Shoulder Labral Tear
The shoulder joint is a “ball and socket” joint that enables the smooth gliding of the bones of the arm to enable movement of arms. However, it is inherently unstable because of the shallow socket. A soft rim of cartilage, the labrum lines the socket and deepens it so that it better accommodates the head of the upper arm bone.
Traumatic injury to the shoulder or overuse of the shoulder (with repeated throwing or weightlifting) may cause a labral tear. In addition, ageing may weaken the labrum, leading to injury.
Shoulder labral tear injury may cause symptoms such as pain, catching or locking sensation, decreased range of motion and joint instability.
A shoulder labral tear is often diagnosed by its symptoms, history, physical examination and radiological techniques. Magnetic resonance arthroscopy may be ordered for diagnosing shoulder labral tears.
Conservative treatment options
Your doctor may initially recommend conservative approaches such as prescribing anti-inflammatory medications and advise rest to relieve symptoms until diagnostic scans are performed. Rehabilitation exercises may be recommended to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles.
If the symptoms do not resolve with these conservative measures, your doctor may recommend arthroscopic surgery. During arthroscopic surgery, your surgeon examines the labrum and the biceps tendon. If the damage is confined to the labrum without involving the tendon, then the torn flap of the labrum will be removed. In cases where the tendon is also involved or if there is a detachment of the tendon, absorbable wires or sutures will be used to repair and reattach the tendon. After the surgery, you will be given a shoulder sling to wear for 3-4 weeks. You will be advised motion and flexibility exercises after the sling is removed. These exercises increase the range of motion and flexibility of shoulder joint.