Bankart Tear

There are many injuries associated with the shoulder that are unfamiliar to people. A Bankart tear of the shoulder is an injury to the labrum and inferior glenohumeral ligament (IGHL). The labrum and IGHL are soft tissue at the front of the socket of the shoulder. Knowing basic anatomy of the shoulder, which is a ball (humerus) and socket (glenoid) joint, allows good understanding of a Bankart tear.

The ligament system of the shoulder contains robust connective tissue that blankets the shoulder joint and attaches the upper end of the humerus to the glenoid, both bones. The labrum is included in this soft tissue stabilization system as well as the IGHL. These structures keep the head of the humerus centered in the glenoid socket.

A Bankart tear occurs when the shoulder becomes dislocated. Upon dislocation, the labrum and IGHL tears. Injuries prone to dislocation include a skier falling with an arm extended outward, a football player stretching for a tackle, or a volleyball player blocking a powerful spike at the net. Although there are sports and collision based examples, a dislocation can occur off the playing field as well.

Shoulder dislocations are among the most common injuries of the shoulder with the majority affecting younger people, 15 to 35 years of age. For people over 40, a dislocation tends to cause tearing of the rotator cuff. The younger you are with a first time dislocation, the higher the chance of recurrence.

After a dislocation episode, it is critical to follow-up with an orthopedic shoulder specialist. A thorough exam will be performed. X-rays and an MRI will be needed to provide a comprehensive understanding and accurate diagnosis. This will ensure a definitive treatment plan.

There are non-operative and operative treatment options available depending on the extent of injury to the soft tissue structures. Rest, anti-inflammatory medicine, and physical therapy may be included in a non-operative approach. These conservative treatment options are good if the labro-ligamentous complex has not sustained irreparable damage.

Surgical options may be recommended when the labro-ligamentous complex tears away from the front of the socket. For active athletes and younger patients, surgical repair can help prevent repeat dislocations and help stabilize the shoulder. All options should be evaluated to ensure long term stability of the shoulder and prevent the shoulder dislocating routinely.

If you have experienced a shoulder dislocation or recurrent instability, please contact McBride to schedule an evaluation by one of our orthopedic shoulder specialists.

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