Treatment for Sports-Related Labral Tears in Houston, TX
Labral tears affect the fibrous cartilage that holds the top end of the upper arm bone (humerus) firmly in the shoulder socket. This type of injury can occur suddenly if direct force is applied to the shoulder when the arm is fully extended. It can also develop gradually as a result of repetitive overhead arm movements, such as those involved in weightlifting and throwing sports.
What does a labral tear feel like?
Labral tears can cause:
- A deep ache at the back of the shoulder
- Pain that worsens when the affected arm is raised overhead
- A popping, clicking or grinding sensation in the shoulder (crepitus)
- A feeling of instability in the shoulder joint
- Arm muscle weakness
- A noticeable decline in sports performance, such as a reduction in pitch speed
How are labral tears treated?
Labral tears are often treated conservatively. For instance, a physician may initially recommend a regimen consisting of:
- A temporary suspension of throwing activities to prevent further damage
- Ice pack applications and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used as needed to reduce pain and swelling
- Physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles that support the shoulder joint
Following a period of rest and rehabilitation, a patient may begin a progressive throwing program that ultimately leads to full sports participation. However, if the symptoms do not improve with several weeks of nonsurgical treatment, surgical repair may be considered, in which case the return to play will be delayed.
The specific procedure recommended to address a labral tear will depend on the type and extent of the injury as well as the patient’s age, activity level and other injuries, if any. In some cases, a torn labrum can be repaired arthroscopically. When performing this minimally invasive procedure, a surgeon accesses the shoulder joint through tiny incisions and uses specialized surgical instruments to reattach the torn edges of the labrum.
The shoulder specialists at Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, Texas, provide a comprehensive range of treatments for labral tears and other shoulder conditions. We can evaluate and diagnose your injury and recommend a personalized treatment plan, which may include stretching and strengthening exercises, medications, injections and – if necessary – surgical repair. For more information about our full-service sports medicine center in Houston, TX, contact us today.