The pop icon had been hiding a show injury for a while. Not wanting to disappoint her fans she ignored the chronic pain she endured. “I’ve been praying it would heal. I hid it from my staff,” wrote Lady Gaga. ¹ Eventually, she was no longer able to walk and had to cancel her tour. Lady Gaga, underwent hip surgery, last month, for what turn out to be a right labral hip tear. We might not think of this type of injury happening to someone as young and physically fit as she is, but according to Allston Stubbs, an orthopedic surgeon at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, “(A labral tear) affects a younger subset of patients,” ²
I don’t usually ‘follow’ Lady Gaga but when I heard her unfortunate news, I was eager to learn more about how labral injuries develop so I could safe guard myself and my clients from the pain and discomfort associated with them. As a singer/dancer and a fitness trainer, certified in Pilates, I frequently get asked questions about hip pain and tightness.
Lunges like peaceful warrior and warrior one from yoga are excellent for opening the hips and increasing blood flow. For people with sedentary occupations, it’s important to correct the prolonged hip flexion of sitting.
Risk Factors For Hip Tears
The labrum is a ring of soft cartilage formed around the edge of the bony socket of the hip joint. It helps provide stability and flexibility to the joint. Lady Gaga’s high energy routines require repeated high intensity movements which can lead to hip labral damage. UNFORTUNATELY, Dancers and athletes are at higher risk for this type of injury. That would include my students who participate in multiple dance aerobics classes that involve repetitive twisting and pivoting motions. In addition to overuse, pre-existing conditions are also risk factors.
A tear can occur from an isolated traumatic event or from repetitive trauma. It can also form from the natural progression of aged joints. 
Symptoms may include one or more of the following:
- A locking, clicking or catching sensation in your hip joint
- Pain in your hip or groin
- Stiffness or limited range of motion in your hip joint.
Recovery – Maintenance – Prevention
After a period of rest and recovery, in her stylish 24-Karat gold-plated wheelchair, Lady Gaga will most likely have a program of physical rehabilitation. Integrating Pilates into her physical therapy is important in that it would open up a wider range of new exercises an experienced dancer like her needs to keep from getting bored. The beneficial qualities of Pilates in enhancing flexibility, core strength and muscle balance are valuable. Combined with physical therapy, Pilates can greatly improve function with labral injuries. 
A predictable pattern of muscular imbalances in the pelvis, has been discovered with labral tears, known as lower crossed syndrome. Tightness of the hip flexors and lumbar erector spinae with weak abdominal and glutial muscles are typical of this syndrome. The imbalance leads to increased hip flexion, anterior pelvic tilt and a hyperlordosis of the lumbar spine.  These problems may be improved by a Pilates program prescribed by a doctor or physical therapist. Most important, before problems occur, consider making Pilates part of your fitness training while your hips are healthy.
Sitting for long periods can tighten the hip flexors and weaken the glutes. This standing bow pose (dancers pose) I am demonstrating, can help correct this imbalance by lengthening the hip flexors and strengthen the glutes.
A Better YOU
We often neglect ourselves while striving to take care of the needs of others until mental, emotional or physical discomfort occurs. Lack of exercise, stress and poor nutrition all lead to dis-ease. I help my clients aspire to achieve their best physical condition in body, mind and spirit. I do this by encouraging them to combine their fitness with several factors considered valuable to overall wellness. You can have radiant health and together we will enjoy achieving it!
Fitness is Better Together
Exercising with a friend is fun and it will help you stick with it. My sister Maria Lauren and I love presenting positive fitness techniques together. Here, we are doing a modified back bend or half camel. This is a great stretch for the front of the body and for improving spinal flexibility. A wonderful remedy for tightness if you spend a lot of time hunched over a computer.
It’s important to remember that camel pose is not about reaching your heel. It’s more about opening your entire spine in a large arch. Keep in mind that with half camel, your hips should press forward, your heart needs to open and expand upward and your glutes move away from your heels.
Diagnosing Hip Pain
The source of hip pain can be very difficult to interpret and treat. Pain can result from under or over use of muscles, tightness, or excess length. These muscular imbalances may be the result of neurological changes, not only structural changes in the muscle.  Diagnosing anterior hip pain is very complicated because the multiple structures in the hip have the potential to produce similar pain syndromes.  If you are experiencing pain please see your doctor or physical therapist for a proper evaluation and discuss any new exercise programs with them.
Enjoy daily hip flexor stretches. Take a deep breath and spend a moment being grateful. May you be blessed with a lifetime of healthy hips,
In health ~ Linda
“Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” Jeremiah 17:14
1) Facebook – Lady Gaga, February 12
2) CNN Health February 15, 2013 Gaga’s injury related to ‘being active’ by Caitlin Hagan
3) Hip Laberal Tear – Symptoms, Causes – Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hip-labral-tear/basics/causes/con-20031062
4) A comprehensive review of hip labral tears – Megan M. Groh and Joseph Herrera PMCID: PMC2697339, 2009 April 7
5) Pilates Program Design for Acetabular Labral Rehab, , Kristine Reynolds – Put Me Back Together
6) Janda, Vladimir. Evaluation of muscular imbalance: rehabilitation of the spine. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1996. p. 97–112
7) Rehabilitating Psoas Tendonitis: A Case Report Jaime Edelstein, PT, MSPT, CSCS – PMCID:2642547 HSSJ (2009) 5: 78–82)
8) Anterior Hip Pain – John W. O’Kane, M.D., University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington – American Family Physician. 1999 Oct 15;60(6):1687-1696.
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