The glenoid labrum is a ring of thick tissue surrounding the bony cup of the shoulder. It is susceptible to injury with trauma to the shoulder joint. When a patient sustains a shoulder injury(shoulder dislocation as an example), the labrum may tear away from the bone. The labrum may also become more brittle and fray or tear as part of the aging process.
Types of Labral Tears
- SLAP Tear – Damage occurring in the superior or uppermost area of the labrum
- Bankart Tear – Damage occurring in the anterior portion of the labrum
- Posterior Tear – Damage occurring in the posterior portion of the labrum
- A dull throbbing ache in the joint. This can be brought on by very strenuous exertion or simple household chores. Sufferers notice that they turn to ice packs more frequently for relief.
- Difficulty sleeping due to shoulder discomfort. The SLAP lesion decreases the stability of the joint which when combined with lying in bed causes the shoulder to drop. This in turn pulls on the muscles and ligaments causing discomfort.
Athletes including, baseball players and swimmers are especially susceptible to suffer a labral tear. Workers who perform repetitive actions overhead are also at greatest risk for labral tears.
Arthroscopic repair of a torn labrum typically yields the best results. Post-operative physical therapy is also needed to maximize the patient’s range of motion.