Hip Labral tears are common in recreational and competitive golfers due to the twisting forces on the hip during the golf swing. Pro golfers Steve Stricker and Greg Norman have sustained hip labral tears during their careers, and returned to competitive play after having arthroscopic surgery to repair the labrum - the band of cartilage surrounding the hip joint. A 2003 study of PGA golfers found a five-yard increase in drive distance after surgery.
What is a hip labral tear?
Hip labral tears, which occur when the labrum is injured, are most commonly caused by repetitive trauma to the hip joint. For golfers, this may be as simple as squatting down to read a putt.
Golfers at the highest risk may have femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) - a condition caused when abnormally shaped hip bones damage the hip joint over time. This type of long term damage can lead to tearing of the labrum, followed by pain and weakness.
Can I prevent a hip labral tear?
For many golfers, weakness in the hip, thigh and core muscles often leads to poor swing mechanics and is cause for an increased risk of injury. In fact, power and distance should naturally follow when golfers practice proper swing mechanics.
For golfers interested in identifying their areas of weakness and risk factors for injury, a golf strengthening program may be the perfect solution. Dr. Ian Rice, Sports Medicine Orthopedic Surgeon, says these programs allow for an evaluation of each participant and will guide a focused, customized strengthening program to minimize injury and maximize performance.
How do I treat a hip labral tear?
Hip labral tears, like most injuries, will be treated based on the severity and goals of each patient.
Surgery is not always required, and some patients will improve with proper nonsurgical treatments such as aggressive physical therapy.
For patients that do not have success after nonsurgical treatment, minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery may be offered to repair the labrum and, if necessary, remove bone spurs. Surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis, and therapy is started within a day or two after the procedure. Patients may use crutches for four to eight weeks after surgery, and return to golf after three to six months.