Hip Labral Tear Recovery Timeline: Treatment Breakdown

hip labral tear hip pain torn labrum hip

A hip labral tear involves damage to the labrum, the ring of cartilage located on the outside rim of the socket of your hip joint. This is precisely where the thigh bone (femur) meets the pelvis (ilium). Tearing can be a result of repetitive twisting, cutting and pivoting movements, common among athletes who participate in sports like hockey, soccer, football, ballet or any other activities that require a lot of sudden movements and directional changes. A hip labral tear could also occur as a result of structural abnormalities that you’re born with, made worse by excessive wear and tear or a trauma that causes an injury or dislocation to the hip. However it occurs, if you’re experiencing a deep ache in the front of your hip or groin, pain that increases with prolonged sitting or walking, stiffness in the hip or symptoms such as clicking and locking, it’s possible that a hip labral tear is to blame.

Although the timeline for hip labral tear recovery varies depending on your specific injury, if you require surgery, you should expect about 4 months of one-on-one treatment with your physical therapist and roughly 6-9 months before you feel 100% again. It’s important to note that not all hip labral tears require surgery. Often times, physical therapy and exercises to stabilize the joint can help patients avoid surgery all together, even with the presence of a tear. If your condition does require surgery, the following timeline will give you some insight into what to expect during your physical therapy treatment process.

*Please note, the recovery times included in this timeline are general estimations and may not correlate with your specific situation.

hip labral tear torn labrum hip hip bursitis

0 Weeks: Prehab Prior to Surgery

So you’ve suffered a hip labral tear and you know that you need surgery. Did you know there are steps you can take prior to surgery to help expedite recovery? The amount of time you spend in prehab depends on a few different factors and is sometimes, unfortunately, dependent on your insurance plan. If you’re limited to 20 visits per year for instance, your physical therapist may have to save some of your PT sessions for post-op but if you have more visits available to you, prehab can take a bit longer. If you have comorbidities, or other limitations or disorders that could complicate the recovery process, this could also delay things.

When you begin prehab, your physical therapist will conduct a full body assessment to check for limitations in range of motion and strength to get an idea of what sort of plan of care your condition requires. If weakness is the main issue, you may be OK with just a few sessions to educate yourself on the post-op rehab process and to get a good idea of what lies ahead. You and your physical therapist will work together to create a prehab program to make sure that you’re entering surgery as strong as possible. Pain management strategies will be discussed as well as methods to strengthen weakened muscles, especially in the glutes, core and legs. This will help you maintain better strength with functional activities.

Torn Labrum Hip Bursitis Hip Stretches Surgery

0-4 Weeks: Post-Surgery Baby Steps

The amount of time after your surgery that you must wait before beginning any sort of physical therapy treatment is dependent on your surgeon’s specific protocol. Once your physical therapist and surgeon have come up with a good time to begin rehabbing your hip labral tear, your PT will ease you into an initial treatment plan that aims to reduce any swelling and pain, improve mobility with precautions/limitations and restore normal gait patterns. The progress you make during this period is dependent on your overall comfort level during mobility exercises and stretches. Because you’re still recovering from surgery, most activities should be avoided during this stage. To protect the repair limitations that are put on the hip, it’s important that certain movements are abstained from. Some physicians may ask you to use crutches with partial weight-bearing to reduce stress and load on the hip / repaired structures.

Your physical therapist will work on your soft tissue and muscles to improve tone and reduce pain. They’ll also prescribe range of motion exercises to help with mobility. It’s common to ease into exercising by riding an upright stationary bike to assist with range of motion. Your PT will guide you through initial exercises to ensure that you’re performing them correctly and with the right precautions. They’ll talk you through the best way to go about staying within range of motion restrictions as you go about daily activities as well. Manual therapy techniques will be utilized to help with passive range of motion through various movements. This helps to promote blood flow to the hip, decreasing swelling and inflammation within and around the joint.

The initial rehabilitation phase may be scary at first but your PT is there to help minimize your pain. It’s their responsibility to make your recovery as efficient as possible while working within your pain tolerance and not pushing you to the point of discomfort.

Physical Therapy Labral Hip Tear Hip Pain Surgery Upright Bike

4-8 Weeks: Keeping it Moving

As you begin moving more comfortably, your physical therapist will work even more to restore full range of motion, improve your strength and stability, normalize your gait and begin focusing more on increasing leg strength. In this phase of rehab, you should see decreased pain and improvements in range of motion, strength and stability. You should also notice the ability to walk further without pain and see progress with the ease of going up and down the stairs. It may be common to experience fatigue when performing weight-bearing activities so any high impact movements should be avoided.

Appropriate activities during this phase of recovery include walking short distances (gradually building up to 1 mile). You can also continue with the upright bike and begin to add resistance about six weeks post-op. Swimming and elliptical training can usually begin around week 8 as long as there is not a lot of pain. Your PT will help you through exercises that focus on hip strength and stability and continue to work on strengthening your glutes, legs and core muscles. There will be more focus on balance and stability as well. If you’re still experiencing a significant amount of pain at the 8 week mark or recovery, your PT will help you modify your activities outside of physical therapy to get a hold on your current threshold to activity. Pain may be the result of weak musculature which would explain why if you’re too active, fatigue sets in and muscles and joints can start to compensate which may cause discomfort.

