The shoulder is fortunately and unfortunately the most unstable joint in the human body. Fortunately, this allows it to move in an array of directions, such as letting you reach for those items on the top shelf in your home pantry. Unfortunately, this instability leaves the joint prone to injuries.
The labrum is a structure that surrounds the shoulder joint. Usually, this cartilage ring offers support and further stability to the shoulder. If you fall on your arm or repetitively use the shoulder – such as in softball or baseball – a partial or complete tear of the labrum may happen. This is called a glenoid labrum tear.
Signs & Symptoms of a Glenoid Labrum Tear
Common signs and symptoms of a glenoid labrum tear include:
- Instability in the shoulder
- Decreased shoulder range of motion
- Pain when raising your arm above shoulder height
- Grinding, popping, or locking sensations
- Shoulder or arm weakness
Treating a Glenoid Labrum Tear
If you suspect a tear has occurred on your glenoid labrum, seek out advice from your doctor or a sports medicine professional. They will be able to diagnose the tear via an X-ray, as well as rule out other potential causes or injuries.
Anti-inflammatory pain medication, like ibuprofen, may help counteract the swelling and pain. However, caution should be used when taking such medication. It should not be taken longer than 10 consecutive days.
If non-surgical interventions don’t suffice, surgery may be recommended. Either way, you will likely be in a sling for a set amount of time. After surgery, this duration is about 3-4 weeks.
Rehabilitation involves exercises to help strengthen the rotator cuff and the biceps muscle. About 6 weeks after surgery, more sport-specific training can begin to be incorporated into your routine. It’s recommended to start slow and gradually increase your training to avoid re-injury.
Ice, heat, and rest may also help speed up the healing process. Take the advice given to you by your healthcare provider. That way, you can get back to your day-to-day and sports activities as soon as possible.