Question:My 21-year-old son hurt his arm during a ski jump last winter. At first the surgeon thought he had a labral tear. But now his arm is frozen with no movement past 90 degrees. Does this makes sense? How can you have a torn cartilage and a frozen joint?
Answer:The labrum is a dense fibrocartilage ring that is firmly attached around the acetabulum (shoulder socket). It provides both depth and stability to the normally shallow acetabulum.
A labral tear can result in a painful and unstable shoulder. A stiff, painful (frozen) shoulder is not uncommon after shoulder trauma. This may be the body's protective response. It is usually self-limiting. This means it will eventually get better on its own.
If conservative care does not take care of the problem, then surgery may be needed. The surgeon may just manipulate the shoulder. This is a careful moving of the shoulder through its full motion while the patient is anesthetized. If that doesn't help, then incision and release of the anterior shoulder capsule may be needed.Dennis Liem, MD, et al. The Influence of Arthroscopic Subscapularis Tendon and Capsule Release on Internal Rotation Strength in Treatment of Frozen Shoulder. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. Vol. 36. No. 5. Pp. 921-926.
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