The labrum is a cartilaginous extension of the shoulder socket that gives the joint more stability and an incredibly wide range of motion. The labrum can be susceptible to tearing due to trauma or it can be prone to fraying as it becomes brittle with age.
Common symptoms of a labral tear include an aching sensation in the joint, a catching or a clicking of the shoulder with movement, and a feeling of shoulder instability.Symptoms of a labral tear can vary with the location and type of injury.
A Bankart lesion occurs with an anterior dislocation of the shoulder. This increases the shoulder’s potential for future dislocations. Labral tears of the posterior shoulder can be found in athletes when their rotator cuff and labrum get pinched together in the back of the shoulder. This condition is called an internal impingement. SLAP tears are located at the superior portion of the joint, where the biceps tendon attaches to the shoulder. It is most commonly seen in athletes, such as baseball and tennis players, who frequently throw overhand.
Surgery may be required for extreme injuries but most labral tears can be treated through rest and physical therapy.
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Physical therapy will include modalities to promote healing and reduce pain, soft tissue work to address any inflammation and tightness and a strengthening program to return the muscles of the shoulder to normal function.