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Exercises to Repair and Rehabilitate a Torn Labrum Without Surgery

By Sarka-Jonae Miller

Labrum is cartilage in the shoulder or hip joint that provides a cup-like support to the bones of the arm and leg, respectively. The labrum can tear when too much stress is placed on it. Pain with certain movements or an achy feeling in the joint is indicative of a tear. Sometimes a catching feeling in the joint is the only symptom. Surgery is sometimes necessary but exercises can help rehab a tear without surgery.

Shoulder Exercises

Range of motion exercises and rotator cuff strengthening exercises are used to rehabilitate a torn labrum. Usually this will follow a period of rest. Pain medication, especially anti-inflammatory medication, should be used along with exercise. About four to six weeks of rehab exercises should lead to recovery. One range of motion rehab exercise for the shoulder is done by lying on the edge of a couch, massage table, or bed. Lie face down and hang your injured arm over the side toward the floor. Relax your neck and swing your arm forward about 15 degrees. Allow it to swing back and forth. Over time you can increase the distance of the swing to 45 degrees. Another range of motion exercise you can do is to slowly make small circles with your arm while it is hanging down. Start with small circles and increase the size of the circles if you do not feel pain. Do five to 10 circles in each direction.

Hip Exercises

Tears in the hip labrum may require surgery, but before resolving yourself to surgery, try hip range-of-motion and strengthening exercises. If symptoms do not go away within a month you may need surgery. Hip arthroscopy is a minor surgery. One of the best exercises you can do to rehab a hip tear with or without surgery is running in a pool. You can wear a buoyancy belt to enable you to run without having to touch the pool's bottom. Your physical therapist can prescribe specific strengthening and stabilization exercises based on your movements to rehab your individual problem. Range of motion exercises such as the hip adduction and hip flexor stretch are also helpful. To stretch your hips, lie on your back and bring the knee of the injured hip to your chest. Keep the other leg straight on the floor. Pull your knee into your chest by grabbing behind your knee. Another way to stretch the hip is to stand up and step forward with the foot of the uninjured leg. Keep both feet pointing forward. Bend your forward knee slightly and shift your weight onto your forward foot. Think of bringing your hips forward so you do not bend your torso forward. You will want to keep your back straight and shift forward until you feel the stretch in your injured hip. To stretch your hip adductors in your inner thighs, do the butterfly stretch. Sit up straight with the bottoms of your feet touching each other and your knees open to the sides. Try to touch your knees to the floor, but do not stretch so far as to incur pain. Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and do two to three times daily, unless told otherwise by your physician or physical therapist.

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