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Playing sport puts pressure on all your joints, and you are very lucky to go through an entire sporting lifetime without sustaining some kind of injury. Hip injuries are very common, due to the twisting and turning motions required in most sports, with a hip labrum tear one of the more common experienced.
You will usually notice hip pain immediately, at the front of the joint. This is often caused by a acetabular labrum tear, which can usually be identified using a CT or MRI scan. There is now a procedure which can help to fix this problem relatively quickly, with surgeons using an arthroscopic technique. The labrum helps to stabilise your hip, acting as a shock absorber, and injury is often associated with sports such as football and rugby.
If you are suffering from hip pain you need to speak to your GP who may want to refer you for a scan to confirm the diagnosis. From here you will generally be referred for surgery. This is done under general anaesthetic but as it only takes about an hour you won’t usually need to stay in hospital.
After your surgery, you’ll need to use crutches for a few days to avoid overloading your hips and further hip pain. Then you’ll see a physiotherapist to help you recover your full range of movement. Hydrotherapy pools are often good for hip patients, as they allow you to mobilise your joints without compressing them. Try using a buoyancy belt in the water as this can give you extra support and help to keep your hips mobilised.
Once your hips are mobile again then you need to start work on strengthening them. You will work on getting the affected side back to full strength before returning to your usual exercise programme. It is often a good idea to wear compression shorts after surgery as these can help to support you during your exercises and avoid further injury. You should be back to normal in about three months.
It’s hard to avoid hip labral tear if you regularly play sports. But you can be sensible about the amount of weight bearing exercises you do and try to avoid putting undue pressure on any of your joints. You will need to rest if you have been suffering from hip problems, so don’t try to force yourself back into your usual regime too quickly, as you could run the risk of injuring yourself further.
Physiotherapists will help you to gradually ease yourself back into sport - helping you to get back to optimum levels of fitness and will always give you appropriate exercises to work the affected muscles, helping to remobilise and rehabilitate them. It is important that you listen to expert advice and carry out these exercises properly for them to have the best effect and avoid further hip pain.