Shoulder Labral Injuries

The shoulder joint is a "ball and socket" joint that enables smooth gliding and thereby the movements of arms. However, it is inherently unstable because of the shallow socket. A soft rim of cartilage, the labrum, lines the socket and deepens it so that it accommodates the head of the upper arm bone better.

What are the causes of labral injuries?

Traumatic injury to the shoulder or overuse of shoulder (throwing, weightlifting) may cause labral tear. In addition, age related degeneration of the labrum may result in tearing.

What are the symptoms of shoulder labral injuries?

Shoulder labral tear injury may cause symptoms such as pain, catching or locking sensation, decreased range of motion and joint instability.

How are labral injuries diagnosed?

Shoulder labral tear is often diagnosed with symptoms, history, a physical examination and radiological techniques. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used diagnosing shoulder labral tear.

What are the treatment options?

Conservative Treatment Options

Your doctor may start with conservative approaches such as prescribing anti-inflammatory medications and advise rest to relieve symptoms until diagnostic scans are done. Rehabilitation exercises may be recommended to strengthen rotator cuff muscles.

Surgery

If the symptoms do not resolve with these conservative measures, your doctor may recommend arthroscopic surgery. During arthroscopic surgery, your surgeon examines the stabilizing structures of the shoulder including the labrum and capsule. If the capsule and labrum can be repaired back to the rim of the socket - this is called an arthroscopic Bankart repair. 

In certain cases, the bones of the shoulder have been injured substantially from the dislocation.  The front of the glenoid (socket) can have a bony fracture, or attritional bone loss in the case of multiple dislocations or subluxations.  If too much bone has eroded, a bony procedure may sometimes be required that involves transferring another small piece of bone (the coracoid) and its attached tendons, to the front of the glenoid. This procedure is known as the Latarjet procedure.

  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • The Arthroscopy Association of North America
  •  American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • International Society for Hip Arthroscopy