Why You May Need Labrum Tear Treatment
The labrum is a rim of fibrous tissue that resembles a rubber O-ring. The glenoid labrum surrounds the shoulder socket that helps keep the arm in place. Tears usually happen in the upper or lower part of the shoulder socket. There are two common types:
- SLAP (Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior) lesions are front to back tears in the upper rim of the shoulder socket and may include the biceps tendon.
- Bankart lesions are in the lower part of the shoulder socket and may include the ligament that helps stabilize the shoulder.
Tears in the labrum can result from sudden injury or repetitive motion such as:
- Baseball pitching or throwing (repetitive motion)
- Direct blow to the shoulder
- Falling on an outstretched arm
- Motor vehicle accident
- Shoulder dislocation
- Sudden pull to lift a heavy object (weightlifting)
Symptoms of labrum injury include:
- Catching, locking, popping or grinding when you move your shoulder
- Decreased range of shoulder motion
- Loss of shoulder strength
- Pain while lifting objects overhead
Before treatment, shoulder surgeons at Franciscan Health will do a thorough examination of your shoulder that may include CT scans and an MRI.
Although minor labrum tears don't heal, you can manage them with treatments that include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen and aspirin to reduce inflammation and swelling
- Physical therapy with specific exercises
What to expect if you need labrum surgery
Depending on your type of injury and condition, you may have open or arthroscopic labrum tear surgery for a SLAP repair.
During arthroscopic labarum surgery, your surgeon inserts the arthroscope and tiny surgical tools through small incisions to perform surgery. Arthroscopy typically results in reduced pain and faster recovery than open surgery.
Depending on your condition, recovery from labrum tear surgery can take up to six months. Your shoulder may be in a sling for up to six weeks after surgery. Athletes may begin sport-related exercises three to four months after surgery. After that, you may have physical therapy or occupational therapy to help you regain strength and restore range of motion.