Shoulder Dislocations & Labral Tears
A Personalized Approach To Shoulder Injuries In Richmond, VA
What Is A Shoulder Labral Tear? And how does it relate to a shoulder dislocation?
The labrum is cartilage tissue that holds the “ball” (humeral head) in the “socket” (glenoid) of your shoulder. A torn shoulder labrum can occur due to repetitive overhead use, a lifting injury, a fall on the arm, a sudden pull on the arm, or having the arm twisted at the shoulder joint. In the event of a shoulder dislocation, the labrum in the front of the shoulder almost always tears.
Symptoms of A Torn Shoulder Labrum
Like many injuries that occur within the shoulder, a labral tear is often accompanied by pain and reduced mobility in the joint. Because we use our arms and shoulders for daily activities, it can be difficult to ignore the symptoms of a labral tear, and many patients find they can pinpoint the moment a tear occurs.
The most common symptoms of a labral tear are:
- A locking, clicking, or catching sensation in the joint
- Pain, though the location may depend on where exactly the tear has occurred
- Instability and a sense that the shoulder is coming out of place
- Shoulder dislocation
Shoulder Dislocation & Labral
Tear Diagnosis & Treatment
“Appropriate rehabilitation is critical to achieving a successful outcome. I work closely with the physical therapist to develop a specific rehabilitation program for every patient. For athletes, we also include the athletic trainer(s) and coaches in our ‘team’ approach to treatment.”
Because a history of shoulder injuries can make the joint more susceptible to further damage, your doctor may suspect a torn shoulder labrum based on your medical history. At your consultation, you will be asked questions about your pain and past injuries to your shoulder that may suggest labral damage. Labral tears are very difficult to see even with an MRI, so the first step to confirming a diagnosis is often to order an arthrogram known as an MRA. In this process, a dye is injected into the shoulder prior to an MRI for improved visibility.
The proper treatment for a labral tear will depend on your particular injury, activity level, age, and orthopedic surgery needs. If surgery is required for a labral tear, it can
be performed completely arthroscopically through small skin punctures with
use of a fiber optic camera.
You will not know what the doctor will recommend in your particular case until you sit down for your consultation, but there are certain general guidelines that many patients fall under.
First-Time Shoulder Dislocations In Patients Under 25
Shoulder Dislocations In Patients Between Ages 25 And 40
First-Time Shoulder Dislocations In Patients Over 40
For individuals over 40 years of age that have a first-time shoulder dislocation, Dr. Goradia bases his recommendations on the patient’s activity level and work requirements. Barring those with hobbies or careers that involve strenuous physical activity, many patients can be treated without surgery.
Regardless of age, if patients have recurrent dislocations or are apprehensive about participating in activities because of their shoulder, Dr. Goradia will discuss surgical options to repair the tear.