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Glenoid Labrum Tears

The shoulder joint is a “ball and socket” joint that enables smooth gliding movements of the arms. However, it is inherently unstable because the socket or glenoid cavity is shallow. A soft rim of cartilage, the labrum, lines the glenoid and deepens it so that it accommodates the head of the upper arm bone better.

Causes of Glenoid Labral Tear

Traumatic injury to the shoulder or overuse of shoulder (throwing, weightlifting) may cause labral tear. In addition, ageing may weaken the labrum leading to injury.

Symptoms of Glenoid Labral Tear

Shoulder labral tear injury may cause symptoms such as:

  • Pain.
  • Catching or locking sensation.
  • Decreased range of motion .
  • Joint instability.

Treatments for Glenoid Labral Tear

Your doctor may start with conservative approaches such as prescribing anti-inflammatory medications and advise rest to relieve symptoms until diagnostic scans are done. Rehabilitation exercises may be recommended to strengthen rotator cuff muscles. If the symptoms do not resolve with these conservative measures, your doctor may recommend arthroscopic surgery.

During arthroscopic surgery, your surgeon examines the labrum and the biceps tendon. If the damage is confined to the labrum without involving the tendon, then the torn flap of the labrum will be removed. In cases where the tendon is also involved or if there is detachment of the tendon, absorbable wires or sutures will be used to repair and reattach the tendon. After the surgery, you will be given a shoulder sling to wear for 3-4 weeks. You will be advised motion and flexibility exercises after the sling is removed. These exercises increase the range of motion and flexibility of the shoulder joint.