Is it game over when an athlete suffers from a labral tear in the hip? Many athletes have found themselves in the unenviable position of having to consider surgery when a labral tear has occurred. Although there are treatments to consider, professional athletes are very aware of the significance of such an injury. As a prime example, British tennis star Andy Murray had to make the decision recently to have surgery on his hip and even with a favorable result, it is unlikely that he will be able to compete at the top level for a while.
Approximately one-fifth of all athletes who suffer from groin pain have hip labral tears and require treatment to help heal the injuries to the acetabular labrum surrounding the hip socket. There’s no doubt that treatment including arthroscopic techniques have certainly improved surgical options and there are regenerative curative treatments available too, so, it is a far more favorable outlook these days. When an athlete, professional or not, has tried various treatments including rest and physical therapy but, is still unable to compete after six months, the diagnosis is likely to be a labral tear and articular cartilage damage.
This is a painful injury and it causes great discomfort also restricting movement. The labrum serves to seal the joint of the hip and to provide stability and cushioning. Hip labral tears occur when partial or complete damage has occurred although compression or traction injuries will happen.
- Groin pain
- Pain in the front of the hip
- Stiffness in the hip joint
- Grating or locking feeling within the hip
- Restricted movement
- Reduced stability of the hip
- Radiating pain to the buttocks
Frustratingly, it can be difficult to determine the actual cause but could include:
- Stress, pressure or excessive force to the area
- Dislocated hip
- Degeneration of the hip
- Microtrauma affecting the capsular tissue
- Structural abnormalities
- Direct trauma – falling and landing on the hip, etc.
Anyone who participates actively in sporting events could find themselves suffering from this type of hip injury.
Medical advice is essential.
For any athlete, this is the type of diagnosis that is most unwelcome. There’s no doubt that following this type of surgery, athletes will make an incredible recovery, but delays are unavoidable. It takes time for fitness, strength, and mobility to be regained.
A diagnosis is made through movement of the hip joint and placing the leg in different postures. Where there is a limited range of motion, this is often indicative of a labrum hip tear, but, x-rays or MRI scans can help to confirm whether injury to the soft tissues has occurred.
Medication can help to ease the inflammation, and this is a good starting point. Often, cortisone injections are used which provide pain relief and then, physical therapy can increase strength and stability while reducing stress on the joint. Treatment is likely to include strengthening workouts with massage therapy.
Stem cell surgery has also been found to be highly effective when it comes to treating these types of injury and should certainly be considered when physical therapy and anti-inflammatory treatments does not ensure full recovery. Treatment will depend on the exact diagnosis and on the patient’s needs, but recovery potential is typically good.