How to Treat a Hip Labral Tear

How to Treat a Hip Labral Tear

A hip labral tear is a fairly common injury that affects the ring of cartilage surrounding the hip socket, known as the labrum. The labrum plays a crucial role in maintaining the stability of the hip joint by keeping the ball of the thighbone (femur) in the socket.

When the labrum is damaged, it can cause pain, discomfort, and instability in the hip joint, making it difficult to perform everyday activities. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available for hip labral tears, including physical therapy, medication, and in some cases, surgery.

Causes of hip labral tears

There are many causes of hip labral tears, including:

  • Trauma: A sudden twisting or forceful hip movement can tear the labrum. This is most common in sports that involve pivoting or twisting, such as football, soccer, and basketball.
  • Degenerative changes: The labrum can also tear over time due to wear and tear. This is more common in older people or those with previous hip injuries.
  • Structural abnormalities: Some people are born with hip abnormalities that make them more likely to develop a labral tear.
  • Repetitive use: The labrum can also tear due to repetitive use, such as in runners or dancers.

Symptoms of a hip labral tear

The symptoms of a hip labral tear may differ in intensity depending on how severe the tear is. A mild tear may only cause slight discomfort or pain, while a more severe tear can result in severe pain, swelling, and clicking or locking in the hip joint. Additional symptoms of a hip labral tear could include:

  • Difficulty walking or running
  • Weakness in the hip
  • A popping or snapping sensation in the hip
  • Pain in the groin or buttock

How to Treat a Hip Labral Tear

Hip pain characterized by soreness when crouching and walking or moving, tight hamstrings, joint stiffness, and limited range of motion are signs of a hip labral tear. Delaying treatment will cause the condition to get worse. You might suffer from a hip labral tear when you feel your hip is clicking occasionally.

Symptoms indicate that surgery is likely necessary to reduce the accumulated tension in the tissue around the iliopsoas tendons where they attach to the pelvis (Gunnemark et al., 2014). Here's some information on treating this condition and what symptoms warrant immediate surgery.

Treatment for Minor Tears

Your labrum is what protects the hip joint. It's a ring around your hip socket, like the gasket on the kitchen sink. Treating a minor tear can start conservatively with rest, pain meds, or cold packs. While non-surgical treatment may not fully heal the labrum, it's the place to start in helping get an injured athlete back in action quickly!

Hot & Cold Application

Dealing with a hip labral tear can be quite challenging! However, heat and cold therapy can provide significant relief and make day-to-day activities more manageable. Cold therapy, which involves using a cold therapy pack or other cold source, can help reduce swelling and numb pain. It works by interrupting the pain signals and constraining the blood vessels in the affected area, discouraging fluid build-up and reducing swelling.

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    SACKSY THYME Cold Therapy Pack for Lower Leg Pain Pain:

    The SACKSY THYME Cold Therapy Pack delivers long-lasting cold therapy to the hip joint with gel beads that remain flexible and comfortable when frozen. The pack can be easily molded to provide targeted cold therapy to the affected area.

    Heat and Cold are alike in that they serve complementary roles to one another in healing injuries. Heat therapy with the Everywhere Versatile herbal heating pad brings circulation to an injury site. It can be helpful because it brings more oxygen and nutrients where they're needed most following injury.

    However, heat may result in further swelling, so if you don't want to risk developing even more problems at the injured site, steer clear of heat until the first 24 hours post-injury have passed.

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      SACKSY THYME Microwaveable heating pad for Hip labral Tear:

      The SACKSY THYME Microwaveable heating pad is ideal for hip labral tear sufferers. It provides warmth and comfort to the hip joint, reducing inflammation and pain. Just heat it in the microwave and apply it to the affected area.


      Similarly, although heat and Cold aren't as adequate immediately after an injury, Cold provides an excellent complement to heat when blood is no longer rushing to the injured site as quickly – this enables increased healing capabilities by minimizing swelling.

      Rest from Activity

      You should put down those crutches and come inside when you have a hip labral tear. Step away from that workbench or the computer because your hip could be in grave danger if you don't.

      Do not listen to the voices of reason when they tell you that it's going to take a while before you heal up because we're looking at some serious problems here - and what's more, if you don't choose rest over work, then that'll only make your recovery time longer.


      Once you have regained the range of motion in your hip and reduced the pain, it is safe to resume exercising. However, it is important to consult with your physical therapist or doctor before returning to your regular routine, as different types of exercises are recommended for different cases.

