What is a Hip Labral Tear?
A hip labral tear refers to the damage sustained to the labrum, a band of cartilage encircling the hip joint. This typically arises from repetitive movements, such as engaging in activities like long-distance running and sports involving repetitive twisting and turning such as hockey soccer and football. Other causes may include general wear and tear of the hip or trauma such as a car accident. The symptoms of a hip labral tear can vary in its intensity and presentation.
The rehabilitation process for this injury typically spans several months when you’re not resorting to surgery. However, the duration of rehabilitation can vary depending on the individual’s goals. More advanced objectives, such as a return to sports, may require a longer timeframe.
Physical therapy for a labrum tear in the hip is a conservative treatment that can alleviate the irritation in the hip and treat the symptoms associated with a labral tear. Typical symptoms include:
Heightened pain while sitting or walking that worsens with prolonged activity. Hip movements that produce clicking or catching sensations, as if something is trapped within the joint
Experiencing deep pain in the front of the hip or groin area
Weakness in the muscles surrounding the hip and stiffness in the hip
The Benefits of Pursuing Labral Tear Hip Physiotherapy Treatment
Hip labral pain, as well as other forms of hip discomfort, can often be effectively managed through physical therapy interventions for labrum tears in the hip. While surgical intervention may be necessary in some cases, seeking physical therapy can be a viable option. Physical therapy will not treat the underlying osteoarthritis but seeks to alleviate discomfort. Physical therapy for hip labral tears primarily focuses on alleviating pain, retraining movement patterns, and strengthening the surrounding muscles.
After analysing pain patterns and identifying physical limitations, a physical therapist can help with the restoration of functional abilities through a range of strengthening and mobility exercises. Typical physical therapy interventions encompass various treatment strategies, including:
Education – Your physical therapist will collaborate with you to identify and modify any external factors that may contribute to your pain, such as footwear and the type or quantity of exercises performed.
Pain management – To alleviate symptoms, apply ice to the affected area and reduce or eliminate activities that trigger specific movements that aggravate your hip joint, starting with a rest period and gradually reintroducing activities as appropriate.
Muscle Strengthening – Weaknesses or imbalances in muscles can both cause and result from hip pain. Your physical therapist will design a safe, individualised, progressive resistance program that targets the core and lower extremities, based on your specific conditions. This may include core stabilisation exercises and hip strengthening exercises.
While exercises primarily target the trunk and hips, they may also involve the knee and ankle if these areas affect proper hip function. The primary objective is to alleviate pain and enhance your ability to engage in daily activities comfortably. If you’ve had a labral tear of the hip, physiotherapy treatment also helps to speed up recovery and reduce rehabilitation time following hip replacement surgery. You and your physical therapist will devise a personalised plan tailored to your specific goals. The hip replacement exercises can be done long term so that you always have specific exercises for your hips.
If you’re seeking a physical therapy program tailored to your needs, get in touch with Dr David Slattery to explore your available options and enhance your quality of life.