Labral Injury Treatment and Recovery, Explained by Ohio State Sports Medicine

I’m Grant Jones and I’m an orthopedic surgeon
at OSU Sports Medicine. The labrum is a rim of cartilage that surrounds
the shoulder joint and it serves several different purposes. A one is is it deepens the socket of the joint
to provide stability to the joint. The other is it provides the attachment for
all the ligaments that help stabilize the joint. In addition, it provides the attachment for
the long head of the biceps tendon as it goes into the shoulder joint. There are several different mechanisms of
injury. It can be a traumatic type injury, such as
if one dislocates their shoulder, either out the front or out the back. In that case, the labrum pulls off the bone
and it has an acute traumatic event. The other possibility is a repetitive micro
trauma type situation that we in overhead athletes, such as baseball players, gymnasts,
softball players, volleyball players, where repetitive motions of the arm provide a mechanism
to kind of peel off the labrum and cause injury to the labrum. Not every labral tear needs to be surgically
repaired. Often these a repetitive overuse type labral
tears can be treated with a conservative management program including a physical therapy program
to stay to work on the muscles that help stabilize the joint to take some of the tension and
pressure off the labrum. We can also treat them with anti-inflammatory
medications. In other words, if someone has an injury to
the labrum from this repetitive overuse type situation, they get inflammation in the shoulder,
we’ll provide some anti-inflammatory medications to calm down the inflammation and then allow
them to participate in a physical therapy program. And a majority of these type situations respond
to a more conservative type approach. Now if one has an acute, traumatic injury
to the labrum, such as if they dislocated their shoulder, either out the front or out
the back and they’re a young active person, those people we’re often more aggressive in
surgically treating those because they’ll have problems with recurrent instability if
we don’t treat those that way. After surgical repair of the labrum, it is
a long recovery process. One is in a sling for approximately six weeks. We begin therapy two or three weeks in just
for some gentle range of motion type exercises that we do for the first six weeks. At six weeks we start some gradual active
exercises where we start a using the muscle groups to move the shoulder and then gradually
progress into a strengthening program around ten to twelve weeks. And then from twelve to twenty-four weeks
we continue with the strengthening type program and gradually introduce more sport specific
activities. So overall I tell people it’s a four to six-month
type recovery after this type of surgery. OSU Sports Medicine specializes in these types
of sports types injuries, such as labral tears and if you want to get the best outcome from
this type of surgery, you want to go to a specialist that specializes not only in repairing
the labrum but also in athletes so that you can get an appropriate type of recovery to
get back to your sport. As a fellow sports enthusiast, particularly
an extreme sport enthusiast, I do understand that you do take risks when participating
in these type of activities. This is a helmet cam from some recent skiing
trips that I’ve taken, me going down a mountain. If you do have the unfortunate experience
to have an injury with one of these activities, feel comfortable to know that OSU Sports Medicine
has you covered.

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