The short answer is no. A torn hip labrum (or any labral tear) cannot heal itself. However, when most people are asking this question, they are more interested in whether the pain of a torn hip labrum will disappear over time. The answer to that question is “it depends.”
Quick overview on your hip labrum
Your hip labrum is a gel-like cartilage that rims your hip socket to hold the hip joint in place, like a suction cup. However, your labrum does not have any nerve endings and no blood supply. The labrum receives its nourishment from the flow of fluids in your hip. Because there is no blood supply, your labrum cannot technically “heal itself.”
When your hip joint is at rest, the labrum soaks up the synovial fluid in the hip. When you take a step, it squeezes the fluid out. When you lift your leg, the fluid rushes back into the hip. This movement of the synovial fluid is the reason why hip exercises help manage the pain from your torn hip labrum in some cases.
Where is the tear of your labrum located?
The severity of your hip pain depends on the location of the tear and the amount of your scar tissue from the injury. The hip pain that you are experiencing is from your hip joint rubbing against the scar tissue from the hip injury. In some cases, you might experience the hip pain only when you rotate your hip and rub against the scar tissue.
Managing your torn labrum pain
As you can see from the comments on my torn hip labrum post, a few people insist that surgery is the only option for getting rid of the pain.
However, I have been able to manage the pain from my torn hip labrum for a few years with a combination of foam rolling and hip exercises. My orthopedic surgeon believed that I would not see much benefit from surgery due to the location of my tear. If you draw a clock around where I stand, my tear is at the one o’ clock position in the front near my groin area on my left hip.
I have to admit that I avoid most high impact exercises because of the labral tear. But since I am not much a high impact exercise type of person to begin with, it does not impact my lifestyle. However, if my runner friend was to have a labral tear on his hip, it would mean the end of his running days. And being a runner for the last 20 years, a torn hip labrum would have a HUGE impact on his lifestyle.
Pregnancy changes everything in your body, especially your hip area. I have plenty of friends complaining about wider hips after having babies. This confirms my orthopedic surgeon’s advice to at least wait until after a pregnancy before seeking surgery.
Pregnancy might “heal” your hip labrum (or make it worst)
Initially, my hip hurts a bit more during the first half of my pregnancy because of all the relaxin hormones flooding my body and loosen my joints. But during the second half of my pregnancy, my hip stopped bothering me. Instead, I am now suffering from back pain (which is common for most pregnant women as they gain weight and change their posture).
According to the physical therapist I saw recently, the widening of my hip might cause the hip joint to not rub against the labral tear, hence the decrease in my hip pain. So depending on the location of your torn hip labrum, your hip pain might disappear after pregnancy when your hip widens with pregnancy. I have no idea if this is permanent or if it is just a temporary lull in my battle with managing my torn hip labrum. But I am hopeful.
Regardless, I did get a good recommendation from the physical therapist on an orthopedic surgeon in my area specializing in repairing labral tears. So if your doctor recommends you see a physical therapist first before sending you to a specialist, it might be a good idea to ask if they would recommend a good specialist for your condition (after all, the physical therapists have to help rehabilitate the patients after the surgeons operate on them).
Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.
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