      Exercise aims to balance your muscle strength and support your hip joint while increasing blood flow to the area. It is advisable not to push yourself too hard during your first few exercises, as your body needs time to rest. If you experience any pain during your workout, stop the activity immediately.

      Physical Therapy

      There are three leading causes of hip labral tears: FAI, trauma, and osteoarthritis. A therapist can help guide you in the right direction of treatment because they will develop a method focused on strengthening specific muscle groups, increasing hip stability, and learning which movements to avoid.

      Recovery from any cause takes time, so if surgery is required for a hip labral tear, it's best to employ the services of a physical therapist during rehab as well to ensure strength is regained as quickly and safely as possible after surgery.

      Compression & Support

      Another option for non-invasive treatments to consider when relieving hip pain from this injury is to utilize compression and support with an elastic sports wrap or brace.

      It will help you keep things supported where they need to be and get some relief from any discomfort that might be bugging you. You will also want to go for one fully adjustable to account for any swelling that may occur after your injury.


      If you are experiencing any pain from a torn labrum injury, taking over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or naproxen can help alleviate the discomfort.

      These nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs do not require a prescription, but it's always best to consult your doctor or pharmacist to avoid unintended side effects. Not all medications are safe for everyone or every situation, so seeking professional advice is important.

      More Severe Labrum Tears

      Unfortunately, many people have severe labrum tears that require medical intervention to treat and rehabilitate. The silver lining is that very successful procedures are available to treat the tear, so you can return to doing all the activities you love!

      Injections for Pain

      If you're experiencing pain in your hip joint, your doctor may recommend an intra-articular injection of local anesthetic to alleviate discomfort. They may also suggest a steroid injection to reduce joint swelling in more severe cases.

      However, it's important to note that these injections won't fully heal a labrum tear. With patience, you'll notice the positive impact of these treatments, and your symptoms will gradually improve.

      Arthroscopic Surgery

      To properly repair a hip labral tear, surgery is the only option. There are various types of surgical procedures available, which the extent of the tear will determine.

      Fortunately, most surgeries are performed arthroscopically, which involves making small incisions for the orthopedic surgeon to view your hip during the procedure. The recovery period will vary depending on the extent of the damage to your labrum, your overall health, and your age.

      Typically, you will have weight-bearing restrictions during the first 4 to 6 weeks post-surgery, which will gradually decrease. It is essential to follow your doctor's instructions throughout the recovery process.

      Preventing Hip labral tear

      Here are some tips to prevent a hip labral tear:

      • Warm up before exercising. A good warm-up helps to prepare your hips for activity and reduces the risk of injury.
      • Stretch regularly. Stretching helps to keep your hips flexible and strong, which can help to prevent injuries.
      • Please don't overdo it. When starting a new exercise program, it's important to start slowly and gradually increasing your workouts' intensity and duration. This will help to give your hips time to adapt and reduce the risk of injury.
      • Wear proper footwear. Wearing proper footwear can help to protect your feet and ankles from injury. Make sure your shoes fit well and provide good support.
      • Listen to your body and rest when you need to. If you feel pain, stop the activity and rest. Pushing yourself too hard can increase your risk of injury.

      Here are some exercises and stretches that can help prevent a hip labral tear:

      • Hip flexor stretch: Kneel on one knee with your other leg extended in front of you. Lean forward from your hips until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
      • Quadriceps stretch: Sit on the floor with your right leg extended in front of you. Bend your left leg and place your foot flat on the floor. Lean forward from your hips until you feel a stretch in the front of your right thigh. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
      • Hamstring stretch: Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Reach for your toes, keeping your back straight. Hold for 30 seconds.
      • Iliotibial band stretch: Stand facing a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lean forward, keeping your back straight, until you feel a stretch on the outside of your hip. Hold for 30 seconds.
      • Knee to chest stretch: To prevent a pulled quad and maintain an active and healthy lifestyle, lie on your back with your knees bent. Bring one knee towards your chest and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat the same with the other leg.

       These simple tips can go a long way in ensuring your well-being.

      The Right Recovery Plan

      A hip labral tear is a condition more people are likely to face than you might imagine. It is where the soft tissue around your bony hip joint becomes damaged, leading to loss of mobility and soreness in general.

      In some cases, it may get worse, needing surgery or repair. Still, in most cases, if caught early enough, it is possible to heal the injury with physical therapy such as exercises or massaging techniques provided by your trusted physician.

      It allows you not only relief from discomfort and severe hip pain but also strengthens your hip muscles to help prevent it from happening again!

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