How to Fix a Hip Labral Tear

Article by Lucas Rockwood

Do you feel pain in your hip when you squat down, or a crunching sensation when you take your hip into full extension, or even hear a clicking sound when you laterally rotate your hip? If so, you’ve probably torn your hip labrum and this guide is for you.

Your hip labrum – a connective tissue that helps your hip joint work – has little to no blood supply, so movement is crucial for healing.

Labrum Anatomy

Imagine your labrum like half a racket ball made of cartilage that acts as a gasket between your acetabulum – the dome-shaped concavity where your femur attaches to your pelvis – and your femoral head. Your labrum helps to stabilize and lubricate this ball-and-socket joint.

Labrum injuries are often caused by trauma, dysplasia, joint degeneration, or ligament laxity. Since your labrum has little to no blood supply, healing happens through diffusion from the surrounding synovial fluids. For this reason, movement is crucial for recovery.

Download PDF pose chart

Correctives Exercises

Here we have two corrective exercises designed to take your hip through its full range of motion and get your synovial fluids moving, and then another pose to build strength. Only go as far you can pain-free and scale back as needed to find a comfortable place for your hips to exercise.

Standing Fire Hydrants

This exercise takes your hip through its full range of motion: flexion, extension, medial, and lateral rotation. Remember to use any pain signals as a sign to back off and modify.

  • Stand next to a chair or wall with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart
  • Place your hand on the chair/wall/door for balance, soften your knees
  • Bend your left knee, and lift your leg up high for 1-2-3 counts
  • Like a dog on a fire hydrant, open your hip to the outside and make a circular motion, stopping at the side for 1-2-3 counts and at the back for 1-2-3 counts
  • Put your leg down, shake it out, and reset
  • Repeat this process twice on each leg

Toe Painting

To practice circumduction of your hip joint, imagine you’re painting circles on the floor with your big toe and a straight leg.

  • Stand next to a chair or wall with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart
  • Place your hand on the chair/wall/door for balance, soften your knees
  • Straighten your left leg, point your toes, and paint five clockwise circles on the floor
  • Repeat for five counterclockwise circles
  • Pause, put your leg down, reset, and repeat on the other side
  • Keep your standing leg still throughout

Isometric Wall Sit

People often practice this pose for their knees, but it’s also effective to gently load your hips. What you’re attempting to do here is gently and positively stress your hip labrum, to transform and strengthen the cartilage within it as it heals, as well as strengthening the muscles around the joint. In the video, I have my knees bent to 90 degrees, but you can increase the angle to find the appropriate level of intensity for you.

  • Stand with your back against a wall, feet slightly wider than your hips
  • Sit down to 90 degrees or higher (not lower)
  • Press your lower back into the wall and feel pressure (not pain) through your hip joints
  • Hold for 20 seconds
  • Stand, shake it out
  • Repeat for four rounds in total

Safety Disclaimer

This guide is for educational purposes only. If you’re having trouble getting up and down from the ground, if your injury is disrupting your life, please see a doctor.

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