Surrounding the glenoid, also known as the shoulder socket, the labrum is cartilage that serves to support the shoulder joint. When the labrum is torn, it can cause pain, instability, and immobility of the shoulder. There are two common types of labrum tears:
SLAP Tear – The SLAP tear, which abbreviates Superior Labrum, Anterior and Posterior, is a common injury among athletes who engage in repetitive shoulder motion, and can also be caused by trauma. . SLAP tears affect the top, or superior, region of the labrum, at the location connecting the biceps tendon to the labrum.
Bankart Tear – Typically occurring as a result of shoulder dislocation in younger patients, the Bankart tear occurs at the anterior of the labrum and is a common source of shoulder instability and pain.
As a more conservative approach to the treatment of labrum tears, physical therapy is utilized by Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine with the objective of rehabilitating the shoulder muscles and restoring their range of motion. Physical therapy is typically the first course of action taken, but may also be recommended in conjunction with an arthroscopic repair.
The extent of the repair required is dependent upon the severity of the tear and whether the bicep tendon itself is torn as well. Performed arthroscopically, the torn area of the labrum is reattached to the glenoid using tiny sutures and anchors, allowing for the development of scar tissue as the region heals.