conditions we treat

Hip pain and labrum tears

The hip is a complicated joint that is highly involved with both the pelvis, the low back and sometimes even the knee.

The hip itself is a ball and socket joint surrounded by a cartilage labrum, a layer of ligaments, and a large number of muscles. An issue in any of these layers within the hip or a surrounding area can lead to hip pain.

Some of the most common conditions that can cause hip pain are:

  • Bursitis
  • Hamstring tendinitis/tendinopathy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI)
  • Labrum tear
  • Lower back pain/sciatica
  • SI joint dysfunction
  • Groin/adductor tendinitis
  • Hip flexor strain
  • Hernia
  • Gluteal tendinopathy

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How do sports chiropractors treat hip pain?

Due to the complexity of the hip joint and its proximity to other major support structures within the body, the initial diagnosis is essential to proper treatment and alleviation of pain.

Typically, we find that a limited number of treatments combined with at home stretching and corrective exercises is effective in the resolution of your pain. However, if our sports chiropractic physician thinks that your pain is not related to a condition that is best treated in our office, you will be referred out for imaging and/or an assessment by another sports medicine provider from our extensive network of local healthcare professionals.

Labrum tears in the hip

In recent years, hip labral tears have been common in both professional and youth sports. Alex Rodriguez, Sydney Rice, Chase Utley, Lady Gaga, and Percy Harvin have all had surgery to repair a torn labrum in recent years, but many people don’t understand the true scope of this injury. Many young athletes, even teenagers, suffer this injury every year.  

The labrum is a cartilage cuff that surrounds the ball and socket joint of the hip and is very important for stabilization of the hip. Many times this injury is mistaken for a hip flexor strain. One of the most common causes of a hip labral tear in the labrum is femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). This is a condition where there is essentially too much bone either on the femur (upper leg bone) or on the acetabulum (hip socket) and this causes a “pinching” with full hip flexion.  This can often compress the labrum and cause it to tear, which can cause many different symptoms.

Symptoms for labrum tears may include:

  • Pain in the groin when bending, squatting, or twisting at the waist or hip-
  • Pain can be further out on the lateral hip
  • Catching or clicking in the hip

 

Labrum tears in young athletes

Many people live active, full lives with FAI, but if the labrum has torn a person can have more difficulty, especially if the labrum is torn at a young age. When the labrum is torn, the hip becomes less stable. If the hip is less stable the cartilage within the hip will wear out faster, leading to arthritis. 

If an athlete, especially a young athlete, exhibits groin or anterior hip pain it is important to have them evaluated by a physician with specialized sports medicine training. If FAI is discovered before a labrum tear occurs there are steps that can be taken to help prevent the labrum tear from occurring. This includes strengthening specific parts of the hip, maintaining flexibility in the hip, and avoiding certain activities like deep squats.

 

Why are labrum tears seemingly more common than they used to be?

There are many different theories as to why these injuries are so common in sports today.  Some people believe it is due to an overemphasis on leg strength in sports, while others believe it is due to overuse and overtraining. Many sports medicine experts believe it has always been common, but with the increased use of MRIs and an increased knowledge of the injury, providers are just better at diagnosing the injury. 

When it comes to youth athletics, the increase in female sports and the increase in the intensity of these sports has likely contributed to an increase in labrum tears. FAI tends to be more common in women, so as women’s sports have steadily increased, labral tears have also become more common. 

Hip labral tears are especially common in hockey, soccer, ballet, and football but can occur in any sport or activity.

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