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Could My Shoulder Pain Be Caused By A Labral Tear?

Could my shoulder pain be caused by a labral tear? Are you a tennis player who likes to enjoy a game on the weekends? Maybe you are the star pitcher on your community softball team, or a professional painter whose business specializes in painting new homes. If you can relate to any of these situations, then we suspect the answer is probably yes.

Man in the gym with injured shoulder.

The Shoulder Labrum

Shoulder labrum is a soft thick piece of cartilage in the socket-shaped joint in your shoulder. It cups your ball joint at the top of your upper arm bone keeping the ball of the joint in place.

If there is a tear due to injury of some kind, there will be shoulder pain.

The main causes of a labral tear include the following:

  • Overuse, like raising your arm above your shoulder and thrusting forward. Baseball pitchers and tennis players are susceptible.
  • Repetitive motions, like a painter whose occupation forces him to repeat the same motions throughout the day.
  • Injury or trauma, like having suffered a dislocated shoulder or fracture.
  • Aging
  • Osteoarthritis

Common Symptoms Of A Labral Tear

Pain or a dull throbbing ache is the main symptom with a labral tear, but you may also feel like your shoulder is grinding or locking when you move. It will also feel unstable. Range of motion will be decreased, and you will lose strength in your arm and shoulder. Sleeping will become problematic due to the discomfort.

Treatments For A Labral Tear

If you suspect you may have a labral tear, visit Dr. Koo as soon as possible for an examination and tests. It is not always easy to diagnose a labral tear, so be sure to explain to any recent injuries or about your occupation.

X-rays or a CT scan may be ordered to diagnose the labral tear.

Rest, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory meds can help to heal this condition. Cortisone injections may be recommended depending on the severity of the tear.

If none of these treatments are successful, surgery may be needed.

Recovery from surgery usually takes up to six months with professional athletes needing more time to reach their pre-surgical abilities.

Contact Dr. Koo at (425) 823-4000 for an examination in Kirkland, WA if you suspect you may have a labral tear.