Shoulder Labral Tear

What is a Shoulder Labral tear?

The labrum of the shoulder is a fibrocartilage structure that deepens the “socket” of the shoulder. The labrum, along with the rotator cuff muscles, joint capsule, and other ligaments helps in stabilising the humeral head or “ball” part of the shoulder joint. Tearing of the shoulder labrum can be caused by incidents like a sudden tug of the arm, falling on an outstretched arm, or getting hit in the shoulder. A tear to the labrum can cause symptoms such as catching or locking, lack of strength, limited range of motion, a feeling of instability and pain when sleeping.



How is a labral tear treated? 

Treatment can depend on the severity of the tear and amount of instability in the shoulder following a tear. If the tear is severe enough, surgery may be required, but this is not always the case. Regardless of a surgical or non-surgical option, the muscles around the joint must be correctly re-strengthened and correct movement must be restored, as a labrum tear can also be accompanied by other injuries such a rotator cuff or a biceps tendon tear or irritation. As the shoulder is a very complex joint, ensuring it is able to move pain-free and perform to the person’s goals is the primary focus of treatment.

How can an Exercise Physiologist help? 

An Exercise Physiologist can help by guiding you on how to restore both strength and movement to allow the injury to heal. Treatment would involve a careful assessment and a graded increase in particular exercises known to be beneficial in the rehabilitation of a labral tear. We can help by showing you how to safely perform these exercises and give the appropriate progressions at the right points in time. This will ensure the injury is given the best chance to heal and reduce the chance of re-injury and complications in the future.

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