Shoulder labral tears

Shoulder labral tears

Shoulder Condition

Shoulder labral tears​

Advances in medical technology are enabling doctors to identify and treat injuries that went unnoticed 20 years ago. For example, physicians can now use miniaturized television cameras to see inside a joint. With this tool, they have been able to identify and treat a shoulder injury called a glenoid labrum tear.

Causes

Injuries to the tissue rim surrounding the shoulder socket can occur from acute trauma or repetitive shoulder motion. Examples of traumatic injury include:

  • Falling on an outstretched arm
  • A direct blow to the shoulder
  • A sudden pull, such as when trying to lift a heavy object
  • A violent overhead reach, such as when trying to stop a fall or slide

 
Throwing athletes or weightlifters can experience glenoid labrum tears as a result of repetitive shoulder motion.

Treatment

Until the final diagnosis is made, your physician may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and rest to relieve symptoms. Rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles may also be recommended.

If these nonsurgical measures are insufficient, your doctor may recommend surgery. Depending upon your injury, your doctor may perform a traditional, open procedure, or an arthroscopic procedure in which small incisions and miniature instruments are used

Rehabilitation

After surgery, you will need to keep your shoulder in a sling for 3 to 6 weeks, depending on your doctor’s recommendation. Your doctor will also prescribe gentle, passive, pain-free range-of-motion exercises. When the sling is removed, you will need to do motion and flexibility exercises and gradually start to strengthen your shoulder.

Athletes can usually begin doing sport-specific exercises 12 weeks after surgery, although it will be 4 to 6 months before the shoulder is fully healed.