Glenoid Labrum Tear

Your shoulder’s joint socket is surrounded by a structure called the labrum; this ring of cartilage supports the joint. Falling on your arm or using the joint repetitively in sports that require lots of throwing, such as softball and baseball, can partially or completely tear this tissue. This condition is known as a glenoid labrum tear.

Symptoms of this condition commonly include a decreased range of motion in the arm, a feeling of instability in the shoulder joint, pain when you raise the arm above shoulder level, and the sensation of grinding or popping when you move the arm.

If you think you have torn your glenoid labrum, consult a sports medicine specialist. He or she can diagnose you using X-rays (to rule out any other possible causes of your pain) and by doing a physical examination.

If you do have a glenoid labrum tear, your physician likely will direct you to take anti-inflammatory pain medication, such as ibuprofen, to cut down on swelling and dull the pain. He or she might also recommend physical rehabilitation exercises to help your shoulder heal. If these measures don’t take care of your glenoid labrum tear, surgery may be necessary to remove or repair flaps of torn cartilage around your shoulder joint. Wires or tacks may also be necessary to stabilize a heavily damaged joint. You also will have to immobilize the affected arm in a sling for three or four weeks after the surgery to let it heal.

At this point, you can begin rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the shoulder and bicep muscle, and although it takes three or four months for the shoulder to completely heal, you can begin some easy training specific to your sport six weeks after surgery. Starting slowly and increasing training gradually can help you avoid re-injuring yourself.