What is a Torn Shoulder Labrum?
The shoulder labrum is an important part of the shoulder, as it is the cartilage that helps to connect the upper arm bone with the shoulder bone. Along with the rotator cuff muscles, the shoulder labrum keeps the ball-shaped end of the upper arm bone tucked into the shoulder’s socket, allowing for movement and rotation.
However, injury or overuse of these joints can lead to the shoulder labrum becoming torn, causing injury and stiffness.
Torn Shoulder Labrum Symptoms
A torn shoulder labrum can be extremely painful, resulting in the joint experiencing a grinding, popping, or locking sensation. Other symptoms include:
– Decreased flexibility and movement
– Weakness in the shoulder
– Dull, aching pain throughout the day and night
Torn shoulder labrums usually occur in tandem with other injuries to the shoulder, such as torn biceps tendons and dislocation.
Torn Shoulder Labrum Causes
There are three types of torn labrums, each with their own causes. These include:
– Poster labrum tear: The rarest kind of tear, this occurs when the shoulder joint is injured from the back.
– Bankart tear: Mostly seen in younger patients experiencing shoulder dislocation, this is when the bottom half of the glenoid socket is damaged.
– SLAP tear: The most common tear, usually seen amongst athletes of sports that involve arm rotation movements (tennis, basketball, baseball), the SLAP tear is a front to back tear.
In general, the causes for a torn labrum include:
– Sudden arm jerk
– Traumatic blow against the shoulder or while the arm is overhead
– Falling on the arm
How is a Torn Shoulder Labrum treated?
Physical therapy is the ideal nonsurgical treatment for a torn shoulder labrum. The goal of the physical therapist will be to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles, to help return support to the shoulder labrum.