8-12 Weeks: Beginning Lower Extremity Workouts

2-3 months after your surgery, your goal is to continue building strength and endurance and to train your stability. You’ll know that you’re progressing well if you see an improved tolerance to weight-bearing activities and a decrease in your level of pain. High-impact activities, such as jumping, should still be avoided but walking and stationary biking should continue. Your physical therapy treatment will begin to introduce body weight squats and various other strengthening exercises. Double and single leg closed-chain exercises may be included such as step ups, step downs, lunges, and single leg balance training. Depending on your progress and pain level, your PT may include manual therapy techniques to stretch your muscles and mobilize your joints.

Torn Labrum Hip Physical Therapy Surgery Hip Pain Post op

12-16 Weeks: Back to Jumping

If all is going well around 4 months post-op, you should begin dynamic drills to introduce jumping, agility and running into your plan of care. You’ll continue working on strength, endurance and balance training with the idea that your endurance shows improvement with all activities. It’s important to continue discussing with your physical therapist and surgeon the activities that you should avoid, as it will vary person to person. At this point in your physical therapy treatment, there should be less reliance on manual therapy techniques and more of an emphasis on exercises and self management of your recovery. Exercises included may focus on single limb strength and balance, non-loaded / loaded jumping, agility drills and a return to running program. As a patient, the best thing you can do is to stay compliant with your home exercise program so that you can maintain the gains you’ve achieved during your PT treatment.

4 Months+: Getting Back to Regular Life

Depending on your condition and unique body, it could take anywhere from 6-9 months before you feel 100% again. As mentioned above, staying compliant with the home exercises provided by your physical therapist is the best way to ensure the strength and mobility you’ve achieved continues. Consult your physical therapist if there is any doubt about returning to a certain activity or if you have questions with your home exercises.

FEEL BETTER FASTER: QUICK LINKS TO COMMONLY SUGGESTED ITEMS

 

At Therapydia Denver we strive to help our patients feel better as quickly as possible.  In some cases, regular treatment sessions and a solid home exercise program are not all that is necessary for a speedy recovery.

Here is a list of items the Therapydia PTs often suggest for patients to purchase for home use:

KT Tape

KTtape

KT tape is a specific brand of tape that is used to promote healing, manage swelling and enhance your body’s control of muscles and joints while not limiting range of motion.  It can be worn for 3-4 days at a time and rarely causes skin issues.  With instruction from a Therapydia PT, most people are able to apply the tape in a safe and effective manner.

We like KT Tape specifically because the strips are pre-cut and rounded, ready for application right out of the box.

KT Tape is most commonly suggested for patients with: shoulder pain, golfers elbow, tennis elbow, knee pain, plantar fasciitis

Lumbar Support

lumbarsupport

Many low back, neck and even shoulder issues can be exacerbated by poor Lumbar Support during prolonged sitting.  If the curve in your low back is allowed to flatten out, it essentially starts a chain reaction which can adversely affect structures above and below your spine.

We like this particular lumbar support because it is affordable, portable and durable.

Lumbar Support is most commonly suggested for patients with: low back pain, sciatica, shoulder pain, neck pain, headaches

Stabilizer

stabilizer

Numerous studies show that low back pain is accompanied by absent, poor or incorrect activation of important core muscles.  The Stabilizer  gives the patient immediate and accurate feedback, letting them know if they are doing their prescribed exercises properly.  It essentially increases the quality of core exercises at home.

A standard blood pressure cuff can be used for the same purpose, but they are often too sensitive to give useful feedback.  We like this particular stabilizer because it is durable and just sensitive enough to give the patient only the information they need.

A Stabilizer is most commonly suggested for patients with: low back pain, sciatica, sacroiliac joint (SI joint) pain, hip pain

Foam Roller

foamroller

The Foam Roller has been suggested by healthcare professionals for years and for good reason.  They are extremely helpful for loosening up tight muscles and fascia between sessions with your Therapydia PT.  After careful instruction, they are also effective at loosening up tight spinal joints that make achieving proper posture difficult.

We prefer the 36 inch round roller as it can be used for the widest variety of exercises and activities.  This particular roller is affordable, extremely durable and more dense than others on the market.

A Foam Roller is most commonly suggested for patients with: knee pain, hip pain, upper back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain

Roller Stick

rollerstick

The Roller Stick is essentially used for the same purpose as a foam roller.  The main difference is that this hand-held tool allows the patient to control the amount of pressure, whereas a foam roller usually incorporates body weight.

We like this roller stick because it is much more portable than a foam roller and allows the patient to reach some areas that may be tough to address with a foam roller.

The Roller Stick is most commonly suggested for patients that travel frequently and suffer from: knee pain, hip pain, calf pain, achilles tendon pain, plantar fasciitis

Metatarsal Pad

metpad

A number of aches and pains in the foot may arise from a fallen transverse (or forefoot) arch. A Metatarsal Pad is used to brace this portion of the foot, thus restoring the natural shape of the forefoot and dissipating compressive forces.

We like these particular metatarsal pads because they are affordable, durable and self adhesive.  When applied between the insole and the shoe they tend to stay in position during most activities.

Metatarsal Pads are most commonly suggested for patients with: metatarsalgia, morton’s neuroma, forefoot callus

Heel Lift

heellift

A Heel Lift can be used to treat a leg length discrepancy as well as a variety of achilles tendon issues.  When properly applied, a heel lift can essentially level out a patient’s pelvis which can provide rapid alleviation of hip, knee and lumbar spine pain.  A heel lift can also alter the amount of tension on the achilles tendon to allow for proper healing after an injury.  

We like this particular heel lift because it is affordable and adjustable.  This allows for proper fit and progressive increases in tension to the achilles tendon as healing continues.

A Heel Lift is most commonly suggested for patients with: leg length discrepancy, hip pain, sacroiliac joint (SI joint) pain, achilles tendonitis, achilles tendon rupture