Torn shoulder labrum

Almost every movement you make involves your shoulder. It is a complicated and integral joint in your body, but it can easily damaged through sports injuries and repetitive motion, especially the shoulder labrum. Let’s find out about the diagnosis and treatment of shoulder labrum tears.

What And Where Is The Shoulder Labrum

The labrum is a cup-shaped band of soft cartilage that lines and reinforces the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder. The shoulder joint is composed of the glenoid, or the shoulder socket, and the head of the upper arm bone known as the humerus or the ball.

The labrum is the attachment site for the shoulder ligaments and supports the ball-and-socket joint as well as the rotator cuff tendons and muscles. It helps provide shoulder stability and allows the ball, or humerus bone, to move freely and painlessly. If it is torn, it can lead to partial or complete shoulder dislocation.

Symptoms Of A Labrum Shoulder Tear

Many tears happen after an acute injury. The most common symptoms of a torn shoulder labrum besides pain is a feeling of instability. Since the labrum provides smooth movement within the glenoid socket, any feeling of instability around the arm or shoulder is a prime sign of a tear. Other symptoms include a feeling of grinding or locking when you move your shoulder.

In addition you can expect the following symptoms:

  • Loss of arm strength
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Pain, especially with overhead motion
  • Popping or cracking near the shoulder
  • Decreased range of motion

Don’t wait to see Dr Jonathan Paley at Dayton Orthopedic Surgery, if you suspect you may have a shoulder labrum tear.

A Shoulder Labrum Tear Diagnosis

There are three main types of shoulder labrum tears, but the symptoms of pain and inflammation are similar. A specialist will take tests and do a thorough examination to determine if the tear is a SLAP tear at the front of the arm, a Bankart tear, or a posterior labrum tear.


Depending on the severity and position of the tear, treatments will be recommended. Most physicians will begin with conservative treatments.

Physical therapy and medications

Physical therapy will consist of massage, hot and cold therapy, stretching, and exercise. The goal here is to relieve the pain, reduce any swelling, and increase your range of motion.

Over-the-counter medications will be employed along with physical therapy, but if these pain medications are not sufficient, Dr. Alicia Carter may prescribe something stronger.

Your input beyond physical therapy will determine which of the following options are utilized.

Steroid Injections

A cortisone shot acts as a local anti-inflammatory for a painful body part.

The steroids you get in these injections are called corticosteroids. They’re different than anabolic steroids, which are used to build muscle.

Corticosteroids are man-made versions of cortisol, a hormone that’s naturally made by your adrenal glands, which sit above your kidneys.

These hormones help:

  • respond to stress in your body from injury or illness
  • reduce immune system activity, which helps ease inflammation

Steroid injections help increase your natural hormones’ anti-inflammatory and immune-suppressing power.

Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative medicine involves using your body’s own powerful healing properties to speed healing to injured tissues.

PRP, or platelet rich plasma, uses concentrated plasma injected into the injury site to create healing factors.

Stem Cell therapy is similar using processed stem cells injected into the site of the injury to promote healing.


When other medical treatments, including physical therapy, medications, and injections, fail, surgery to repair the shoulder labrum tear may be needed.

Talk with Dr. Jonathan Paley about the pros and cons of each treatment option to discover what is best for you and your lifestyle. Call (937) 436-5763 to schedule your consultation today!