The labrum is a cartilaginous fibro-cartilage that lines that outside rim of the shoulder joint. It helps to create depth within the shoulder joint and essentially sucks the head of the humerus into the joint. Therefore it helps to provide stability to a joint that has little bony stability.
Labral tears can be either degenerative (occurring over time) or traumatic.
Patients will usually report a generally sense of instability in the shoulder. They will also report pain with particular shoulder movements, especially with overhead activities. They may also report new catching or clicking within the shoulder. It may also be accompanied with a decreased range of motion and reduction in strength compared to the unaffected side.
Diagnosis can be confirmed through thorough subjective questioning and testing. The best scan to rule in or out a labral tear is an MRI, though this is not always required. Schwartzberg et al (2016) showed that in a group of 53 people, aged 40-65, that 72% had labral tears, though no pain! This reiterates that you need to treat the person, not just the imaging results.
The diagnosis of a labral tear does not necessarily mean that it needs to be surgically repaired. The decision to get further surgical opinion will depend on several factors including the severity of the tear and symptoms, mechanism of injury and patient goals.
If you have any current concerns regarding your shoulder, your local sports physiotherapist will be able to guide you on how to best manage your current injury and concerns.
To make a booking to see your local Melbourne physiotherapist for treatment of your Shoulder Labral tear, please call either the Essendon, North Melbourne or Blackburn physiotherapy clinics or book online.