How to Treat a Hip Labral Tear

How to Treat a Hip Labral Tear

An inflamed or torn hip labrum will surely slow you down. When you have a labral tear, you'll likely feel pain when doing the following things: bending, rotating your hip, or walking. You may even feel a clicking sensation in your hip joint. It helps to take preventive measures against ACL tears by performing strengthening exercises for knee stability. The procedures used to treat a torn or weakened hip labrum vary from patient to patient based on how much damage was caused by the injury and other conditions affecting the hip labrum.

Here are the best ways to reduce pain from hip labral tears and when you should consider surgery.

Treatment for Minor Tears

Your labrum is what protects the femoral head and the acetabulum in the hip's ball-and-socket joint. There are several treatment options for a labrum tear, ranging from rest, medication, and ice to surgery. Depending on the severity of your injury and treatment options available to you, nonsurgical alternatives or surgery may be recommended.

Rest from Activity

When you have a hip labral tear, it's time to stop the sports, slow down at work and take a rest. Avoid movements and activities that cause hip pain. Resting will give your body time to recover and let swelling in your hip joint go down. If stopping specific actions is a challenge or if you have a hard time doing certain things, talk it over with a good friend or family member who can step in and help out while you get better.

Hot & Cold Application

A hip labral tear is a nightmare and requires immediate treatment. Luckily, there are many ways to relieve pain and swelling in this section of the hip joint that has been damaged by sports injuries or simply lousy genetics. Applying cold to an injured area may not be fun, but it works wonders because it numbs the pain and reduces inflammation and edema. Cold therapy sack helps soothe the discomfort, providing you with some measurable relief during this difficult time. Additionally, cold prevents any further injury that could have occurred if you had attempted exercise prematurely - so give yourself a break!

Heat work in a way that is very different from ice, but they complement one another. A herbal heating pad can bring beneficial blood flow to the injured area, which delivers oxygen and nutrients at an increased rate, while cold constricts the blood vessels and brings down inflammation that is bound to hamper your healing efforts. The downside is that heat can cause more swelling, so it's best not to use heat on a fresh injury because that could lead to excess bruising and swelling.


Once you regain the mobility of your hip, decrease the pain, and are cleared by your physical therapist or doctor, it could be time to start exercising once again. Before you attempt any form of exercise for your hip joint, ask for a referral from your medical professional. Exercise will help strengthen muscle fibers and support the area's stability while increasing blood flow throughout. Stop exercising when you are experiencing pain in your hip.

Physical Therapy

Several hip abnormalities can cause a hip labral tear, including Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), trauma, and arthritis. A therapist will be able to guide you through the recovery process for any of these three causes of damage. First, a physical therapist will develop a treatment plan focusing on strengthening muscle groups around your hip area to improve stability and how to avoid movements that could result in further injury and pain. You're also going to want to work with a physical therapist after surgery if you have one performed. They'll help show you how to regain strength and increase flexibility throughout your entire range of motion after surgery.

Compression & Support

Another non-invasive treatment option is to use some external support and protection. Compression wraps and braces affect the hip, muscles, and tendons near the groin area and may provide you with some pain relief while preventing further injury. Look for a fully adjustable wrap or brace that fits perfectly, so it doesn't slip on impact or when you're moving around too much.


A torn labrum is an injury that ranges from being none to intense pain. If you have some small amount of pain, then taking an anti-inflammatory medication can take the edge off the pain. Medications like ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These medications don't require a prescription and are generally well-tolerated. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking a new medicine because it could interact with other medications and cause unintended side effects.

More Severe Labrum Tears

Unfortunately, many people have a severe labrum tear that requires medical intervention. The silver lining is those very successful procedures are available to correct the tear. You can once again enjoy all of your favorite activities with your arm hanging loosely at your side rather than internally screaming every time something touches it at the slightest incline.

Injections for Pain

If the conservative treatment does not work, your doctor may suggest two types of injections. One is an intra-articular injection that goes into the hip joint. This injection will numb or reduce your pain. If this doesn't do enough, your doctor might inject a steroid that helps to reduce the swelling directly into your hip joint. Both of these injections won't cure you entirely but will soothe many symptoms you are experiencing.

Arthroscopic Surgery

Surgery to fix a hip labral tear is something that some people seek. The surgery is done for more severe cases of tearing, and it involves making incisions into the hip using both an arthroscope and another tool used to clean out bone spurs called a burr. Recovery from this procedure takes at least 4-6 weeks to heal enough so that you can bear weight without distress. So make sure you follow your orthopedic surgeon's orders about what you can do during the recovery period to avoid further pain or chronic issues once you begin to return to daily activities!

The Right Recovery Plan

If you are dealing with a hip labral tear at home, the first step is to lay it off completely. Apply ice-cold packs twice daily, take medications as prescribed by your doctor, and get plenty of rest. Once the pain has subsided and you have received medical clearance, start exercising again, then begin the process of re-strengthening your hip muscles. It will typically include strengthening and stretching exercises specific to the injured area 4 times per week. If these home treatments do not provide relief or if the tear is severe, then surgery may be recommended by a healthcare provider. Make sure you follow your doctor's advice on what activities are safe after hip labral tear surgery!

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