Labrum Tear Specialist

Smith Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

Jarrod R. Smith, MD

Sports Medicine Physician & Orthopedic Surgeon located in Ashland, KY

Shoulder pain that occurs with instability and a catching or grinding sensation may indicate a labrum tear. Orthopedic surgeon Jarrod R. Smith, MD, treats shoulder labrum tears at his practice, Smith Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, in Ashland, Kentucky. If you think you have a labrum tear, call to schedule an appointment.

Labrum Tear Q & A

What is a labrum tear?

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint where the head of your upper arm bone (humerus) fits into a shallow socket (glenoid) in your shoulder blade. The labrum is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the glenoid and helps to keep the humeral head in its place.

When this cartilage becomes damaged and torn, it’s called a labrum tear. Dr. Smith treats all types of shoulder labrum tears, including:

SLAP (superior labrum, anterior to posterior) tears

This type of tear occurs above the middle of the glenoid socket. It’s common among athletes who use overhead arm motions in sports like tennis and baseball.

Bankart lesions

Bankart tears, or lesions, occur below the middle of the glenoid. These tears are more common in younger people who dislocate their shoulders.

What causes labrum tears?

The most common causes of labrum tears are overuse from repetitive movements and acute, traumatic injuries. Active people who use overhead arm movements, like weightlifters and throwing athletes, are especially prone to developing a labrum tear from overuse.

Traumatic injuries that may cause a labrum tear include falling on an outstretched arm or a direct blow to the shoulder.

How do I know if I have a labrum tear?

Signs and symptoms of a labrum tear include:

  • Shoulder instability
  • Shoulder weakness
  • Pain during overhead activities
  • Decreased range of motion
  • A locking, catching, or grinding sensation

Labrum tears have very similar symptoms to other shoulder injuries, like a rotator cuff tear. If you experience shoulder pain and symptoms, schedule an appointment at Smith Orthopedics & Sports Medicine for an accurate diagnosis.

How are labrum tears diagnosed and treated?

First, Dr. Smith carefully reviews your symptoms and medical history and examines your shoulder. He may also take an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to determine the severity of your injury.

Then, he recommends your best course of treatment. Most of the time, nonsurgical treatments, like physical therapy, effectively resolve the pain and symptoms of a labrum tear.

If your condition is severe or doesn’t improve with conservative treatment, surgery may be necessary. Dr. Smith usually performs shoulder labrum surgery with minimally invasive arthroscopy.

For expert treatment of shoulder labrum tears, call Smith Orthopedics & Sports Medicine to schedule an appointment.