The answer isn’t a one-size-fits-all because the truth is: it depends. The severity of the tear is what will determine if surgery is the only option or if physical therapy can help the tear heal and avoid surgery altogether.
Let’s get into more details.
What is a Labrum?
Johns Hopkins says it best:
“The labrum is a type of cartilage found in the shoulder joint. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint where the arm meets the body. The arm bone (humerus) forms a ball at the shoulder that meets the socket, which is part of the shoulder blade. These two bones are connected by ligaments — tough tissues forming tethers that hold the bones in relationship to each other. There are two kinds of cartilage in the joint. The first type is the white cartilage on the ends of the bones (articular cartilage) which allows the bones to glide and move on each other. When this type of cartilage starts to wear out (a process called arthritis), the joint becomes painful and stiff. The labrum is a second kind of cartilage in the shoulder, which is distinctly different from the articular cartilage.”
How Does a Labrum Tear?
There are several ways a labrum can tear, so let’s talk about the movement types that can cause this common injury:
- Falling on an outstretched arm: Think about a volleyball player diving for a ball with their arm out. Once they hit the floor with that outstretched arm, the injury usually occurs upon impact.
- Picking up something too heavy, like a box, or a dumbbell, can lead to a torn labrum.
- Reaching above with force, as if trying to catch something heavy.
- Pulling something too heavy can also lead to a torn labrum.
What Are The Labrum Tear Types?
Ortho Info breaks it down like this:
- A SLAP lesion (superior labrum, anterior [front] to posterior [back]) is a tear of the labrum that usually occurs on the upper part of the socket and may also involve the origin, or starting point, of the long head of the biceps tendon.
- A tear of the front part of the labrum at the bottom of the socket is called a Bankart lesion. This usually happens from an interior shoulder dislocation (a dislocation when the humeral head comes out of the front of the socket).
- A tear of the labrum can also occur in the back part of the socket. This is called a posterior labral tear. It can be a traumatic tear due to injury, or it may be degenerative due to normal wear and tear.
How Can Physical Therapy Help a Torn Labrum?
If your labrum tear doesn’t require surgery to heal, physical therapy will likely be your best bet to heal as quickly as possible. How? Because PT can:
- Help with shoulder stability
- Increase range of motion
- Prevent further injury
- Increase the strength of the labrum
- Increase surrounding muscles
Physical Therapy for a Labrum Tear in the Irving, TX Region
If you or a loved one don’t need surgery for a labrum tear, the doctor’s suggestion is probably going to be physical therapy. Good news! We can help! Our PT team has successfully treated labrum tears with glowing reviews and feedback, so take pride in knowing you’re in good hands with Physical Therapy Now. Call us today to set up your appointment at (214) 225-0291.