Shoulder Labral Tear

Shoulder_Labral_Tear2 Q & A with Robert Ortiz, P.T.

Q.   What is the shoulder labrum, and how does it get torn?

A.   The labrum is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the shoulder socket. It helps to keep the ball of the humerus (the upper arm bone) in place. The labrum can be torn by a shoulder dislocation or subluxation. Overuse or the effects of aging can also tear the shoulder labrum.

Q.   What are the symptoms of a torn shoulder labrum?

A.   A torn labrum usually causes pain in the shoulder. There may also be instability in the shoulder, or a catching sensation in the shoulder when you move your arm.

Q.   How is a shoulder labral tear treated?

A.   Physical therapy can improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles that support the shoulder. If physical therapy does not eliminate symptoms, surgery may be needed.

Q.   If I have surgery to repair a torn labrum, why do I still need physical therapy?

A.   After surgery to repair a torn labrum, physical therapy will help you regain range of motion and strength in the shoulder.

Q.   How long with the physical therapy take?

A.   You may need several months of physical therapy to recover from a torn shoulder labrum.