Table of Contents
- Understanding the science of torn hip labrum
- What activities could aggravate this?
- What are some management options for a torn hip labrum?
- Exercises that restore balance and function in your body.
- Can you still ride a bike with a torn hip labrum?
- Final words
A torn hip labrum is one of the many reasons athletes especially bike riders, experience pain. Labral tears causes so much pain that it decreases ones range of motion and prevents one from cycling as frequently as they would like.
Considering its severity, it will be good for us to explore this condition to understand more about the hip labrum, its functions, the factors that lead to a torn hip labrum, and if it is safe to still cycle with a torn hip labrum.
Understanding the science of torn hip labrum
The hip labrum, also known as the acetabular labrum, is a fibrocartilage ring that holds the top of the thigh bone to the hip bone socket. With this in place, there is proper positioning, stability, and movement of the lower body parts.
The hip labrum plays a significant role in ensuring the dynamic movement of the lower limbs, stability of the lower limbs, shock absorption, lubrication of the joint, and pressure distribution throughout the limbs until it’s even.
When the hip labrum gets inflamed or torn, all of these functions are interrupted, and movement becomes difficult and painful. At this point, you might want to know the potential causes of a torn hip labrum. Keep reading to find out!
There are various causes of the torn hip labrum, most of which tie down to putting excessive pressure on the hip joint. When there is an overuse of the hip labrum, there is a potential for an injury or inflammation to occur, and if not properly managed can lead to a tear with excruciating pain in a long run.
Let’s speak in detail about these causes!
Trauma – trauma such as motor vehicle accidents, falls from high places, dislocation, and many others can cause a tear to the hip labrum.
Age – As one ages, there is a progressive degeneration of the labrum over time. This degeneration begins at the ends of the labrum until it loses its grip around the hip joint. It is usually associated with osteoarthritis, which damages the labrum further until it results in a tear.
Rigorous activities – Activities that involve a lot of rotation, extension, or abduction of the hip joint done repeatedly and with high intensity have the potential to result in a labrum tear.
How it manifests
One of the many ways a torn hip labrum manifests is with an excruciating sharp pain that causes discomfort even when performing normal activities such as sitting with your legs crossed, walking up the heel, or doing a simple dance routine. Often times, this pain is associated with clicking or clunking sounds as the hip bone gives way.
How severe is the pain?
Most people who have experienced this labral tear pain have complained that it is very intense, and sometimes, it feels like it comes from inside the joint. They also report that the pain radiates to the glutes or groin area, especially when performing some intense activities.
What activities could aggravate this?
Intense activities that involve excessive hip extension, twisting, or rotating can worsen the torn hip labrum. This is because such activities can cause an impingement of the capsule surrounding the hip joint and an excessive contraction of the muscles that surround the hip joint. Here is a brief list of activities that you should avoid with a torn hip labrum:
- Weight lifting
In general, avoid activities that involve excessive twisting or repetitive stress on the hip joint.
What are some management options for a torn hip labrum?
There are two categories of management options for a torn hip labrum, and they include conservative management and surgical measures. Before deciding which management option to take, you should meet with a physiotherapist to properly evaluate your presenting symptoms to discuss the cause of the pain first and then the best management option.
This involves stretches, soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, and targeted strengthening muscle exercises.
All of these measures aim to relieve the tension on the muscles that surround the hip such as the hip flexors , increase its strength and improve stability and balance at the hip while keeping the thigh bone fixed tightly in the hip bone socket.
Other surgical options include the use of NSAIDS, ice packs, and adequate rest.
The extent of the surgical tear will determine the extent of the surgical repair procedure. The surgical procedure performed here is an arthroscopic surgery that can help suture back torn fragments after debridement.
Does massage help relieve the pain from a torn hip labrum?
Yes, it does! When you massage the tight muscles surrounding the hip, you relieve the tension and encourage adequate blood flow, eventually improving muscle strength and joint mobility.
How long would it take to heal?
Studies say that conservative measures take about 6-8 weeks for the pain to subsidize, while surgical measures take about 12 – 16 weeks to heal.
Exercises that restore balance and function in your body.
Here is a list of exercises that restores balance to the body by strengthening specific muscles.
- Monster Walk (Forward and Lateral)
This exercise works on your glutes and helps open up your hips, thereby increasing their stability.
- Single-Leg Deadlift
This exercise also helps strengthen the muscles surrounding the hips while improving your body coordination.
- Dead Bug
This helps to stabilize your pelvis by strengthening your core muscles.
- Standing Hip Abduction (with a resistance band)
This exercise strengthen the outer hip muscles, the gluteus, that help align the leg properly.
- Single Leg Bridge
Single Leg Bridges strengthen the Gluteus and hamstring muscles, giving the entire limbs balance and stability.
Can you still ride a bike with a torn hip labrum?
This will depend solely on the extent of the tear. But on a general note, you should rest adequately to encourage faster healing. After employing the right management measure, you could get back to cycling slowly to help ease your hip back to its normal function. Until it heals, you are encouraged to keep cycling gently and slowly.
A tear to the hip labrum is an excruciating condition that affects the performance of bike riders and, if not managed, can lead to a permanent disability.
An effective way to prevent this from happening in the first place is to engage in strength training exercise, pace yourself when performing any intense activity and permit yourself to rest whenever you feel any discomfort at your hip joint.
Interested to find out more cycling related health conditions, you should check our previous posts here.