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The shoulder joint is a “ball and socket” joint that enables the smooth gliding movements of the arms. The labrum, a fibrous section of cartilage, helps the shoulder to stabilize, move and flex. The labrum also offers joint cushioning and aids in ligament attachment.
A shoulder labral tear, then, is an injury to the cartilage in the shoulder joint. Labral tears may result from injury, wear-and-tear, or sometimes as part of the aging process.
Common labral tear symptoms include:
Labral tear diagnosis involves a physical examination to identify stiffness, mobility problems and areas of pain and swelling. CT scans and MRIs may also be used to confirm labral tears.
Minor tears may require rest and conservative treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy and steroid injections. For more severe injuries, however, our sports medicine physicians may perform arthroscopic surgery to shave or repair damaged labrum pieces. Your orthopaedic surgeon may also prescribe post-surgical physical therapy to accelerate healing and facilitate the return of strength and endurance.