Common Rotator Cuff and Labrum Injuries

Common Rotator Cuff and Labrum Injuries

Rotator Cuff vs. Labrum

The rotator cuff and labrum are located in the shoulder region and help maintain its mobility and strength. The rotator cuff’s main purpose is to protect the shoulder joint while allowing the arm to move over head and keeps the shoulder joint in the socket. The labrum is the piece of fibrocartilage that attaches to the rim of the shoulder socket and keeps the ball of the joint in place.

How Serious is My Shoulder Injury?

  • Rotator Cuff Tear: Typically caused by wear and tear from daily use. Individuals with jobs that require the arm to move a certain way constantly such as painters and carpenters, as well as athletes who play tennis, baseball, and volleyball can experience this injury. However it can also occur from a fall or attempting to lift something heavy.
  • Labral tears occur when this cartilage is torn from either old age, overuse, or accidents. A labral tear is often difficult to diagnose. Doctors will perform physical examinations and order tests such as X-Rays and an MRI. The most reliable way to diagnose a labral tear is through an arthroscopy of the shoulder. Labral tears can debilitate the use of the shoulder in many instances and can be more painful than a rotator cuff tear.
  • Tendinitis/Bursitis: Both are common shoulder injuries, however are considered minor injuries compared to a tear. Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of the tendon attached to the bone. Bursitis is when the bursa is irritated. Oftentimes, pain caused by tendinitis and bursitis can improve with rest, ice and heat, and pain relievers like aspirin (What Is My Rotator Cuff, and Why Does It Hurt?, n.d.).

Treatment Options for Rotator Cuff Injuries

Doctors will usually prescribe physical therapy and medication for most rotator cuff injuries. Depending on the severity, the patient may need to undergo surgery. It is important for the patient to understand that a rotator cuff tear may start small, but can extend or get larger over time. Repetitive use can increase the risk of re-injury. Most rotator cuff injuries can be treated non-surgically. Anti-inflammatory medicine, steroid injections, and physical therapy will help treat the symptoms. The goals of treatment are to relieve pain and to strengthen the shoulder. Surgery is only recommended if the shoulder continues to weaken and the patient is experiencing increased pain (Rotator Cuff Tears: Frequently Asked Questions, 2017, March 01).

Treatment Options for Labrum Injuries

There are nonsurgical and surgical treatment options for treating a labral tear, also known as the SLAP tear. Most physicians will begin with more conservative treatment options before turning to surgery. Nonsurgical SLAP tear treatment includes discontinuing throwing activities, inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. However if these options fail, then patients will need to undergo a SLAP tear surgery (Gemas, T. K, 2016, April 19).

If you are suffering from chronic shoulder pain that causes weakness and limited mobility, you may have a rotator cuff or labrum injury. Call (818) 206-8686 to make an appointment with a specialist at Avalon Orthopedic today. They are board-certified orthopedic surgeons who will diagnose your injury and help choose the right treatment option for you.


Gemas, T. K. (2016, April 19). Labrum Tear Treatments. Retrieved November 13, 2017, from

Rotator Cuff Tears: Frequently Asked Questions. (2017, March 01). Retrieved November 14, 2017, from

What Is My Rotator Cuff, and Why Does It Hurt? (n.d.). Retrieved November 14, 2017, from

Questions? We Can Help!

Call Now:

New Patients Welcome!

5 stars - 25 reviews: Yelp