A labral tear is a tear in the part of the shoulder joint called the labrum, which is made up of thick tissue that is susceptible to injury. The labrum is a rim of cartilage that acts to deepen the socket of the shoulder. It can be torn in the front, back, or top depending on the injury.
These types of tears occur most commonly with shoulder instability. As the shoulder slides out of the joint, it tears the lower portion of the labrum. Symptoms may include pain in the front or top of shoulder during motion and a clicking or catching sensation of shoulder during certain movements.
- Anti-inflammatory Medication – Dr. Hecht may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication for a period of time to calm/lessen the pain caused by the inflammation.
- Corticosteroid Injections Rarely a cortisone injection is used to locally treat the inflammation, but it can be used in certain instances. Dr. Hecht will discuss the risks and benefits of cortisone injections with you.
- Physical Therapy Many times a patient will attempt physical therapy for a period of time to improve shoulder stability. This is often successful but it does depending on the amount of instability, the age of the patient, and the desired activities.
- Surgery If non-operative treatments fail to relieve the symptoms, surgery can be performed. The procedure of choice is a labral repair. Most commonly, Dr. Hecht can address the problem arthroscopically. Specific implants are used to re-attach the labrum to the socket in the area of the tear.
- Strengthening exercise and PT after surgery A successful outcome with surgery is dependent upon a dedicated and supervised rehabilitation program. Patients are referred to physical therapy where they work one-on-one with a licensed physical therapist 2-3 times/week to regain range of motion, strength, and the ability to perform desired activities. The overall length of physical therapy varies depending on the procedures performed.
Why Dr. Joseph Hecht?
Dr. Hecht is board certified in orthopedic surgery, providing expert knowledge and expertise in the area of shoulder conditions and treatment options. As one of the top Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland shoulder surgeons, Dr. Hecht brings years of valuable experience to every shoulder assessment.
Tips for Healthy Shoulders
To avoid experiencing shoulder pain, patients should keep physically fit with a balanced program of aerobics, stretching and strengthening all body parts to help to prevent shoulder injuries. If you think you have injured your shoulder, consult a board-certified Orthopaedic physician or physical therapist before starting an exercise program. Here are some specific tips for the shoulders:
- Apply heat to shoulder muscles before exercise. Heat prepares muscles and tendons for exercise.
- Keep your arm below shoulder height while doing stretches for the shoulder.
- Gradually increase movements—big circles, across-body movements, trunk twists, shoulder blade rolls and forward and backward squeezes—during shoulder warm-up.
- Pendulum stretching exercises relieve pressure on the rotator cuff. While sitting or standing, keep arm vertical and close to the body. Allow arm to swing back and forth in a small diameter (about 1 inch). As symptoms improve, the diameter of swing may be increased. Initially perform the exercise with just the weight of your arm. As shoulder pain improves, progressively add more weight—5 to 10 pounds (a filled gallon container weighs 8 pounds). Perform exercise for 5 minutes once or twice a day.
Muscle-strengthening exercises can be performed about 1 to 2 weeks after doing pendulum stretching exercises. Use elastic exercise bands for a variety of arm exercises. For example, attach band to a doorknob. Then hold your elbow close to your side at a 90 degree angle, grasp the band and pull toward your waist. Hold for 5 seconds. Do 15 to 20 repetitions each day.