Know the warning signs of torn shoulder cartilage.
The shoulder is very delicate and prone to injury. Older adults, particularly, may find that their shoulders become more susceptible to pain and other problems that limit their activities. The shoulder contains a ball-and-socket joint, and the labrum is rubbery tissue or fibrocartilage that helps to support and hold the ball in place. When a labrum is torn it’s important that you recognize the warning signs so that you can see our Bergen County, NJ, orthopedic shoulder doctor, Dr. Roger Pollock, as quickly as possible.
What are the signs of a labral tear?
One of the most obvious signs is severe shoulder pain that is worse with activity or at night. Along with pain you may feel weakness and instability, as well as a limited range of motion. You may experience intensified pain or weakness when performing certain overhead movements. The shoulder joint may also grind, lock, or pop when in motion.
Traumatic injuries and overuse can both be to blame for a labral tear. If you perform repetitive shoulder movements, you may be at higher risk. A torn labrum may also occur from a direct blow to the shoulder, a bad fall, or a serious accident (e.g. car accident). Athletes are at an increased risk for developing labral tears because of the risk of traumatic injury as well as wear and tear from repetitive motions (e.g. baseball; tennis).
How is it diagnosed?
Along with a comprehensive physical examination performed by our Bergen County, NJ, shoulder doctor, we will also recommend imaging tests such as an MRI or CT scan to look at the extent of the damage. From there, we will be able to create your treatment plan.
What are my treatment options?
So, you have a labral tear…now what? Your treatment plan will be designed to address the severity of your tear. Rest is the most important thing anyone with a torn labrum can do. You may also take over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers to help ease any pain and discomfort you may feel. Physical therapy can also help to retrain and restrengthen the muscles of the shoulder.
One thing to keep in mind is that a labral tear often won’t fully heal on its own. If limited mobility isn’t a major concern for you then you may choose not to undergo surgery; however, athletes and those who lead active lifestyle often consider surgery to repair the labrum. Arthroscopic surgery is often used to treat a labral tear, as it requires a smaller incision than traditional surgery, which means a faster recovery time and a less visible scar. It can take anywhere from two to four months to make a full recovery after surgery.
If you are experiencing shoulder pain, stiffness or weakness it’s important that you have a doctor that you can turn to in Bergen County, NJ, for immediate care. Call our office today at (201) 612-9774 to schedule an appointment with our shoulder specialist, Dr. Pollock.