What You Need To Know About Labrum Tears

What You Need To Know About Labrum Tears

Cartilage is the primary connective tissue in your body, and the labrum is the cartilage that surrounds the rounded end of the bone nestled into the flexible ball-and-socket joints — the hips and shoulders. 

Unfortunately, the labrum is vulnerable to tears, which can vary in severity. Labral tears typically occur because of overuse and injury, but your hip labrum can also tear if you have an unusually shaped hip bone or misaligned hip bones. 

Labral tears are often repaired with minimally invasive surgery, and physical therapy can play an important role with optimizing the healing of your shoulder or hip labral tear, both before and after surgery.

Billy Reilly, MS, PT, and Paul LaRosa, MS, PT, help patients prepare for and recover from both hip and shoulder labral tear surgery. 

The treatment approach that Empire Physical Therapy and Athletic Rehabilitation values is highly personalized, because every patient — and every labral tear — is unique. And you’re always treated by the same provider when you visit our New York City office. 

The lowdown on labral tears

First, it’s important to understand your shoulder labrum’s function. It helps the ball of your shoulder joint stay in place in your socket. There’s more than one type of shoulder labrum injury you can sustain.

SLAP tears 

These tears are common and can occur on the front or back of your shoulder labrum. The name is an acronym “superior labral tear from anterior to posterior” (front and back, respectively). 

In addition to the shoulder labrum tear, the tendon that connects your biceps muscle to your shoulder can tear as well. Athletes often suffer SLAP tears, especially those who throw or hit balls a lot, like baseball pitchers. 

Bankart tears 

Named for Arthur Bankart, an English orthopedist, these types of tears happen if the upper portion of your arm bone moves backward or forward in the socket, and then the lower part of your labrum tears. This type of tear often occurs when someone suffers a dislocated shoulder.

Superior and posterior tears

You can also suffer a superior labrum tear, at the top of your labrum or a posterior tear at the back of your labrum. 

Hip labral tears

Your hip labrum’s purpose is similar to your shoulder’s in that it is a stabilizer for your ball-and-socket hip joint, and it helps to keep the upper part of your thigh (femur) securely in place in the socket. 

You’re at higher risk for a hip labral tear if you have a condition that leads to abnormal hip movement, such as femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), when the upper part of your thigh doesn’t fit well or move well within the socket. 

Degenerative conditions, such as osteoarthritis, and traumatic injury also make it more likely that you’ll experience a labral tear.

What does a labral tear feel like?

You experience painful and even audible symptoms that point to a labral tear:

Though noninvasive labral tear treatments include rest and the use of anti-inflammatory medications, surgical solutions like minimally invasive shoulder and hip arthroscopy are necessary if the tear is severe.

You can also experience a labral tear but feel no symptoms, so seek treatment if you suspect you’ve torn your labrum. 

Physical therapy for labral tears

Our goal is to prepare you for surgery and recovery successfully and to hasten your post-surgical healing. 

Our treatment, as we noted previously, is completely tailored to you, the patient, and your goals. We’re also committed to a patient experience where you never feel hurried. Only after a complete evaluation of your clinical situation do we create your treatment plan.

Treatments themselves are relaxed and last an average of 45 minutes to an hour, so we can ensure that your care is well thought-out and sensitively delivered. 

We want to help you expand your mobility, become more flexible, and rid you of the pain associated with your tear. Not only are we committed to your full healing, our care is geared toward preventing another labrum tear. 

We offer manual physical therapy, ultrasound therapy, and electrical stimulation (E-stim) to get you firmly back on the road to recovery from all types of labral tears on your hip or shoulder. 

In addition to these advanced treatments, we offer an on-site gym with sophisticated equipment designed to promote your healing. 

Call our conveniently located Midtown East office in Manhattan to schedule a consultation with us, or book one online. We can help you come back from labral tear surgery, as well as get you ready for it.

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