What is a Labral Tear?
labral tear is an injury to the cartilage of the shoulder. It is a
common sports injury, especially in overhead athletes. There are
several different types of labral lesions, and understanding the
differences can help you with your recovery.
you will find the types of labral tears, as well as common symptoms and
causes of this sports injury.
labrum is a ring of fibrous cartilage that surrounds the socket of the
shoulder (the glenoid) It is sometimes called the glenoid labrum.
labrum helps to deepen the socket and provide stability to the shoulder
joint. It is also where the shoulder capsule attaches.
labrum also helps to provide some shock absorption to the shoulder and
cushion the joint.
Types of Labral Tears
torn labrum is classified by its location. Your surgeon may refer to
your labral tear by a specific name depending on where it is.
most common types of tears are SLAP tears and Bankart tears. By
dividing the glenoid into four quadrants, you can easily see where
different tears occur and how they are classified.
about the glenoid like a clock face with 12 being at the very top, or
superior, and 6 at the bottom, or inferior.
is an acronym for superior labrum anterior posterior. This refers to
where a SLAP lesion occurs. If you look at the picture above, you can
see that a SLAP tear will be somewhere above the horizontal red line.
SLAP lesions are a special
type of labral tear because of the attachment of the biceps tendon at
the top of the glenoid.
The biceps tendon actually
attaches into the labrum, so tears in this area can also be associated
with biceps tendon problems.
type of tear is common with overhead athletes like pitchers. SLAP tears
are classified in 4 different grades, depending on their severity and
the involvement of the biceps tendon.
Learn more about SLAP Tears
lesions that occur towards the lower part of the labrum are classified
as a Bankart tear. These tears occur towards the front of the shoulder
in the lower half of the labrum.
dislocation is the
most common cause of this type of tear. Tears that occur in the lower
portion of the labrum but towards the back of the glenoid may be called
a reverse Bankart, or posterior Bankart. This type of tear is not as
Bankart tears often cause instability in the
shoulder and can be very problematic.Learn More About Bankart Lesions
most common cause of a torn labrum is a shoulder dislocation
The most common way for the shoulder to dislocate is anterior and
inferior, and this can cause tearing of the labrum in this area.
Shoulder dislocations have a Bankart lesion 98% of the time, and is one
reason that dislocations recur very frequently.
labral tears include repetitive overhead throwing, falling on an out
stretched arm, or forced motion of the shoulder beyond its normal
common symptom with this
injury is pain, especially with overhead activities. You may have
popping or clicking in the shoulder, as well as feelings of the
shoulder locking up or needing to pop. Many times the clicking or
popping is painful.
You may also have a loss of
strength, or feelings of instability...like your shoulder is going to
come out of place.
A torn labrum may be overlooked
initially, mistaken for impingement syndrome
Initial treatment for a torn
labrum follows the RICE principles
. Rest and ice will
help to reduce your pain.
You may be given a sling
to wear for comfort and to protect the injured area.
times a labral lesion is not the first concern. This is true if you
have a shoulder dislocation.
You should be referred
for shoulder rehabilitation
normal range of motion
and stability to the shoulder. Some labral tears can be treated
conservatively depending on the size of the tear and your symptoms and
If you have a large tear, or have
instability, you may need surgery to repair your labrum
tears are common sports injuries, and can occur with overhead or
contact athletes. Tears are classified based on their location, and may
be able to be treated conservatively with rehabilitation. If you do not
see improvement with rehab, surgery may be necessary to repair your
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