Labral tears are a common condition that can be caused by injury, overuse, or the degeneration that occurs as part of the aging process. The rubbery cartilage between the shoulder blade and upper arm bone can tear, causing symptoms such as pain, a catching sensation, and instability in the shoulder.
To test for labral tears, Dr. Ira Guttentag will likely have you perform certain shoulder movements as part of a physical examination. The goal of this exercise will be to see if you experience pain or a catching sensation during these movements, which may indicate a tear. Labral tears can otherwise be difficult to diagnose – common forms of imaging such as MRI and CT scans may not be able to detect them. Your doctor may also need to look inside your shoulder using an arthroscope – a thin, lighted camera – to confirm the presence of a tear.
When labral tears are diagnosed, nonsurgical treatments will typically be recommended for reducing pain, inflammation and instability. These include rest, anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections and physical therapy. If these conservative treatments fail to provide sufficient relief, one of these surgical options may be recommended:
- Labral debridement – This procedure, which is ideal for smaller labral tears, involves removing the edges of the labrum that are frayed.
- Labral repair – For larger tears, a surgeon may need to reattach the labrum to the bone using anchors so the labrum can heal back into the right position.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a labral tear and are researching your treatment options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ira Guttentag at Florida Medical Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine & Spine. Dr. Guttentag specializes in treating the shoulder and offers a broad array of treatments for labral tears that can help you get back in the game.