Hip Labral Tear Exercises: How To Relieve Hip Labral Tear Pain

Hip labral tears are a common issue that often affects runners, dancers, and athletes. 

A rip at the hip sounds like it would be incredibly painful, but this ranges from a dull ache to a stiff, rigid joint. 

Hip Labral Tear Exercises How To Relieve Hip Labral Tear Pain

Many of these active individuals experience this pain but manage to keep practicing through the discomfort. 

Despite this, hip labral tear pain can be irritating. If you’ve been told that your chronic hip pain is the result of a labral tear, some exercises can ease the discomfort. 

You’ll find out the names of these articles in this post, including more about hip labral tears and how to treat them. 

Hip Labrum Construction

The hip labrum is a name for the Acetabular Labrum, a fibrous cartilage circle that covers the hip socket/Its main job is to secure the thighbone, helping to keep the whole lower body stable. 

If it works correctly, the labrum controls fluid inside the joint. It performs like a rubber seal that makes it easier to move. The hip is an intricate joint that helps the leg move in several directions.

This is why a lot of factors can cause pain or malfunction in the hip joint, like a hip labral tear. 

Labrum tears can be incredibly painful, though the pain differs between patients. If these tears aren’t treated, this makes the hip weaker and permanently unstable. 

Signs Of A Labral Tear

Signs of a hip labral tear are easy to notice. Often, pain starts deep in the groin, along with sore hamstrings, hips, lower back, or abdominal muscles. 

Many patients notice discomfort when performing simple tasks, like walking, sitting, or twisting around in a chair. 

Signs of a labral tear include:

  • Hip or groin pain when the legs are crossed
  • Catching, pinching, or a grating sensation in the hips
  • Pain with internal rotation, adduction, and combined flexion
  • Pain with external rotation, abduction, and combined flexion
  • Pain when lifting leg against resistance

Labral Tear Causes

Hip labral tears can happen for a variety of reasons, including repeated stress, sudden movement, or joint trauma.

The same things involved with running injuries can cause labral tears, ie: running too much and strength training too little. 

If you are running, the muscles around your hips need to be strong to absorb the impact. If your glutes, abs, hamstrings, and quads aren’t strong, extra forces affect your labrum and your joints, leading to injury. 

Hip labral tears can also happen from over-use. Injuries can also happen from unnoticed bone abnormalities that become worse later on. 

Avoiding Labrum Issues

If you like running, the activity isn’t necessarily bad for your labrum. However, if you often expose your hips to repeated high impact, you need to insure your tendons and muscles bear the brunt of these forces, not your joints.

This involves strength training, with an emphasis on quads, hip rotators, hamstrings, and glutes. Core and pelvis control is also significant, as your pelvis’ position can stress various areas in the hip joint and labrum. 

Inflamed And Torn Labrum Treatment

Hip Labral Tear Exercises: How To Relieve Hip Labral Tear Pain

If you have a torn or inflamed labrum, take a few weeks off of usual physical activity. Running, dancing, and cycling are all out of the question, but depending on your doctor’s recommendation, you may be able to swim or use the elliptical machine.

It’s important to take time off from weightlifting, particularly if you regularly practice deadlifts and squats. Hip pain can result in performing these exercises with poor form, leading to more injuries later on. 

It’s also a good idea to refrain from static hip stretches. If your hips have a limited range of motion, you need to work on improving your hip mobility. This generally involves dynamic stretches, as static ones can make the pain worse.

Stick to foam rolling and low-intensity workouts that engage the core and hip muscles. You can remain active by using workouts that aren’t painful, but always check with your doctor to see if they are suitable. 

As your pain starts to improve, you can work on harder hip and core exercises, as well as increase your hip range of motion. 

Exercises For Hip Labral Tear

If you do think you have a hip labral tear, always see a professional to diagnose and treat the issue. If your doctor gives you the go-ahead, try these exercises and see if they help relieve your pain.

Resistance Band Hip Abduction

These standing movements engage the muscles in the outer hip, which handle correct leg alignment. 

  1. Start by circling a resistance band over each outer ankle.
  2. Standing upright with your upper body stable, raise one leg up and to the side, as much as you can.
  3. Hold and slowly return to the starting position.
  4. If you need to, use a sturdy item, like a chair or wall for support.
  5. Repeat for three sets of ten reps.

One Leg Bridge

These leg bridges involve the glutes, in particular the Gluteus Maximus. This improves stability, power, and balance.

  1. Start lying on your back with your feet flat on the floor, around shoulder distance apart.
  2. Extend one leg straight, then engage your abs. Push the opposite heel directly into the ground.
  3. Extend the opposite leg and raise your hips to the sky.
  4. Finish the exercise by squeezing your glutes, then return to the ground.
  5. Repeat for three sets of ten repetitions.
  6. If you want to make the exercise harder, position your feet on a low bench for extra resistance. 

Partial Resistance Band Squats

This movement engages the hip abductors, gluteus medius, and quads.

  1. Begin with a resistance band around your legs, positioned slightly above your knees.
  2. Start with your feet around shoulder distance apart. Keep your torso straight upright and a gentle arch in your back.
  3. Bend the knees, gently lowering your hips to the floor. Stop when your thighs lie parallel to the ground.
  4. While you squat, push your thighs to the side, maintaining persistent tension in the resistance band.  
  5. Repeat for three sets of ten repetitions.

Unstable One-Leg Balance

Balancing on one leg requires balance, core stability, and strength, especially if you do so on an unstable surface.

  1. With care, start by standing on a yoga mat or pillow. Raise your arms straight out to the side. 
  2. Slowly bend one of your legs to balance on the opposite one. 
  3. Hold the position for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg. Repeat for three more sets.
  4. If you need to, use a chair or wall for extra support. Once your balance and confidence start to improve, progress to a BOSU ball or stability disc.

Clamshells

This movement engages the hips’ external rotators and abdominals. Keep your abs engaged throughout and check that the hip is the only part that moves. 

  1. Begin lying on your side with the affected hip on top.
  2. Stack your legs and have them bent at a right angle.
  3. Move your hips to around 60°.
  4. Shift forward a little so your belly button reaches the floor.
  5. Lift the top knee as you keep your trunk shifted forward and your ankles together.
  6. Hold your top knee at the highest point possible for three seconds before you move it down again. 
  7. Repeat for three sets of ten repetitions.
  8. If you want to make the exercise harder, add a resistance band around your legs, slightly above your knees. 

The Bottom Line

A hip labral tear can be painful and uncomfortable, but there are things you can do to relieve the pain. The exercises in this post can help make the pain bearable, but always get your doctor’s approval before practicing them. 

You should also note that while exercises may help soothe hip labral tear pain, they won’t fix the tear itself. Treatment involves injections, physical therapy, or surgery, depending on how severe the issue is. 

Always have a medical professional diagnose your hip labral tear beforehand, as your pain may be the result of another medical issue.

Laura Simmons
Latest posts by Laura Simmons (see all)