Diagnosing a torn hip labrum: hip labral tear surgery recovery blog
Pictured: Before my torn hip labrum diagnosis, the last time I did the Harvard Stadium stairs in May 2017
Hello, fair readers! It’s been a while since I’ve posted–mainly because as you can tell from the post title, I’ve been going through some health issues related to my hips: torn hip labrums on both sides.
To keep a long story short, I had been experiencing massive amounts of muscle tightness in my right glutes, hip flexor, and piriformis muscles. I thought it was just general tightness and was trying to stretch and foam roll my way into some relief. I should have known something was up, since instead of a foam roller I was using a straight up PVC pipe, but that’s neither here nor there at this point.
I lived with the discomfort for probably about two years. I was pushing through the pain, doing the stair stepper, weight lifting, and boxing at every chance. However, those were the things that likely did me in.
After a fun, but strenuous boot-camp class, I could barely stand up from a seated position or walk comfortably. I was also experiencing sciatica. That was the breaking point when I knew I had to get it checked out.
I started with physical therapy at Spaulding Rehab in Cambridge. I loved my therapist, but the pain was persistent, so they ended up doing an MRI, dye injection, and cortisone shot at MGH. The MRI showed that the right hip labrum was torn!
As the orthopedist described the labrum, the hip socket has two types of cartilage: hard and soft. The labrum is soft, like the cartilage of your ears or nose.
So it turns out the muscle tightness was stemming from the fact that my hip was unstable and the muscles were overcompensating to make up for it.
Around Thanksgiving, I started experiencing sciatica and leg numbness on the left side. “Here we go,” I thought. I got a second MRI on the left hip, and lo and behold, that side was also torn! It was probably a combination of overuse, like the right, but could also be attributed to the left overcompensating for the right.
For now, I’ve eased away from physical therapy and am doing home-based exercises like planks and leg lifts to build strength and stability in the hips and surrounding areas. I am trying to keep my weight stable as to not put extra pressure on the joints.
Since July I’ve ramped my activity way back and am just doing walking, elliptical, yoga, Pilates, and some light upper body weights. I have to be careful of over-stressing my back, too, since it gets a little tweaky from the instability in the hips.
Due to some personal and work travel, I’ve scheduled the first surgery for mid-April 2018, and hopefully I can get the second surgery later. Let’s just do this thing and get it all done in two fell swoops.
I’d love to hear from anyone who has had the surgery! I’ve discovered a few people who have had pretty good experiences with surgery. I am actually surprised that this seems to be a relatively common injury! I’ll try to keep TRF updated with my progress over the next few months.
I know you wrote these posts awhile back, but I just wanted to say they’ve been so helpful for me. I have a torn hip labrum and will be having surgery this coming week. I’m so nervous about the whole thing from the surgery to the recovery, but reading another person’s experience has been helpfuk
Aww, thanks, Robin! Where are you getting your surgery? I was really nervous before the surgery, too, but the recovery wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I actually might be getting the second hip done in the fall, so now I’ll have a better idea of what to expect.
Aww, I’m glad! I have to say after 1 year and 2 months it is really feeling a lot better. I think it will always be a little tight, but my back pain is so much less now and I can do some squats and jumps at the gym. Please let me know if you have any other questions, especially right after surgery. And thank you for your service!
Welcome to The Roving Fox, a travel and lifestyle blog written and curated by travel blogger Stephanie Janes.
The Roving Fox is my ramblings on the good life, including travel, beauty, and dining.
Based in Boston, travels everywhere.