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Physical therapy for labral repairs

What is a labral repair?

Labral repair is a surgery intended to reverse damage to the cartilage in the shoulder, also known as the “labrum.” The top of the upper arm bone, which rests in the shoulder socket, is surrounded by the labrum, which allows the bone to fit securely while also moving easily within the socket.

A torn labrum can cause extreme pain and greatly hinder shoulder movement. These injuries are relatively common in athletes who play baseball, tennis, football, or other sports that require a wide range of shoulder motion. They’re also common in older people, as aging can make the labrum brittle and susceptible to injury. Fortunately, a labral repair can help to ease pain and restore shoulder motion.

Source: Northwell Health

Why do patients need labral repairs?

A shoulder labral tear is almost always the result of overly repetitive shoulder motion. Otherwise, it’s caused by a sudden trauma to the shoulder, such as a direct hit, an abrupt pull, or a fall. Lifting heavy objects can sometimes cause a labral tear, which is why weightlifters are susceptible to the injury.

Patients with labral tears are likely to experience instability in the shoulder, greatly decreased range of motion, a grinding or locking sensation in the shoulder, and significant pain. It may be difficult to move or use the arm at all with a labral tear in the shoulder.

The most common reasons for labral repairs include:

  • Cartilage injury from repetitive motion
  • Shoulder injury due to sudden impact or other trauma
  • Labral tear due to age

Source: IGEA

Physical therapy for labral repairs

Immediately after undergoing a shoulder labral repair, patients will be required to keep their shoulder immobilized. After about a week of immobilization, it’s safe to begin gentle range of motion exercises. These should be performed with the assistance and close supervision of a licensed physical therapist, as it’s easy to become reinjured during this time.

At the beginning of week three post-surgery, it’s typically suggested that patients begin simple exercises such as shoulder rotations and hand gripping. Throughout the entire recovery process, patients can engage in light cardiovascular exercise such as walking or using a stationary bike.

Source: UW Health

Recovering from a labral repair with on-demand physical therapy

Luna’s physical therapists specialize in helping patients recover from their labral repair surgery. Our PTs help patients safely, effectively, and quickly regain the use of their shoulder joint and get back to the activities they love.

The best part? With Luna, patients recovering from labral repairs can get physical therapy on demand. Our physical therapists come to you — it’s physical therapy, delivered.

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