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Shoulder Joint Tear

Expert Shoulder Surgeons in Orange County, CA

What is a Shoulder Joint Tear?

Shoulder joint tear, also know as a Glenoid labrum tear refers to an injury to the tissue rim surrounding the shoulder socket. The shoulder joint involves three bones: the shoulder blade (scapula), the collarbone (clavicle) and the upper arm bone (humerus). The head of the upper arm bone (humeral head) rests in a shallow socket in the shoulder blade called the glenoid. Because the head of the upper arm bone is usually much larger than the socket, a soft fibrous tissue rim called the labrum surrounds the socket to help stabilize the joint. The rim deepens the socket by up to 50 percent so that the head of the upper arm bone fits better. In addition, it serves as an attachment site for several ligaments. Tears can be located either above (superior) or below (inferior) the middle of the glenoid socket.

SLAP Lesion

A SLAP lesion (superior labrum, anterior [front] to posterior [back]) is a tear of the rim above the middle of the socket that may also involve the biceps tendon. A tear of the rim below the middle of the glenoid socket that also involves the inferior glenohumeral ligament is called a Bankart lesion. Tears of the glenoid rim often occur with other shoulder injuries, such as a dislocated shoulder (full or partial dislocation).

Bankart Lesion

The labrum is a rim of cartilage that surrounds the Glenoid or shoulder socket. A Bankart Lesion typically occurs when an individual sustains a dislocated shoulder, either partial or full disclocation. As the shoulder pops out of joint, it often tears the labrum, especially in younger patients.

Causes of a Shoulder Joint Tear

Injuries to the tissue rim surrounding the shoulder socket can occur from acute trauma or repetitive shoulder motion. Falling on an outstretched arm, a direct blow to the shoulder, and a sudden pull such as when trying to lift a heavy object can all result in a shoulder joint tear. Throwing athletes or weightlifters can experience tears due to repetitive shoulder motion.

Shoulder Joint Tear Symptoms

It is difficult to diagnose a tear in the shoulder socket rim because the symptoms are very similar to those of other shoulder injuries. Symptoms may include pain, usually with overhead activities; decreased range of motion and a loss in strength; locking, popping or grinding; and a sense of instability in the shoulder.

Shoulder Joint Tear Treatment Options

Until the final diagnosis is made, your physician may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and rest to relieve symptoms. Rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles may also be recommended. If these conservative measures are insufficient, your physician may recommend arthroscopic surgery.

Surgical Options for a Shoulder Joint Tear

During the surgery, your physician will examine the rim and biceps tendon. If the injury is confined to the rim itself without involving the tendon, the shoulder is still stable. The surgeon will remove the torn flap and correct any other associated problems. If the tear extends into the biceps tendon or if the tendon is detached, the result is an unstable joint. The surgeon will need to repair and reattach the tendon using absorbable tacks, wires or sutures. Tears below the middle of the socket are also associated with shoulder instability. The surgeon will reattach the ligament and tighten the shoulder socket by folding over and “pleating” the tissues.

After surgery, you will need to keep your shoulder in a sling for three to four weeks. Your physician will also prescribe gentle, passive, pain-free range-of-motion exercises. When the sling is removed, you will need to do motion and flexibility exercises and gradually start to strengthen your biceps. Athletes can usually begin doing sports-specific exercises after six weeks, although it will be three to four months before the shoulder is fully healed.

Schedule a consultation with a Newport Orthopedic Institute orthopedic shoulder surgeon in Orange County to treat your Shoulder Joint Tear, SLAP Lesion or Bankart Lesion.
Call (949) 722-7038.

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Related Testimonials
  • Petrie Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "Everyone was so nice and pleasant, easy to be around and made me feel less nervous day of surgery." Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "Dr. Petrie always took his time to explain in detail what was causing my pain/injury and also what the surgery would entail." Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "I felt like every nook and cranny of my care was attended to by Dr. Petrie and his team. I especially found having Julie at the helm of Health Loop useful and appreciated how she has swiftly gotten back to me regarding all concerns regarding my care." Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "Very professional, amazing bedside manner, and just a pleasure to work with." Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "The team has been helpful and supportive, easy communication." Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Petrie Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "They were very helpful and thorough in providing the information I needed, but did not make me scared about surgery - very reassuring" Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "Dr. Petrie took a conservative approach with me at first and didn't rush me to surgery. Once we did get to surgery, he did a great job. I also appreciate the time Dr. Petrie takes with me." Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "I appreciated the full explanation of what was going on in my shoulder and being told the plans in advance of what to expect. Seeing the surgical photos of the steps taken during the procedure was awesome." Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "The team was very thorough, knowledgeable and willing to answer questions." Provider: David S Gazzaniga MD
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "It was obvious that the team kept my best interests in the forefront." Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "Everything. He is great, and his team is fantastic. Impressed with everyone." Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "Dr Gazzaniga is great. He has great bedside manners, is confident, but not arrogant, and he has a sports background, as a player and a doctor for the NY Jets. His team does a great job of keeping you informed, and comfortable during your whole experience" Provider: David S Gazzaniga MD
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Related Locations
  • Newport Orthopedic Institute - Huntington Beach Orthopedics
    19582 Beach Boulevard, Suite 306
    Huntington Beach, CA 92648
    (949) 722-7038
  • Newport Orthopedic Institute - Irvine Orthopedics
    16300 Sand Canyon Ave, Suite 400
    Irvine, CA 92618
    (949) 722-7038
  • Newport Orthopedic Institute - Newport Beach Orthopedics
    22 Corporate Plaza Drive
    Newport Beach, CA 92660
    (949) 722-7038
  • South Orange County Orthopaedics, Inc. - Mission Viejo Orthopedics
    26730 Crown Valley Parkway, Suite 200
    Mission Viejo, CA 92691
    (949) 364-2154
  • Hoag Orthopedic Institute
    16250 Sand Canyon Ave.
    Irvine, CA 92618
    (855) 999-4641
  • Hoag Orthopedic Institute Surgery Center - Newport Beach
    22 Corporate Plaza, Suite 150
    Newport Beach, CA 92660
    (949) 515-0708