Labral repair refers to the repair of a specific layer of cartilage in the shoulder area. This cup-shaped cartilage, also known as the labrum, can be found in the area between the knobby head of the upper arm bone and the shallow shoulder socket in which it resides. Anyone experiencing shoulder pain or symptoms of grinding, catching or locking of the shoulder should be evaluated by an orthopedic professional to determine if they have a tear in their labral cartilage.

How does a labral tear occur?

A labral tear is one of the most common sports injuries involving the shoulder. Due to the high-energy overhead movements required in baseball and volleyball, these two sports are some of the most prevalent contributors to labral injuries. The elderly are also more prone to a labral tear since they’re more likely to slip or fall, which can result in an injury to the shoulder.

Treatment and recovery for a labral tear

Those experiencing shoulder pain need to seek medical treatment because, once injured, labrum shoulder cartilage often doesn’t heal well on its own. Though a very mild labral tear may only require rest and physical therapy to heal, most labral tears require more invasive treatment.

In general, there are two types of surgery for the repair of a labral tear. Open surgery requires an incision to be made on the front of the shoulder. This type of surgery usually involves more post-op pain and a longer recovery time. In some cases, patients may experience an incomplete restoration of the ability to execute the full rotational movement of their shoulder. Arthroscopic surgery involves a smaller incision, which usually translates into a faster recovery period and less post-op pain.

Recovery from both surgeries typically requires a patient to wear an arm sling for up to four weeks after surgery. The length of the rest of the recovery period depends upon the type of surgery performed, as well as the severity of the injury. In general, it can take three to five months for a person to make a full recovery. For most, a full recovery means a return to their normal level of activities. Others may notice a reduced ability in their athletic activities in comparison to their pre-injury abilities.

Orthopedic specialist in the St. Louis region

If you or a loved one has experienced a labral tear, the experienced team at Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine is here to help you through the treatment and recovery process. Our goal is to relieve the pain and restore function as quickly and safely as possible so you can get back to enjoying your normal activities. Don’t let a labral injury ruin your life. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!