Hip Labrum Tears

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Ow, my hip! Labral tears can be a painful malady that may limit your favorite activities. While it usually has no one identifiable cause, studies indicate that by avoiding repeated twisting and strain, and by keeping your muscles loose and strong, you can help to prevent hip labral tears from occurring in the first place!

The Malady:

Hip labral tear

The Facts:
The hip labrum, or acetabular labrum, is a structure that is designed to keep the hip joint intact, and keep the ball of the femur, or thighbone, congruent with the socket, or acetabulum of the pelvis. The incidence of this malady is increased in women due to differences in their pelvic anatomy. Increased age is a factor as well.

The Symptoms:
Patients with labral tears can complain of pain in the hip and groin area. Pain occurs with hip motion, especially squatting and bending. It can also hurt with running or jumping, and in severe cases, with walking. Pain is usually greatest with activity, and while low grade tears can be pain free with many activities, big tears create inflammation in the joint which can cause pain even at rest.

What is Happening:
In a labral tear, a piece of the labrum can become frayed or completely rip off the joint, causing pain with motion. The labrum does not heal very well due to its lack of sufficient circulation, so labral injuries tend to heal very slowly. Some low level tears can be treated with exercise, but many require surgical intervention.

Why Is This Happening:
Most labral tears do not have an easily identifiable cause. They usually develop as a result of prolonged exposure to stresses, such as repeated twisting (i.e. from golf) or weight bearing forces (i.e. from excessive jumping and running, especially on hard surfaces). Weak gluteal muscles and deep abdominal muscles can also lead to an increase in tears, because those muscles are meant to take pressure off of the joint during activity.

Lifestyle Adjustments:
1) Lose weight! Excess weight on the hip impacts joint function and leads to injury
2) Stay strong! Make sure to do leg exercises all year round
3) Stay active! Sedentary lifestyle can contrinute to joint injury when you do finally move around

Prevent It
1) Watch your form. Improper leg exercise technique can lead to labral tears
2) Warm up. Do not start playing with cold muscles
3) Strengthen the joint. Targeting the hip muscles can help keep the labrum from degenerating and tearing.
Exercises
1) Single leg bridges – 2 sets to fatigue daily
2) Sidelie leg raises/hip abduction – 3 sets of 15 twice a day
3) Single leg deadlifts – 3 sets of 10 daily

Contact Info

Dmitry R. Choklin
PT, DPT, CSCS, CKTP

Cell: (917) 328-8098
Fax: (866) 282-1162
Email: dchoklin@yahoo.com

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