A torn labrum or labral tears can cause shoulder pain, decreased range of motion and instability in the shoulder. The labrum is the rim of cartilage that lines the socket portion of the shoulder ball and socket joint, helping keep the upper humerus in place. When a tear occurs, treatment can include either conservative rehabilitation or surgery, depending on the extent of the injury.
Labral tears are often caused by overuse or extreme exertion on the shoulder joint. Throwing motions or heavy lifting can result in a torn labrum, common in certain sports like baseball or weightlifting. However, the labrum can become weaker with age, resulting in easier tearing of this cartilage from less strenuous activities. An orthopedic surgeon can perform a thorough diagnosis and determine the extent of the injury and recommend treatment.
Treatment is usually confined to using anti-inflammatory medications, rest and eventual physical therapy to improve mobility. This can allow the cartilage to repair, resulting in more stability in the shoulder joint and reduction of other symptoms.
Arthroscopic Surgery for Torn Labrum
If conservative treatment for labral tears is ineffective, or if there is more severe damage, arthroscopic surgery may be recommended. In more severe injuries, there may also be bicep tendon tears and labral tears that need treatment. Arthroscopy can be used to remove the torn flap of the labrum and reattach bicep tendons. After surgery, the patient will wear a sling to support the shoulder as it heals. Physical therapy or exercises will be recommended to regain mobility after surgery.
Dr. Kerisimasi Reynolds is an experienced orthopedic surgeon who specializes in arthroscopic surgery. If you have labral tears and need surgical intervention, contact our practice in the San Jose area for an evaluation. Many insurance plans are accepted – call today to schedule your appointment.