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Labral Tears Physiotherapy: Symptoms & Treatment

Labral tears are a common injury in the hip joint, often caused by trauma or repetitive stress. Physiotherapy interventions, including manual therapy and exercise, can help manage pain, improve joint mobility, and restore function for individuals with this condition.

As with all injuries, this information is simply a guide, and it is always best to check in with a Physiotherapist or Athletic Therapist to have a personalized assessment and hear recommendations for what you and your body may specifically need.

Two of the most mobile joints in the body are the shoulder and the hip. Both joints rely heavily on the surrounding musculature (the rotator cuff in the shoulder and the gluts, hip flexors and rotators in the hip) and other soft tissues for stability and alignment as they move. One of the soft tissues that helps with stability and alignment is the labrum. The labrum is a ring of smooth cartilaginous tissue that surrounds the socket joint in your shoulder and hip. 

What are Labral Tears?

A labral tear is a rip in this cartilage tissue of either the shoulder or the hip. Causes of labral tears may include repetitive overhead motion such as throwing sports, lifting heavy objects, or direct force to the shoulder joint. In order to diagnose a labral tear accurately radiologic imaging such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans are often required. Physiotherapy is typically recommended as the first line of treatment for this condition; it focuses on restoring normal range of motion and strength through manual therapy techniques such as soft tissue massage, stretching exercises, and strengthening exercises. In more severe cases surgical intervention may be necessary to repair any damage done to the labrum.

Treatments For Labral Tears

Labral tears of the shoulder can be treated with various methods. Physiotherapy treatments for labral tears include exercises that target strength, flexibility, and shoulder joint stability. These exercises may include rotator cuff strengthening, stretching, scapular stabilization, proprioception drills, and postural corrections. Surgical treatments for labral tears include arthroscopic debridement or repair of the labrum using sutures or anchor implants. Rehabilitation following surgical treatment typically involves a gradual progression from protected range of motion exercises to resisted exercises as directed by an experienced physiotherapist or sports medicine doctor in order to restore normal shoulder function.

Early initiation of appropriate therapeutic interventions is essential for optimal long-term outcome following a labral tear. Exercises that target strengthening and stretching of the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint can help improve function, reduce pain, and prevent re-injury. Additionally, education regarding proper technique when performing activities that require repetitive overhead motions is also important in preventing further injury or aggravation of existing symptoms associated with a labral tear.

Your Physiotherapist or Athletic Therapist will use manual therapy to reduce pain and increase mobility through soft tissue release, joint mobilization and range of motion work. Your treatment plan will also include exercises to improve stability and strength in your shoulder. With a slightly stretched out or torn labrum, it will be imperative that your musculature and proprioception be strong and stable around the joint. Your Physiotherapist or Athletic Therapist will also provide you with education about lifestyle modifications, and explain reasonable expectations regarding recovery.

The severity of the injury will determine recovery time. An injury that responds well to Physiotherapy or Athletic Therapy treatment will typically have a 6 to 12-week recovery period. A severe injury requiring surgery will have a recovery time of at least 3 to 6 months. As with many injuries, your commitment to your exercise plan and lifestyle modifications will be an important influence on your recovery.

As with all injuries, this information is simply a guide, and it is always best to check in with a Sports Physiotherapist or Athletic Therapist to have a personalized assessment and hear recommendations for what you and your body may specifically need.

Contact Us For Help

Inertia Physio+ offers Kanata and Stittsville exceptional Physiotherapy, Athletic Therapy and Registered Massage Therapy with private treatment rooms, one on one care, a maximum of two patients per hour and treatment focused on the evidence-based practices of manual and exercise therapy. Don’t suffer any longer.  If you have pain or injury, our Kanata and Stittsville Physiotherapy, Athletic Therapy, and Registered Massage Therapy team is here to help you get back to living pain-free life and activities.  Please reach out to us at (613) 672-2200 or for an appointment today! You are also welcome to book online. We also offer direct billing on Physiotherapy and Massage Therapy services whenever your plan allows.


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