How Physical Therapy Can Help Heal Hip Labral Tears

The labrum supports the hip joint and reduces friction during physical movement. However, a cartilage tear surrounding the hip joint can cause pain and discomfort to the patient. The causes of hip labral tears can vary from sudden jerks to wear and tear due to age. 

In the case of a labral tear, the patient’s movement is limited, and the pain can increase significantly if left untreated. Therefore, it is essential to seek proper treatment immediately.

Once the healing process begins, physical therapy for torn hip labrum can help the cartilage regain its strength over time. However, it is crucial to maintain the correct posture during therapy to avoid further damage to the hip joint. 

That’s why you must use proper treatment procedures and take necessary actions to heal the labral tear and alleviate the joint pain. Now, let’s look at how physical therapy helps treat hip labral tears in detail below.

Understanding Physical Therapy for Hip Labral Tears

We know how important physiotherapy is for patients to recover from hip labral tears. Still, there are many things to understand before the procedure. Here are some factors that you must consider for the best results.

  • Goals of Hip Labral Tear Physical Therapy

Hip labral tears are also caused due to repeated stress over the hip joint. It causes inflammation and spasms in the area around the labrum cartilage, thus, causing a tear. The main goal of physical therapy is to reduce this inflammation by releasing muscle spasms and tension surrounding the area.

  • Types of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy exercises for a hip labral tear helps restore normal functions by improving muscle strength and flexibility. Depending on the intensity of the labral tear, the physiotherapist may determine the right type of physical therapy for you. Here are some types of physical therapies-

  • Passive Physical Therapy,
  • Active Physical Therapy,
  • Manual Therapy,
  • Therapeutic Exercises,
  • Modalities.

The Role of Physical Therapy in Healing Hip Labral Tears

Physical therapy plays a major role in repairing the labrum cartilage. Though, this procedure is also effective in other ways. Here they are

  • Pain Management

When muscles in the hip region become tense, they may become inflamed and swollen, which causes discomfort and pain. This pain can vary in intensity, location, and duration based on the severity of the inflammation. The inflammation can also cause other areas around the hip joint to become suppressed, exacerbating the pain.

Physical therapy can help alleviate the pain and tension. The techniques usually involve muscle relaxation and contraction to reduce tension and inflammation, thereby reducing pain.

  • Improving Range of Motion

Physical therapy helps make the hip joint flexible, mobile, yet stable. It ultimately increases the range of motion, thereby improving the function of the hip joint.

  • Strengthening Muscles

During physical therapy, the patient must perform various body movements and maintain different postures repeatedly. These movements involve rapid contraction and relaxation of the muscles, which increases blood flow to the affected area. The increased blood flow delivers more oxygen to the hip joint, which helps to strengthen the muscles.

As the muscles become stronger, they can better support the hip joint, reducing the risk of further injury or inflammation. 

There are also some common physical therapy techniques for healing hip labral tears. Let’s look at them below.

Common Physical Therapy Techniques for Healing Hip Labral Tears

Approximately 15% of individuals over 65 encounter labral tears. Engaging in physical activities during the initial phase can help mitigate its impact.

While performing physical therapy and exercises, it is important to maintain the correct body posture. That’s why you must visit a physiotherapist who is a trained doctor and can guide you in the right manner. Here are some exercises you must do for hip labral tears-

  • Butterfly Pose

Sit erect and fold your knees away from one another with the sole of your feet touching each other. Now flutter your knees up and down like a butterfly fly. Repeat this exercise 20 times in a set of three. Make sure to keep your back erect while doing this exercise.

  • Knee Lifts

Lie down on your back in a supine position and bend your knees. Slowly lift your feet in the air while keeping your knees bent. Make a grip with your hands by locking your fingers with one another and gently pulling your knees towards your chest. Repeat this exercise at least five times. Make sure not to make any jerky movements.

  • Leg Raises

This exercise is performed when lying in a supine position. While keeping your knees straight, raise your legs from the hips. You can hold this position at three angles, around 30, 45 and 90 degrees. Hold the position for 30 seconds before releasing and repeat three times.

  • Seated Marching

For seating marching, sit erect on a chair. Keeping your knees bent, lift one leg at a time. Repeat it for the other leg and perform the set 20 times. 

  • Hip Circles

Stand with your legs apart and rotate your hips in circles, clockwise and anti-clockwise. Repeat each side 15 times in a set of three.

Other Treatments for Hip Labral Tears

Along with physical therapy exercises for hip labral tears, you can also consider other treatment modalities in advanced cases. Here are some things that doctors may consider.

  • Medications

NSAID (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) is the first line of treatment recommended for hip labral tears. It is advisable to administer analgesics due to the possibility of the patient experiencing painful and uncomfortable symptoms.

  • Surgery

Surgical treatment is recommended in severe cases where the cartilage is stitched together. It reduces the distance of the tear and helps the cartilage heal faster.

  • Alternative Treatments

Recently, many advancements have been made in treating hip labral tears. Common alternative treatments include stem cell therapy, PRP therapy and prolotherapy.

Conclusion

Physical therapy is a non-surgical approach that effectively facilitates the healing process of hip labral tears while enhancing overall bodily health through improved muscle strength and toning.

Early detection of hip labral tears permits treatment with non-invasive approaches like rest, physical therapy, and home remedies. However, in more severe cases, medication and surgery may be necessary. Visiting an orthopaedic doctor immediately upon experiencing early symptoms is highly advised as it leads to better outcomes.

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