain relief when over-the-counter medication is not sufficient. However, they are not recommended for long-term use as they can contribute to soft tissue degeneration and further damage over time.

Physical therapy: Physical therapy is a popular non-invasive treatment option for hip pain, with many patients experiencing positive outcomes. It assists with the rehabilitation and strengthening of hip muscles. While physical therapy does not heal the labral tear, it strengthens the surrounding muscles and tissue.

Proper rest: Taking time off sports such as running and cycling to give the joint a break, and reducing movement will prevent aggravation of the injury. Hip labral tear recovery time without surgery depends on the individual and returning to sports can take up to 6 months and should be reintroduced gradually.

The majority of individuals with hip labral tears can manage their condition without surgery. However, in cases where conservative treatments do not provide sufficient relief minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery may be necessary. During this procedure, your orthopaedic surgeon in Melbourne will create small incisions in the skin and utilise micro-instruments to access the affected area. The damaged cartilage will be repaired and reattached to the bone to restore joint stability.

If you’re seeking guidance concerning hip labral tear recovery without surgery contact Dr David Slattery to discuss your options.