The shoulder is a delicate balance of mobility and stability. The more motion a system has, the more inherent risk for instability there is. The shoulder illustrates this philosophy elegantly. A dislocation in the shoulder, typically causes a tear in your labral tissue that can lead to chronic and problematic shoulder instability. To stabilize your shoulder, count on the orthopedic specialists at ORTHOKnox. If you’re in Knoxville or the surrounding areas of Tennessee, and you’d like to regain full use of your shoulders, call for an appointment or use the online scheduling tool.
Shoulder instability is a condition that occurs when the humeral head, or ball, of the shoulder will not stay centered and stable on the glenoid, or socket. When the head slips or moves off of the glenoid, this is an instability. It is classically painful and disabling. The instability may be subtle and manifest itself as pain only, or it may be severe and the shoulder pops completely out of joint. This often necessitates an urgent trip to ORTHOKnox, to have the shoulder reduced back into the joint.
One of the key tissues at risk of damage with shoulder instability is the labrum, which serves as a bumper or gasket to the shoulder helping stabilize the ball in the socket. Once the shoulder dislocates, this cartilaginous tissue called the labrum is frequently torn along with the capsule, leading to chronic problems with shoulder instability.
A Bankart tear is a tear to the labrum and capsule in a specific location of the shoulder, the anterior and inferior, or the bottom part of the front of the shoulder. This tear usually involves a key stabilizing ligament called the inferior glenohumeral ligament. Bankart tears are far more common in younger people — ages 30 and under — and almost always occur with a traumatic dislocation of the shoulder. Bankart tears often lead to persistent problems with instability, which is why you should seek the help of one of the doctors at ORTHOKnox.
While rest and time may help to reduce the pain and inflammation of a dislocated shoulder, if you’ve torn your labrum, you’re at a much higher risk of developing shoulder instability, even after you heal from the initial pain. Because of this, the providers often recommend arthroscopic reconstructive surgery, especially if you’re young and wish to continue your active lifestyle and sports.
With a Bankart reconstruction, your surgeon views the shoulder arthroscopically and repairs the torn capsule and labrum to restore stability to your shoulder. First, your doctor reattaches the labrum, and then he tightens the ligaments. To do this, he uses small implants called suture anchors that are implanted in the bone with the suture attached in such a way that the surgeon can sew the ligaments and labrum back down to the bone.
Almost as important as the reconstructive surgery is the work you do afterward through physical therapy to strengthen your shoulder and regain motion. By following the instructions of physical therapy, you regain the greatest degree of function possible and prevent re-injury of your shoulder.
To learn more about correcting shoulder instability, call ORTHOKnox or use the online scheduling tool to request an appointment.