Do I Have a Labral Tear?

The labrum is a piece of cartilage in your shoulder socket. It helps to stabilize the shoulder joint but can become strained or tear, resulting in shoulder instability. The most common repetitive activities that can cause a labral tear include pitching baseballs, playing tennis, or work performed in a factory that places a lot of stress on your shoulder from repetitive motions similar to those sports activities. Labral tears can also happen suddenly due to an accident, trauma, or repeated dislocations.

What Are the Symptoms of a Labral Tear?

Symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the tear. Some people will not feel any discomfort, while others may feel as if the shoulder joint is locking or popping. You may even experience a grinding sensation when you move your shoulder. Decreased mobility and strength as well as pain in your shoulder even when you’re not involved in activity, can also be signs of a labral tear. You may also feel as if your shoulder is not stable or that it may slip out of place at any moment.

How Are Labral Tears Treated?

Dr. Burrus will always aim for a non-surgical treatment if possible, which may include rest, taking a break from your sport or activity that caused the tear, physical therapy, and treatment for the pain. However, in many labral tears, the severity of the tear will require surgery such as arthroscopy or open shoulder surgery. There are two surgical approaches most often used to repair labral tears: The Knotless SutureTak® procedure and the Latarjet procedure for patients who need more extensive repairs than can be done arthroscopically. Platelet-rich plasma therapy may also be used to help promote cartilage growth, alleviate pain, and enhance recovery time.

If you are experiencing symptoms of a labral tear, a consultation with an orthopedic specialist may be the first step towards diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Dr. Burrus is an experienced fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon who is dedicated to providing high-quality, specialized holistic care. Call 512.477.6341 or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment.