What to Do for a Hip Labral Tear

Physical Therapist working on physical therapy for hip

What to Do for a Hip Labral Tear

Hip labral tears can occur to anyone but are more common among athletes who participate in impact sports and people with structural issues of the hip. Typically, hip labral tears occur due to traumatic and overuse injuries. Hip labral tears are painful and may cause instability. Today, we will discuss everything you should know about hip labral tears, including the causes, symptoms, and how to treat them.

Anatomy and Function of the Hip Labrum

The hip labrum is a piece of strong and flexible cartilage that runs along the outer edge of the hip socket to absorb shock and provide stability. It also maintains alignment between the ball and the hip socket joint. Understanding the function and anatomy of the hip labrum will help you know how a labral tear occurs and its possible effects.

What is a Labral Tear?

Now that you know the function and anatomy of the labrum, you might be wondering what a hip labral tear is. A torn labrum might reduce your range of motion and cause pain. Over time it may also lead to osteoarthritis. Hip labral tears are further classified by their location.

Anterior labral tears occur at the front of the hip and are usually caused by repetitive pivoting and lack of enough vascular supply to the joint. In contrast, posterior labral tears happen at the back and are caused by activities that place too much pressure on the hip. They are less common than anterior labral tears.

Labral Tear of the Hip Causes

Hip labral tears happen due to a sudden impact or gradual wear. The common causes of hip labral tears include:

  • Repetitive hip movements and hip overuse, such as running and twisting
  • Gradual wear and tear
  • Traumatic hip injuries like an accident
  • Degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis
  • Deformities of the hip joint like hip dysplasia

The causes of hip labral tears also vary depending on the location. Typically, anterior labral tears happen due to repetitive motions and overuse. On the other hand, posterior labral tears occur due to traumatic injuries such as falls and accidents.

Hip Labral Tears Common Symptoms

If you suspect that you have a hip labral tear, you might have noticed any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain on your groin or hip which gets worse after standing, walking, sitting, or any other athletic activity
  • A locking sensation in your hip joint
  • Stiffness in the joint
  • Reduced range of motion in your hip joint

A man suffering from severe hip pain


How Are Hip Labral Tears Diagnosed?

Doctors can use various methods to diagnose a hip labral tear. Let’s discuss these diagnostic methods in detail below:

  • Physical Assessment

Your doctor will perform a comprehensive physical examination to assess your hip’s range of motion and pain levels. During the physical assessment, your doctor will ask you to move your hip joint into various positions.

  • Imaging Scans

Apart from a physical exam, your doctor might also recommend imaging scans to check for structural problems and arthritis. An x-ray is an excellent way to check for abnormalities and arthritis in your hip joint. An MRI scan with or without a contrasting material is an excellent way to check the soft tissues around your hip joint. Your doctor might also recommend an ultrasound if the cause of your hip labral tear remains unclear after these initial tests.

Do Hip Labral Tears Heal on Their Own?

Unfortunately, hip labral tears don’t heal on their own. As a result, it is essential to seek medical treatment right away if you suspect you have a hip labral tear. However, it is possible to manage minor tears with conservative therapies such as modified activities and rest.

Hip Labral Tear Treatment Options

Your hip labral tear treatment will depend on the severity of your symptoms. Of course, severe labral tears require advanced treatments. Common treatment options for hip labral tears include:

  • Conservative Treatment

As mentioned earlier, conservative treatments such as activity modification and rest can be used to manage less severe labral tears.

  • Medication

You can also use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to manage the pain and reduce inflammation.

  • Injections

Steroid and anesthetic injections can temporarily reduce pain and inflammation if the medication fails.

  • Physical Therapy

Physical modalities such as exercises can strengthen the labrum and relieve pain.

Related: How Long After an Injury Should You Start Physical Therapy?

  • Surgery

Surgery can be used as the last resort if other treatments fail to relieve the pain and reduce inflammation. However, surgery might lead to complications such as bleeding, nerve injury, and infections.


Why Physical Therapy is the Best Treatment for Hip Labral Tears

A professional performing a Physical Therapy on Hip


Physical therapy has proved to be an efficient way to manage and treat hip labral tears. Unlike other treatment options, physical therapy is 100% non-invasive and can increase your hip strength, stability, and range of motion. When you start your rehabilitation program, our doctors will tailor a treatment plan to speed up recovery and reduce pain.

Your customized treatment plan may include strengthening exercises, manual therapy, stretching, postural exercises, at-home exercise programs, and education.

Hip Labral Tear Exercises

Physical therapy seeks to help you manage the pain and recover from a hip labral tear in the shortest time possible. Your physical therapist might recommend various exercises to increase your range of motion and strengthen your labrum. Here are different hip labral tear exercises you can use to manage the pain and speed up recovery:

  • Dead bug
  • Bridge
  • Sidestepping with resistance
  • Side planks
  • Deadlift with single leg

Our therapists will assess the severity of your labral tear and recommend the best exercises and modalities for your unique situation.

Get Professional Physical Therapy for Hip Labral Tear Near You

The skilled team at La Clínica has been helping thousands of patients throughout Illinois overcome hip labral tears. Once you visit one of our clinics, one of our therapists will conduct several tests and ask questions to understand the severity of your hip labral tears. After that, count on our team to tailor a custom hip labral tear treatment plan and recommend exercises to speed up your recovery.

To learn more about our hip labral tear treatment plan, please schedule an appointment or call us with any further questions.