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Best Exercises for Torn Labrum

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 19, 2020

The l abrum is the ring of cartilage that cushions your joint socket. It acts like a rubber seal to help keep your joints in their sockets. 

A torn labrum can happen in your hip or shoulder socket. There are two types of labral injuries: superior labrum from anterior to posterior (SLAP) tears and Bankart tears, on the lower rim of the labrum.

Playing sports can cause a strain on your hip and shoulder labrums leading to easier tearing. It’s important to condition the muscles by doing strength and flexibility exercises.

Exercises to Help Torn Labrum

A torn labrum in your hip or shoulder can take up to a year to heal, so make sure you do these exercises slowly. The exercises below are meant to strengthen and stretch your ligaments slowly.

Try these three exercises for torn hip labrum: 

Single-Leg Deadlift

This exercise is meant to strengthen your hips and improve your coordination. You can modify this exercise by not using weights at first.

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●Step 1: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Grab a kettlebell with one hand and lift the same side leg slightly behind you.

●Step 2: Hinge from your hips so your chest leans toward the floor, raising your leg higher behind you until it’s parallel to the floor. You can modify this exercise to go as far as your body allows. 

●Step 3: Hold for 10 seconds.

●Step 4: Return to the starting position, and repeat on the other side. 

Repeat for three sets with 10 repetitions each side. Do this multiple times per week.

Forward and Lateral Walk

This exercise will open up your hips and build endurance.

●Step 1: Place a resistance band right above your ankles and pull your hips back into a mini squat position. 

●Step 2: Staying in this position, walk forward for 15 to 20 steps. Rest for 30 seconds. 

●Step 3: Returning to the mini squat position, walk laterally (to the side) for 15 to 20 steps. Rest for 30 seconds.

●Step 4: Repeat, walking laterally in the other direction.

Repeat for three sets. Do this multiple times per week.

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Dead Bug Exercise

This exercise will help strengthen your core and won’t put pressure on your hips.

●Step 1: Lie on your back with your knees in the air bent at a 90 degree angle. Extend your arms and wrists straight up in the air. 

●Step 2: Tighten your core and slowly straighten and lower your right leg to the ground while reaching your left arm back overhead. 

●Step 3: Return to your starting position, and repeat with the other leg.

Repeat for three sets with 10 repetitions. Do this multiple times per week. 

Try these three exercises for torn shoulder labrum: 

Cross Body Stretch

This stretch will release tension you’re holding in your shoulder. You should feel these on the outside or back of your shoulder. 

●Step 1: Lay on your side with your hips and knees bent. Keep the lower shoulder and elbow at a 90 degree angle. 

●Step 2: Use your other hand to grab your elbow and gently pull it across your body. Hold for 30 seconds. 

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●Step 3: Repeat on the other side.

Do this stretch daily, in the morning and night.

Shoulder Flexion

This exercise will strengthen your shoulder muscles and limit stress on the torn labrum.

●Step 1: Start by lying on your side. Holding a light-weight dumbbell in your top hand, bring your arm slightly overhead. Keep your elbow straight. 

●Step 2: Keep your arm parallel to the floor during the movement. 

●Step 3: Repeat on the other side.

Repeat for three sets with 10 to 20 repetitions. Do this multiple times per week. 

Diagonal External Rotation

This exercise will help strengthen your rotator cuff and lower muscles that will support a full range of movement for your shoulder.

●Step 1: Stand upright with a resistance band in one hand. Anchor the band at waist level. 

●Step 2: Start with your hand in front of your opposite front hip pocket. Keep your elbow bent at a 90 degree angle during the exercise. 

●Step 3: Flex and rotate your arm across your body. Hold for 1 to 2 seconds, then reverse the movement slowly back to the starting position. 

●Step 4: Repeat on the other side

Repeat for three sets with 12 to 20 repetitions. Do this multiple times per week.

Safety Considerations

Torn labrum injuries can severely limit mobility and cause extreme pain. Be mindful of stretching and pushing yourself too much during these exercises. Stop immediately if you feel extreme pain during any of the movements. 

If your pain worsens and is not relieved by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) or ice packs, you should contact your doctor or physical therapist. 

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

BSR Physical Therapy: “Shoulder Labrum Tears: 5 Exercises Before Jumping into Surgery.”

Hospital for Special Surgery: “Shoulder Labrum Tears: An Overview.”

Mayo Clinic: “Hip labral tear.”

Medical News Today: “What is a shoulder labrum tear?”

Runner’s World: “How to Deal With an Inflamed Labrum of Hip Labral Tear.”

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