A Labral tear is a cause of shoulder pain. The labrum is a cartilage ring which surrounds the shoulder socket. The biceps tendon, which comes from the muscle on your arm, goes through the shoulder joint and attaches to the top of the labrum.
What causes labral tears?
Labral tears are often caused by a direct injury to the shoulder, such as falling on an outstretched hand. The labrum can also become torn from the wear and tear of activity, a condition called overuse. An injured labrum can lead to shoulder instability. The extra motion of the humerus within the socket causes additional damage to the labrum. An extremely unstable shoulder may slip or dislocate. This can also cause the labrum to tear.
The symptoms of a tear in the shoulder socket rim are very similar to those of other shoulder injuries. Symptoms include
- Pain, usually with overhead activities
- Catching, locking, popping, or grinding
- Occasional night pain or pain with daily activities
- A sense of instability in the shoulder
- Decreased range of motion
- Loss of strength
What are the common types of labral tears?
The most common patterns of labral tears are:
- SLAP Tears
A SLAP tear is a type of labral tear most commonly seen in overhead throwing athletes such as baseball players and tennis players. The torn labrum seen in a SLAP tear is at the top of the shoulder socket where the biceps tendon attaches to the shoulder.
- Bankart Tears
A Bankart lesion is a labral tear that occurs when a shoulder dislocates. When the shoulder comes out of joint, the labrum is torn, and makes the shoulder more susceptible to future dislocations.
- Posterior Labral Tears
Posterior labral tears are less common, but sometimes seen in athletes in a condition called internal impingement. In this syndrome, the rotator cuff and labrum are pinched together in the back of the shoulder.
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