All sports carry a risk of certain injuries based on the specific set of movements that are necessary and repeated in order to participate in that sport. Athletes involved in sports that require lots of extension of the legs and bending of the hip joint are at an increased risk for hip injuries, and issues like labral tears and hip impingement are becoming increasingly common in certain sports populations.
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint in which the “ball” is the thighbone (femur) and the “socket” is the pelvic bone (acetabulum). Both the femur and the acetabulum are covered with smooth articular cartilage that protects the bones and prevents them from rubbing against one another. But in addition to this protection is the labrum, which is another specialized piece of cartilage that provides a suction seal and stability to the hip joint.
Hip impingement is a condition in which excess bone that’s formed around the head or neck of the femur causes the two bones to rub against each other. This causes pain and decreases the range of motion of the hip. Labral tears, which are also common, occur when the labrum is damaged from being pulled too far away from the socket. These tears may result from a traumatic incident like a fall or an accident, but in most cases they’re considered overuse injuries that are caused by too much time repeating motions that involve the hip joint. Athletes in sports like soccer, football, ice hockey, long-distance running and even golf are more susceptible to these injuries due to their mechanics.
Both of these conditions can lead to similar symptoms, which usually includes pain in the hip or groin, stiffness and a catching-like sensation in the hip. In many cases, labral tears actually don’t lead to signs or symptoms, but when they do, it can seriously interfere with your ability to function normally and participate in athletic activities.
Injuries that affect the hip labrum can be treated conservatively (non-surgically), and physical therapy is often recommended to address these issues. At Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City, we can effectively treat hip labrum injuries, and our treatment program typically consists of the following components:
- A full-scale evaluation in which the physical therapist will identify specific movements or activities that may aggravate pain and advise against them
- Recommendations for rest and limiting or temporarily stopping participation in whatever sport caused the injury; icing the injured area is also helpful
- A muscle-strengthening program that focuses on the muscles of the hip, as well as the core and legs, which will also affect the functioning of the hip
- Manual therapy, in which the physical therapist will gently move muscles and joints to decrease pain and improve motion and strength
- Movement re-education, which will include self-stretching techniques to help restore normal motion of the hip, back and legs; we will also offer advice on stretches to avoid, like passive stretching, which can be damaging to the hip
Dynamic Sports Physical Therapists in New York City commonly see these injuries, and we are experienced in bringing patients with these issues back to their pre-injury level of participation. (Read our success story on Christine here.) Call us at 212-317-8303 for more information or to schedule an appointment.