By Cristina Goyanes
February 14, 2013

Backing out of prior commitments for serious health reasons makes sense for an 85-year-old pope, but not 26-year-old Lady Gaga.

Admitting on Twitter recently to having hidden a concert injury for a long time, the Grammy-awarding winning singer just announced that she needs to cancel the rest of her "Born This Way Ball" tour (more than a dozen shows) to undergo surgery for a labral tear of the right hip caused from repetitive stress.

"The hip joint is a ball and socket with a very large range of motion," says Steven F. Harwin, M.D., chief of adult reconstruction and total joint replacement of the hip and knee at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. "With strenuous physical activity, the ball can separate slightly from the socket and catch the labrum in between, resulting in a tear." Gaga also suffers from synovitis, severe inflammations of the hip joint lining.

While common in older people suffering from arthritis, young men and women are susceptible to this type of damage too, especially if they engage in high-level sports (up to 22 percent of athletes with groin pain have a labral tear, reports WebMD) and strenuous physical activities, Dr. Harwin warns. Perhaps all those crazy-intense dance sequences in sky-high heels finally caught up with Gaga, and hardcore training sessions for the tour surely hasn't helped.

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While Dr. Harwin says a labral tear can sometimes be treated with rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy, as well as lifestyle modifications, Gaga may be turning to surgery if the pop diva has already tried everything.

"I've been hiding a show injury and chronic pain for sometime now," Gaga wrote on her Twitterfeed on February 12. "Over the past month it has worsened. I've been praying it would heal."

Recovery from this type of arthroscopic surgery-where a telescope is placed inside the hip along with small instruments to remove or repair the tear-is fairly quick, Dr. Harwin says. She may only need crutches for a few days, followed by a cane. Physical therapy will take the longest time, 12 weeks or more, so Gaga may be sidelined until early summer.


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