What You Need to Know: Labral Tears (Part 1: Hip Labral Tears)

What You Need to Know: Labral Tears (Part 1: Hip Labral Tears)

One of the most common causes of hip and shoulder pain is a labral tear, which means the cartilage that lines the sockets of these joints tears or becomes injured. Labral tears can cause pain, discomfort and left untreated may require surgery or other intervention. One of the best ways to treat a hip labral tear is through rest, rehabilitative exercises and natural treatments such a chiropractic adjustment to ensure alignment and help strengthen the muscles.  

man sitting on blue couch holding hip because he is in hip pain from hip labral tear

What is the hip labrum? 

The hip labrum is comprised of the cartilage that lines the hip socket (known as the acetabulum) where the thigh bone (femur sits). The hip labrum helps store joint fluid for frictionless motion.  

What is a labral tear in the hip? 

A hip labral tear occurs when the labrum or cartilage is injured or torn. A torn hip labrum can cause pain, reduced the range of motion in the hip and a cause a “locking up” sensation to occur. 

There are two types of labral tears in the hip. 

  • Anterior hip labral tear – this is the most common type of hip labral tear. These types of tears occur in the front of the hip. 
  • Postier hip labral tear – these tears occur on the back of the hip joint. 
image showing a hip with and without labral tear in the joint

What causes labral tear in hip? 

A hip labral tear can be caused by a variety of things: 

  • Repetitive motion over time or overuse  
  • Abnormalities in the shape or alignment of the hip bones 
  • Traumatic injuries such as slips or falls  

What are the symptoms of a hip labral tear? 

Symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the tear. Common symptoms of a labral tear include: 

  • Persistent pain in the hip, groin or buttocks 
  • Hip stiffness or limited range of motion 
  • A clicking or locking sensation in the hip joint during movement 
  • Pain in the hip while walking, running or sleeping  
woman holding hip because of hip pain caused by hip labral tear

How to treat a hip labral tear? 

  • Rest and activity modification – for mild to moderate hip labral tears try to reduce or eliminate movements that cause pain or aggravate the injury  
  • Rehabilitative Exercises – rehab exercises help to stabilize, mobilize and strengthen the hips and surrounding muscles
  • PRP Injections – PRP injections can stimulate tissue repair and help relieve pain  
  • Surgery – some severe hip labral tears might require surgery but this is only in very extreme cases and other treatment options should be considered first 
  • Post-surgery recovery – chiropractic treatments such as manual therapy, cryotherapy, compression therapy and rehabilitative exercises can help break down scar tissue and re-strengthen the hips and surrounding areas  

How to sleep with a labral tear? 

Sleeping with a labral tear can be tricky. Many people report worse pain at night. To help relieve some of the pain off the hip, you can try to sleep on the opposite side of your injury. In addition, you can use a pillow in between your knees to help offer support and keep your hips in alignment. If you sleep on your back, placing a pillow under your knees can also help alleviate some pressure.

man holding his hip on the beach because of a hip labral tear

Can hip labral tear cause back pain? 

As with any injury or misalignment, a labral tear can affect other areas of the body. Often times when one part of our bodies are weakened or injured, surrounding muscles and joints will try to compensate or take pressure off of the area in pain. This unfortunately can lead to overuse of the compensating joint and cause additional pain or injury.  

A hip labral tear might cause secondary pain in the back, leg or foot. It can also cause pain to the other hip if you begin to shift more weight to that uninjured side to relieve pain from the injured hip.  

The best way to avoid additional pain is to rest to help the injured hip heal. In addition, seeking care from a chiropractor can be help you create a treatment plan for a quicker, more efficient recovery. Treatments such as rehabilitative exercises, manual adjustments, cryotherapy or compression therapy can help relieve pain and tension on the hip. 

Get Treated at Kaizo Health    

Our goal at Kaizo Health is to always get you back to feeling 100%. Our doctors provide treatment to help you be pain-free. We also have a dedicated team that will work with you and your insurance. We want to make sure you get the most from your benefits. You should experience relief for as little cost to you as possible. If you are ready to experience relief from the pain, make an appointment to see us now.        

Kaizo Health offers locations in Rockville, MD; Landover, MD; Fort Washington, MD; and Fairfax, VA. Our doctors an evidence-based approach by combining chiropractic care and individualized rehabilitative exercises. We provide the treatment and resources you need to recover your health. We are here to help! If you’d like more information, check out our blog. You can also take our free virtual self-assessment on app here