Hi! I'm Shelby, and I had major hip surgery at 27 years old.
What brought me here, you might be wondering? Well, to take it all the way back to the beginning, I've been experiencing pain and tightness in my hips as early as my teenage years. As in, whenever I'd bring my knees to my chest pre-surgery, my hip sockets would feel SUPER tight and painful, as if they needed immediate relief.
So something I started doing to give my hips "relief" was bringing my knees to my chest and moving them side to side in order to make my hips crack. I thought the cracking released the tightness and was helping my hips (spoiler alert: It wasn't and I should've never been doing this in the first place).
One night in bed last summer, I was doing my good ol' hip cracking when I felt a really sharp pain in my right hip. I immediately stopped and figured it was just a fluke, but in the weeks following, my groin area on my right side was SUPER tender and stiff. Even walking up and down stairs became a challenge.
I assumed my pain was just due to a really bad groin strain, so I eased back on my workouts and waited for it to pass. But about two months down the road, I realized things weren't getting better. Although my groin and hip weren't consistently hurting on a regular basis like they were at the beginning of my injury, I still felt deep, lasting pain anytime I tried to walk more than half a mile or do something as simple as a lunge or squat. Needless to say, I needed some help.
I'm fortunate enough to have employer-sponsored health insurance through Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, so I consulted Dr. Joseph Cooper, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Docs Spine + Orthopedics here in Los Angeles. After X-rays, two months of physical therapy that didn't improve my symptoms, and an MRI, Dr. Cooper concluded that I'd torn my labrum in my right hip.
According to Dr. Cooper, "The hip is a ball-and-socket joint and the labrum is essentially a ring of tissue that surrounds the socket part of the joint to help hold the ball in a good position and allow it to move smoothly as the hip moves. Labral tears can happen when you fall or have an injury, but they can also happen when your hips are shaped a little differently than normal, with more bone than usual on some parts of the hip. The extra bone causes two parts of the hip — the socket part and a part just behind the ball called the neck of the hip — to bump into each other when you bend the hip deeply. This is called hip impingement and repetitive hip impingement can lead to labral tears."
This difference in hip shape is called a CAM deformity, which Dr. Cooper confirmed I have in both of my hips. My right labrum likely tore due to repetitive stress, impingement, and/or "micro-injuries" (aka cracking my hips, among other things).
Dr. Cooper also explained that labral tears from micro-injuries are "more common in certain sports that require a lot of hip flexion. ... That being said, it happens commonly in people who do not currently or never have played a lot of sports. The theory of why it happens is the same: repetitive injury or aggravation, but the cause can be hard to pin down."
Note: I'm not an athlete in ANY sense of the word so I guess I'm just special.