Labral Tear Treatment in Oregon City and Tualatin, OR
The shoulder plays an important part in your everyday activities, especially if you are involved in sports. You use it to serve in tennis, swing your golf club, or pass in football, basketball, or lacrosse. Although you need your shoulders to complete tasks in your everyday life, this joint is one of the easiest to injure due to its composition, and labral tears are one of the most common injuries to the shoulder.
How Your Shoulder Works
Your shoulder is made up of three bones: the collarbone (clavicle), the shoulder blade (scapula), and the upper arm bone (humerus). The main joint in the shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint; the ball-shaped head of the humerus rests in the socket of the scapula. The ball is bigger than the socket (think of it as a golf ball on a tee), making the joint unstable and more prone to injury.
Cartilage lines the bones to help prevent against normal wear and tear. The labrum is a tougher piece of cartilage that lines the socket to give it greater depth and stability.
Labral tears are one of the most common shoulder injuries. Athletes are especially prone to labral tears due to high forces placed across the joint in a repetitive manner. Labral tears also frequently result from an acute shoulder trauma.
If you tear your labrum, your symptoms may include pain, stiffness, and tenderness. However, other shoulder conditions may present the same symptoms, so it is very important to see your doctor before attempting to treat it yourself.
Many labral tears can be treated without surgery, but if symptoms persist, surgery may be necessary.
In many cases, surgery is not necessary. Your doctor will probably suggest a brief period of immobilization in a sling followed by physical therapy to help strengthen your rotator cuff and other shoulder muscles.
Patients can use ice treatments and take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), like ibuprofen, Motrin or naproxen, to reduce inflammation and pain.
You will likely have to modify your activities to minimize the use of your injured shoulder.
If your doctor decides that surgery is the best option, he will most likely perform a shoulder arthroscopy. Shoulder arthroscopy allows your doctor to see inside the joint and perform the surgery without making a large incision.
First, he will make a small incision just large enough to insert the arthroscope, a small, fiber-optic camera. The camera will send real-time images of the shoulder to a monitor in the operating room. Your doctor will then insert the operating instruments, which are about the size of a pencil. Using the images provided by the camera, he will be able to see and repair labral tears and remove any floating debris in your shoulder joint that is causing you pain.
Because shoulder arthroscopy requires such as small incision, you may have less pain and recover faster than a patient who has had open surgery, but most labral repairs still require several months to heal. Your doctor may prescribe pain medicine if you need it, and you may use ice to help with pain and swelling. You will likely need to use a sling to help limit shoulder movement as you heal.
As with all shoulder injuries, rehab is incredibly helpful and important to help you regain strength and motion in your shoulder. It is important to stick to your rehab plan, as it helps ensure that your surgery will be successful.
Remember, your doctor has your best interests in mind, and following his instructions will help you to get back to the activities you enjoy as soon as possible.
The Highest Standard of Orthopedic Care: Dr. David P. Huberty
Dr. Huberty completed his orthopedic residency at the University of New Mexico, a university nationally recognized for its sports medicine program, and spent an additional fellowship focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of shoulder injuries. He is committed to providing the highest quality care possible. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Huberty, contact his practice Oregon City, OR or Tualatin, OR at (503) 656-0836.