The hip joint is a ball and socket type of joint to allow a wide variety of movements. The joint is formed between femur (the thigh bone) and ileum (the hip bone). To provide additional stability to the joint, there is a cartilage ring around the margins of the joint, and this ring is known as labrum. Sometimes this ring is pulled away or gets separated from the bony socket due to repetitive trauma or twisting, resulting in a labral tear. The most common symptoms are:
- Pain in the hip or groin area.
- Clicking or twisting sensation in hip joint.
- Increased stiffness and reduced range of movements at hip joint.
How to Speed Up Hip Labral Tear Recovery
1. Physical Therapies
There are many exercises which are useful to maximize the range of motion at the hip joint and to increase joint strength and stability. Your physical therapist can teach you how to perform these and can recommend the best ones suitable for you. Here are a few exercises which can be done to speed up hip labral tear recovery.
- Hip flexion exercises
The main goal of this exercise is to regain the flexion and to strengthen the hip joint. This is simple to perform and you can start by lying comfortably on your back, then bend your knee and slowly bring it towards your chest. If you feel any pain or discomfort, stop at that point.
- Hip rotation exercises
The hip rotation exercises are performed to improve external rotation and hip abduction. For external rotation exercise, lie flat on your back and drop your knee outwards as far as you can without having any pain. For hip abduction, lie flat and keep your leg straight with the toes pointing towards the ceiling. Slowly move the whole leg outwards and go as far as you can.
- Squats and gluteal exercises
Weak muscles around the hip joint can be a reason of labral tear. Squats and gluteal exercises can increase the strength and stability of core muscles supporting the hip joint. You can use resistance bands around your knees while performing squats. Clam shell exercise is also very helpful. To perform it, you need to lie down on your side and keep the hips and knees flexed. Keep the ankles together and move your knees apart without moving the hip. Then return to the starting position.
- Lumbar stabilization exercises
For faster hip labral tear recovery and prevention of any future recurrence, a strong spine is essential. You can do these simple exercises to strengthen your lower back. Lie down on your back with the knees bent and lift your bottom. Keep it above the ground for as long as you can and then lower yourself back. You can also try planks by supporting your weight on the elbows and toes, and lifting the body without bending your back.
- Pool and other non-weight bearing exercises
A labral tear can range in severity, and the most suitable exercise for one patient might not be advised for another. If the tear is bigger, gentle exercises like non-weight bearing, stretches and some other pool exercises are advised. For example, running in the pool is an effective way to improve the condition of hip joint.
Pain is the most common symptom of the hip labral tear, and in this condition, NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs) are very effective in reducing both pain and inflammation. If the pain is severe and is not controlled by medication, an injection of corticosteroids in the joint cavity can be helpful to control the pain.
3. Recovery After Surgery
If the pain is not controlled by medication, arthroscopic surgery is recommended. In this procedure a microscopic camera is inserted in the hip joint through a small incision in the skin. Then the torn pieces of labrum can be removed. If the tear is repairable, it can be repaired at the same time.
Here are tips for the recovery after the arthroscopic surgery:
- The first few days after the procedure can be difficult and there can be lots of pain. Your doctor can prescribe a combination of painkillers to relieve the pain.
- Since it is an invasive procedure, there can be some blood on your dressing after the procedure. It is usually a small amount. If you notice any excessive bleeding, do not hesitate to contact your surgeon.
- Take it slowly. Do not stand for longer periods of time immediately after the procedure and gradually increase the physical activity.
- Depending upon the severity of the tear and the general condition of the patient, crutches or walking aids are required for a few weeks after the arthroscopic surgery.
- You can experience some fever and night sweats after the surgery. The temperature can go up to 101. It generally gets better with taking acetaminophen. If you have higher temperature which is not getting better, you need to seek medical advice.
- Start the physical therapy as advised, which is very important for hip labral tear recovery. By doing physical therapy, the joint function will be restored, and risk factors can be assessed and addressed to avoid any future injury. Bone and muscle strength can also be regained by physical therapy.
Note: How Long Is the Labral Tear Recovery Time?
Full recovery of a labral tear can take three to four months. The time taken for recovery also depends upon the severity of tear and the interventions done to repair it.