#SportsMedicineMonday: Labral Tears
Spring marks the return of one of our favorite times of the year here in St. Louis: baseball season! For fans, baseball season is a time to relax and enjoy the games. For players, however, this season brings a lot of opportunity for injury. One of the most common baseball injuries is the shoulder joint tear, or labral tear. In this post, we’ll highlight labral tear causes, symptoms and treatment options.
The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint is made up of three bones: the scapula (shoulder blade), the humerus (upper arm) and the clavicle (collarbone). The head of your humerus rests in a socket formed by the shoulder blade and is surrounded by soft tissue called the glenoid labrum, which stabilizes the joints and attaches nearby ligaments.
What Is A Labral Tear?
A labral tear refers to an injury that damages the labrum. These injuries are most common in athletes who frequently use sudden force in their arms, such as baseball players, basketball players and weightlifters. Additional labral tear causes include:
• Trauma to the shoulder
• A sudden fall on the arm
• Overextending the arm
A labral tear is often identified by pain or numbness in the upper arm. You may notice gradual pain in your arm while resting it, or while performing overhead activities. Additional labral tear symptoms include:
• Decreased range of motion
• Inability to sleep on affected side
• Grinding or popping feeling
• Shoulder dislocation
Labral Tear Evaluation
Dr. Melander may utilize an office visit and physical exam to diagnose your labral tear and recommend a treatment plan. During your visit, Dr. Melander will examine your shoulder and perform an arthroscopy to look inside your shoulder joint and identify any labral tearing.
Labral Tear Treatment
Depending on the severity of your injury, Dr. Melander may present either surgical or non-surgical options for repairing the joint and restoring you to full activity level. In the meantime, anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to reduce discomfort in the shoulder.
For minor injuries, Dr. Melander may recommend a physical therapy regimen that stretches the joint and reduces pain while the body heals naturally.
For more severe injuries, surgical procedures may be the only way to return the joint to full mobility. In a labral tear surgery, Dr. Melander will insert a shaver blade into the joint to remove the damaged tissue. Athletes typically require 4-6 weeks of rehabilitation after a labral tear surgery.
Schedule a Consultation
If you recently suffered a shoulder injury that isn’t healing properly, then schedule a consultation with our sports medicine team. Dr. Melander and his team are dedicated to helping you understand your injuries and getting you back in the game as quickly as possible.