Torn Hip Labrum during Pregnancy

by Annie on October 22, 2010 · 5 comments

in Exercise & Injuries

A reader recently sent me an email asking how my torn hip labrum is doing with my pregnancy.  Prior to getting pregnancy, the pain level on my hip is probably in the range of 2-3 (on a scale of 1-10 with 10 the most painful).  Hence, my doctor does not think surgery would help with my torn hip labrum since I seem to be managing the pain well with my hip exercises and with foam rolling.

I am half way through my second trimester and gained 5 pounds so far (I will update with a follow-up post the beginning of next year when I am closer to by due date).  I was borderline normal weight and overweight prior to getting pregnant according to the BMI charts (5’3” at 140 pounds).

Quick background on my torn hip labrum

I tore my hip labrum 4 years ago in a car accident when another vehicle decided to make a U-turn on the freeway.  I’ve been to two chiropractors, two rounds of physical therapy, two MRIs, two x-rays, and two orthopedic surgeons before someone figured out I had a small tear on my hip labrum earlier this year (yes it took this long for the doctors to realize that I am not going away until they take my hip pain seriously).  By all accounts, there does not seem to be anything physically wrong with me since I walk several miles a day and exercise regularly.  But as anyone with an internal injury can tell you, just because you are physical whole does not make you well.

Have my hip pain gotten worst with pregnancy?

Yes, it has.  There are more days when my hip pain is in the 4-5 range than I would like.  It is still manageable, but enough for me to fear that the worst is yet to come.  There are several factors that probably contributed to this increased in hip pain.

But it is not just my torn hip labrum that is causing me pain.  I also injured my back during the car accident.  I have not heard a peep from my injured back in years, but now it is making its come back tour.  Then you throw in the slight ache around my entire pelvis area (from the loosening of the ligaments due to the hormones getting your body ready to pass a baby through such a tiny opening, well, some days I wonder why I want a baby so badly).

However, not to scare you from having a baby, my pregnancy have been really easy.  I have no morning sickness (just threw up 3 times because I was too busy to eat when I was hungry.  It took me a while to learn this lesson), no constipation, no mood swings, no cravings.  I was really exhausted for a couple months, but that is to be expected when you are growing tiny hands and feet, but now my energy level is at 80% of what is used to be prior to pregnancy.  This could be genetic though because my mom had really easy pregnancies too.

Extra weight puts more stress on the torn hip labrum during pregnancy

My chiropractor warned me that excessive weight gain during pregnancy might make the hip pain worst.  Which makes sense.  My body probably reached a homeostatic state at 140 pounds, but when you add on extra weight and the shift in how I carry the weight (forward because of the protruding belly and shifting my normal posture as I get bigger), it exaggerates whatever existing small muscle imbalance I might have with my previous hip injury.  Because I have a ruler body shape and am petite, the 5 pounds all went to my stomach.  My waistline is 3-4 inches bigger than a few months ago at this point of my pregnancy.  I probably will be all stomach by the time I deliver.

In addition, as my ab muscles stretch to accommodate my increasing belly size, they become less efficient at stabilizing my body and maintain my posture.  This in turn causes my already weaken back muscles to pull a double shift.  I am not surprise I am experiencing back pain this early in my pregnancy compare to other women who previous do not have back issues.

Loosening ligaments might aggravate the scar tissues in my hip during pregnancy

When you are pregnant, you produce more relaxin hormones than normally presented in your body.  Relaxin is good because helps your body stretch by relaxing the joints in the pelvis area.  And when you are pregnancy, stretching is a good thing.  How else is your body going to manage the delivery?

However, relaxin does not just target the pelvis area.  It impacts the other joints in your body as well.  So this extra stretchiness effect can cause abnormal motion in my hip joints by changing my gait when I walk.  In addition, what remaining scar tissue I have in my hip joint is going to resist this loosening effect.  Remember my discussion about scar tissue?  The collagen on your scar tissue does not like flexing or contracting (movement). But as my hip joint loosens, this is going to result in inflammation and pain in my torn hip labrum during pregnancy.

How do you manage your hip pain during pregnancy?

I am doing the same things I did prior to pregnancy when it comes to managing my hip pain.  Foam rolling, icing, and hip exercises (albeit a little more frequently than I did before).  And sometimes just to relieve the small ache in my pelvis area, I would sit on an ice pad for a few minutes while I am reading before going to bed.  I have not taken any pain medication for my hip pain yet, but I have a bottle of Tylenol ready just in case.  Too bad you cannot take ibuprofen during pregnancy because that would ready help with knocking out the inflammation.  But icing and regularly moving my hip helps a lot.

Bed rest is the last thing I want during my pregnancy.  And I have a healthy fear of it becoming a reality from the comments I’ve gotten in my torn hip labrum post.  But I hope to keep it at bay as long as possible by doing my part to manage the hip pain during pregnancy.  After my pregnancy I hope to see my orthopedic surgeon again to assess the condition of my torn hip labrum because I was not a good candidate for surgery before.  I’ll keep you posted on what happens to my hip after my pregnancy a few months from now.

Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.

Interested in reading more about my hip pain saga?

My Hip Pain is from a Torn Labrum

Hip Exercises for a Hip Injury (Torn Labrum)

Deep Tissue Massage using Foam Roller Exercises for Hip Pain, Part 1

Deep Tissue Massage using Foam Roller Exercises for Hip Pain, Part 2

Torn Hip Labrum during Pregnancy

Can a Hip Labrum Heal Itself?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron October 23, 2010 at 7:29 am

It sounds like you’re doing all of the right things to manage your hip pain. You may, however, benefit from a roller that gets in a little deeper:


asithi October 23, 2010 at 11:00 am

Ron – I have never seen a foam roller like that before. It looks interesting. Is it just me, but does the pictures in make it look like it might be hallow? Or is it black foam on the inside?


Ron October 23, 2010 at 1:17 pm

The inside is a high-density black foam.


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