Shoulder Labrum Tear

shoulder labral tear

Shoulder Labrum Tear

shoulder labral tearShoulder Labrum Tear

A shoulder labrum tear is a condition characterized by tearing of the cartilage tissue (labrum) within your shoulder joint. The glenoid labrum is a fibro-cartilaginous rubbery structure which encircles the glenoid cavity deepening the glenohumeral socket. It also cushions the impact of the humerus bone on the shoulder blade during upper limb weight bearing. Any severe damage to this structure may have serious consequences to the functions of your shoulder.

What is the shoulder glenoid labrum?

Your shoulder is made up of a ball and socket joint.  In your shoulder joint, the head of the humerus (bone of the upper arm) rests in a shallow socket (the glenoid fossa) located on the shoulder blade. Glenoid labrum is a ring of cartilage (similar to the meniscus in the knee) that surrounds the base of the shoulder joint and offers additional support for the joint, keeping it in place.  The glenoid labrum deepens the socket so that the head of the humerus bone fits better.  In addition, it serves as an attachment site for several ligaments.

What is a shoulder labral tear?

A shoulder labral tear is when the glenoid labrum sometimes described as the support ring of the shoulder is torn or disrupted.  Shoulder labral injuries are divided into two groups: superior (towards the top of the glenoid socket), and inferior (towards the bottom of the glenoid socket).  If the shoulder labrum is torn the consequences can include; shoulder pain, an unstable shoulder joint, and even a shoulder dislocation.

Causes of a shoulder labral tearshoulder labrum tear

Causes of a shoulder glenoid labral tear can include:

Acute trauma: A direct blow to the shoulder, falling onto an outstretched arm, sudden pull or a violent overhead reach, motor vehicle accident.

Repetitive shoulder motions: Weightlifting, catching heavy objects below shoulder height, sports requiring intense throwing (such as cricket or baseball), racquet sports (such as tennis)

Symptoms of a shoulder labral tear

Symptoms of this condition may include:

  • Pain: Typically with overhead activities, usually felt on the front, back or side of the shoulder and may radiate into other areas
  • Weakness of the shoulder: Typically unilateral
  • Decreased range of motion of the shoulder joint
  • Sometimes instability of the shoulder joint
  • Audible sounds: Popping, grinding, clunking, or catching with shoulder movement
  • Tenderness over the front, back or side of the shoulder

Treatment of a shoulder labral tear

Initial advice consists of; rest, ice, and avoiding aggravating activities

Physiotherapy treatments may include:

  • Electrotherapy
  • Stretching exercisesto improve range of motion
  • Strengthening exercises to support the joint and decrease strain on the glenoid labrum
  • Postural correction
  • Education and activity modification advice
  • Joint mobilization
  • Icing
  • Massage: To decrease pain and improve movement
  • Trigger point release techniques
  • Acupuncture / Dry needling

The Shoulder Physical Therapists at Ace Physio can help you evaluate your shoulder, and provide your with guidance on properly rehabilitating your shoulder.  

Ace Physio is a highly respected Physiotherapy clinic in downtown Toronto. Ace Physio offers skilled, individualized treatment and rehabilitation plans by expert Physiotherapists using cutting-edge techniques and equipment.

To book an appointment call Ace Physio Clinic today at 416-900-6653

About the Author

Brad SaltzBrad is a Registered Physiotherapist at Ace Physio, a highly respected Physiotherapy clinic in downtown Toronto. Ace Physio provides high quality one on one Physiotherapy that combined state-of-art technology such as; Shockwave Therapy, Laser Therapy, and Spinal Decompression with traditional Physiotherapy.View all posts by Brad Saltz