Hip Labral Tear Update

January 9, 2017

It has been almost 2 months since the diagnosis of my hip labral tear, and to be honest, I still don’t know what I am going do in regards to my training.

When I first got the labral tear diagnosis, I knew that if I wanted the tear to be fixed, I would have to have surgery. (It isn’t something that will repair on its own.) I was 100% convinced I would go through with the surgery because every time I ran I had pain, and I couldn’t imagine going through life without running. However, the steroid shot I got prior to the MRI helped a ton, and I have been able to run for the last several weeks–even working up to 40 miles this past week. Plus, as time has gone on, I’m not convinced that surgery is necessary. I’ve spent the past 2 months talking to friends who have had similar diagnosis, meeting with my PT and chiropractor (who specializes in sports chiropractic), rehabbing like crazy, and trying to get some answers from orthopedic surgeons who do labral tear repairs. Most have encouraged a more conservative approach rather than opting for surgery right away. While I have been frustrated it has taken so long to get a prognosis on my hip, it has given me time to think through what I really want to do.

What I really want to do: train like crazy, race a lot this summer, run a marathon in the fall, and have no pain through all of it.

What the reality is: my hip is not healthy and high volume training is not something that can happen right now.

At this point in time, I do not plan to have surgery. I am not convinced the labral tear is even causing my hip flexor pain. My gut tells me the pain is from something else. I have pain with runs over about 8 miles but speed and faster workouts don’t bother it. I don’t have the classic symptoms of a labral tear, and someone told me if you take 100 runners and do an MRI on their hip, 50 of them are going to come back with a labral tear–and most might not even have symptoms. (So they are very common!) I notice that my hip hurts sometimes when I pull off my shoes, which I don’t think should hurt if it is a labral tear causing the pain. Anyway, I am going to take it day-by-day and week-by-week and see what happens.

I was hoping to get opinions from a few doctors who specialize in repairing the hip labrum, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a lot of information. Here’s what I did find out though.

Doctor #1 – I made an appointment to see a doctor here in Anchorage in November. When I called to make the appointment, the receptionist said the doctor does do labral tear surgeries, however, when I went to actually meet with him, he told me he doesn’t do surgery on labral tears. Ugh! I was frustrated I wasted my time and money. He did say the labral tear was small, but he really didn’t say whether he thought surgery was necessary (probably because it isn’t his specialty).

Doctor #2 – I called the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota since they are world-renowned and close to where my parent’s live in Minnesota. When I initially called to make the appointment, I was under the assumption I would be having surgery. They said they might be able to get me in before the end of 2015, so I was thinking I could capitalize on the money I had already paid towards my deductible and out-of-pocket and do the surgery by the end of 2015 without having to pay a lot of money. Ultimately, they weren’t able to get me in for an appointment until the beginning of January and by that time I was leaning towards not having surgery anyhow.

Doctor #3 – As soon as I was diagnosed with the labral tear, I made an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon here in Anchorage that my doctor referred me to. The earliest I could get in was the beginning of January. During the wait, I heard that this surgeon is good at what he does, but if at all possible, go to someone who is excellent at what they do. I ended up canceling the appointment mostly because I was still waiting to hear back from doctor #4.

Doctor #4 – This was the doctor I was particularly anxious to get a prognosis from. He was a world-renowned doctor out of Minnesota who is known for working with elite runners and has done a lot of labral tear surgeries. He does complimentary reviews of paperwork, so I thought this would be my best option because then I wouldn’t have to fly to Minnesota to see him, and it wouldn’t cost me a dime. There was a lot of back a forth trying to get documents, MRI images, and x-rays from the doctor here in town to him in Minnesota. Finally after 2 months, I get a call from the receptionist saying the doctor wants me to see me in person, go to 3 appointments, and have more imaging done. Ah!!! So much for any help. She asked me if I was having anterior groin pain (That’s exactly where my pain has been!), so I’m not sure what the doctor saw, but I was shocked he “knew” exactly where my pain was. I would assume the MRI and x-ray images must have been inconclusive, which is why he needed more imaging to be done.

I’m still torn as to what to do, but I like to think these things all happened for a reason. I just don’t know what that reason is yet. Sigh. . . .

7 Comments
    1. You’re still running more than me 🙂 I did do my first 4×800’s this week though on the dreadmill.

    1. Someone told me this a long time ago and I stick with it. You are the expert over your body. You know your body better than anyone else or any doctor. You are the only one that can feel what is going on with your hip. If you are not convinced 100% at the moment, keep researching and doing what you are doing until you feel comfortable.

      Of course, I am not saying perform surgery on yourself… but if you feel like surgery is not the best option right now, then wait it out and keep thinking it over.

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