Cycling is your passion, your escape, your daily meditation. So when you feel a painful twinge in your hip during a ride, you brush it off and keep pedaling.
But the nagging discomfort persists and your surgeon delivers the devastating news – you have a torn hip labrum.
If this is you, you might be wondering – can I ride a bike with a torn hip labrum?
Unfortunately, you should not cycle until you are healed.
In this post, I’ll explain why cycling too soon will further damage your hip and give you tips to gradually get back on your bike once healed.
Is Cycling Good For Hip Labral Tears?
While cycling is considered a low-impact form of exercise, it is still bad for hip labral tears.
Also Read: Can I ride a bike after vasectomy
The hip labrum is a ring of cartilage that lines the hip socket and helps keep the hip joint stable during physical activities like walking, running, and cycling.
A torn hip labrum can cause pain, instability, and decreased range of motion.
Cycling involves repetitive hip flexion, which can put stress on the hip joint and irritate the torn labrum.
Plus, if you fall off the bike or hit a bump, the impact can worsen the tear.
However, if your hip labral tear is minor, and your doctor has cleared you for physical activity, you may be able to ride a bike safely
Why You Shouldn’t Cycle With A Hip Labral Tear
Riding a bike with a torn hip labrum can potentially be dangerous and cause further injury. Here are 4 reasons why it is a bad idea:
A torn hip labrum can cause severe pain in your hip joint and groin area.
The repetitive motion of pedaling a bike will likely aggravate this pain significantly and sharp aches may flare up when you push down with each pedal stroke.
The discomfort could reach unbearable levels during longer or more intense rides.
This can make it difficult to enjoy the activity and may even cause you to stop riding altogether if the pain gets too severe.
Continuing to cycle before a labral tear heals risks further damaging the injured area.
Also Read: Cycling After Tooth Extraction
The torn ring of cartilage that rims your hip socket will be exposed with each rotation of your hip joint as you pedal. This can lead to the tear worsening or additional injuries to surrounding structures like tendons or muscles.
You may end up with more pain, slower healing, and decreased hip stability.
Without proper rest, your risk of requiring surgery increases.
The labrum acts as the shock absorber for your hip joint, providing stability. When it tears, your hip bones have less cushioning between them and become loose and unstable.
This makes controlling your leg through each pedal stroke more challenging.
The instability can also cause your hip to catch or lock up while pedaling. Plus, you could wobble side to side or even fall off your bike.
A damaged labrum means that cushion between the ball and socket of your hip joint is compromised.
The bones grind against each other during movement, causing inflammation and wearing down the joint surfaces.
This process can eventually lead to hip osteoarthritis, a degenerative and progressive condition causing chronic pain, stiffness, loss of joint mobility, and reduced quality of life.
Continuing to ride a bike with an injured labrum before healing further accelerates this cartilage damage.
When Can You Ride A Bike?
The recovery time for a torn hip labrum can vary quite a bit depending on the severity of the tear, treatment approach, etc..
Here’s a general overview of hip labrum tear recovery timelines:
Minor tears often heal with 6-8 weeks of rest, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy.
Cycling and other activities can usually resume after this period of rest.
More significant partial tears take around 3-4 months to heal with conservative treatment.
Cycling may be possible after this point, but some modifications may be needed.
Also Read: Can You Swim in Bike Shorts?
Large, complex labral tears or ones with additional hip injuries like bone fractures often require surgery.
Recovery then involves 8-12 weeks on crutches, then several months of physical therapy. Total recovery time is generally 6-12 months before returning to cycling.
Labral repair or debridement surgeries require an additional recovery period of around 3-6 months before cycling can resume.
What Exercises Should Be Avoided With A Torn Hip Labrum?
Exercises that involve twisting or pivoting movements should be avoided with a torn hip labrum. This includes sports like basketball, soccer, and tennis. Additionally, exercises that put a lot of stress on your hip joint, such as running and jumping, should be avoided.
Can Exercise Worsen A Hip Labral Tear?
Exercise can worsen a hip labral tear if done incorrectly or if the injury is not properly managed. Moreover, overexertion and pushing yourself too hard can also worsen the injury.