Shoulder Joint (Labrum) Tear

The shoulder joint is a "ball and socket" joint that enables smooth gliding and thereby the movements 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 accommodates the head of the upper arm bone better.

Causes of Shoulder Labral Tear

Traumatic injury to the shoulder or overuse of shoulder (throwing, weightlifting) may cause labral tear. In addition, ageing may weaken the labrum leading to injury.

Symptoms of Shoulder Labral Tear

Shoulder labral tear injury may cause symptoms such as:

  • Pain
  • Catching or locking sensation
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Joint instability

Treatments for Shoulder Labral Tear

Your doctor may start with conservative approaches such as prescribing anti-inflammatory medications and advise rest to relieve symptoms until diagnostic scans are done. Rehabilitation exercises may be recommended to strengthen 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 to the labrum is minimal then the torn flap of the labrum may be removed. If the tear is more significant, this can be repaired using specific arthroscopic stitches, tape, and anchors. After the shoulder surgery, you may need to wear a shoulder sling for up to 6-8 weeks and start a physiotherapy rehabilitation program, slowly increasing range of motion and strengthening exercises.