What are  shoulder labral tears?

  • A layer of cartilage in the shoulder called the labrum helps keep the “ball” (or humeral head) in the “socket” (or glenoid). Since the shoulder is a joint with significant flexibility allowing for movement in all directions, the labrum helps stabilize this joint through motion.
  • The labrum can tear from trauma or excessive wear and tear, creating some instability in the shoulder. This instability may cause the rotator cuff muscles to be overworked, causing inflammation of the rotator cuff (see above) and pain in the shoulder.

What are the symptoms?

  • The pain is in the shoulder and often deep inside the shoulder with some pain just below the outside of the shoulder. It increases with arm movement, especially during overhead activities or while getting dressed.
  • A lot of times this may be accompanied by a painful clicking or clunking sensation in the shoulder.

What does Dr. Tracy do to diagnose it?

  • Dr. Tracy will obtain a history, perform a physical examination and may request imaging to diagnose this problem.
  • Occasionally biomechanical imbalances or risk factors may be identified that put your body at risk for developing a problem with your labum.
  • Labral pain may often be diagnosed with other tests, such as a diagnostic ultrasound or an MRI with contrast (arthrogram).

What does Integrated Sports & Spine do to treat it?

  • Shoulder pain may be rehabilitated with some or all of the following:
    • A combination of medications
    • Modification of activity
    • Proper use of ice and heat
    • And exercising as prescribed in order to improve posture and shoulder strength is key to rehabilitating labral pain.
  • Occasionally a steroid (corticosteroid or cortisone) injection can be helpful to alleviate pain in order to advance your exercise program.
  • A guided, progressive, and slow return of activity is also important in preventing a relapse.
  • If aggressive non-operative techniques are unsuccessful, surgery may be considered.