Shoulder Labrum Tear

OPA treats a wide variety of shoulder conditions and offers comprehensive treatment options — including many non-surgical solutions.

What is a Shoulder Labrum Tear?

The labrum, a circular piece of cartilage that surrounds the glenoid cavity of the scapula, it is one of the most important parts of the shoulder joint. A healthy labrum helps the head of the humerus fit perfectly in the glenoid cavity—stabilizing and moving the shoulder. A SLAP (superior labrum anterior and posterior) tear is the most common labrum injury.

Common Causes:

A labrum tear may cause a partial (subluxation) or complete shoulder dislocation. Overhead sports and movements are the most common causes of labrum tears.

Symptoms of a Shoulder Labrum Tear may include:

    • Pain
    • Instability
    • Swelling
    • Decreased range of motion
    • Inability to move the arm

When you arrive for your initial consultation, one of our team of shoulder specialists will evaluate your areas of concern, discuss your symptoms, and develop a customized and comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your unique needs. This evaluation is a necessary part of diagnosing your condition and providing the best possible care.

Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA) team of shoulder specialists diagnose labrum tears by:

    • A medical, injury, and symptom history review
    • A physical examination
    • Multiple view x-rays

Once an official diagnosis is made, a customized treatment plan is prescribed. Treatment plans decrease symptoms as quickly as possible.

Common Treatments:

An accurate diagnosis of the location and severity of the tear is very important. Nonsurgical treatment options may treat some tears. Nonsurgical treatment focuses on decreasing pain and stabilizing the shoulder as much as possible. Commonly included in an OPA specialist’s customized treatment plan are:

Decrease inflammation and pain.
Physical Therapy

One of OPA’s onsite physical therapists prescribes and monitors strengthening and stretching exercises.

Anti-inflammatory and anesthetic medications can be injected into the shoulder joint to help with pain while you are in physical therapy.

Labrum tears that do not respond to nonsurgical treatment options and/or cause severe symptoms, especially frequent shoulder subluxations or dislocations, usually require surgical intervention. During a minimally invasive arthroscopic labrum repair, an OPA specialist locates the torn labrum and repairs it with suture anchors. Following recovery and physical therapy, you regain complete shoulder function.

Schedule Appointment with Our Shoulder Team


The OPA team includes Alaska’s leading specialists and offers some of the latest, most advanced treatment procedures available today.

OPA treats a wide variety of conditions and offers comprehensive treatment options — including many non-surgical solutions, minimally invasive arthroscopies (repairs) and total joint replacement.

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