Hip > Acetabular Tear > Treatments

   Non-Operative Treatment


Light exercise, which helps stimulate circulation and strengthen the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, is one of the most effective ways to relieve strain on your hip tissues. Strong muscles help support the structures of the hip and diminish abnormal forces in the acetabular labrum. Stretching and light exercise can begin when the pain associated with your labral tear subsides to a tolerable level. The key is to work with your therapist to find a balance between low-impact and weight bearing activity. Too much weight bearing can damage your labrum tissue, but some weight bearing is needed to maintain bone strength. In conjunction with a healthy diet, exercise also can help you lose weight, which reduces stress on your hip.


In the first few weeks of rehabilitation, your physical therapist usually helps you gently stretch the muscles in your hamstrings, quadriceps, buttocks, groin, and back while flexing and extending your hip to restore a full, pain-free range of motion. Many patients receive effective pain relief from daily stretching.


When pain has decreased, physicians generally recommend at least 30 minutes of low-impact exercise a day. You should try to cut back on or avoid activities that put stress on your hips, like running, jumping, and strenuous weight lifting. Cross-training exercise programs often are prescribed when you have a labral tear. Depending on your preferences, your workouts may vary each day between cycling, cross-country skiing machines, elliptical training machines, swimming, and other low-impact cardiovascular exercises. Walking usually is better for injured hips than running, and many patients prefer swimming in a warm pool, which takes your body weight off your hips and makes movement easier.


Strength training usually focuses on moving light weights through a complete, controlled range of motion. Your physical therapist typically teaches you to move slowly through the entire motion with enough resistance to work your muscles without stressing hip bones. Once your physical therapist has taught you a proper exercise program, it is important to find between 30 minutes and an hour each day to perform the prescribed exercises.

Prevention [top]

Since acetabular labral tears can be caused by a variety of factors and may occur in conjunction with more serious injuries like hip dislocations and fractures, preventing recurrence may require you to examine the way you work and play. Degenerative joint diseases like arthritis can complicate your recovery and put you at risk for future acetabular labral tears even after treatment. Be sure to talk to your physician about appropriate preventive measures for slowing the progress of joint disease. Your physician or physical therapist can check to see if you have a leg–length discrepancy that is altering your gait and putting abnormal stress on your labrum. This can be corrected by orthotics, which are padded inserts worn inside your shoe. Incorrect posture when you are sitting, walking, or running can put pressure on your labrum. If you sit for prolonged periods, have an expert assess your posture. Try to shift positions, and take regular breaks where you get up and walk around. Make sure your chair is ergonomically correct. If prolonged sitting causes hip pain it should be avoided. Have your walking and running gait checked for any abnormalities that could be putting stress on your lower back and hips. A physical therapist can help you correct any discrepancies. Contact sports and activities increase your chances of re–injuring your hip. Your physician may advise you to avoid contact sports and high–energy activities like downhill skiing. Sports that require you to bend forward, like cycling and horseback riding, also may put you risk of reinjuring your acetabular labrum. If you are going to engage in physical activity, particularly sports that involve running, jumping, and twisting, make sure to adequately stretch the muscles in your hips and lower back beforehand. Labral tears can be traumatic, such as a car accident, and non–traumatic in origin. Physicians typically recommend avoidance of the activity that led to the original injury, as well as activities that cause high stress or uncontrolled motion at the hip joint. Conditioning and rehabilitation are an important part of the recovery process in any injury. In fact, many injuries are a direct result of insufficient conditioning or strength. Reinjury usually can be avoided by returning to a level of fitness that will allow the performance of activities without uncontrolled motion at the hip.

Arthroscopic Repair
Open Labral Surgery
Non-Operative Treatment

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