The shoulder is a complex series of four joints that also has the most range of motion in the body. The glenohumeral joint is most commonly referred to as the ‘shoulder’. It is where the upper arm connects to the shoulder blade. There is a labrum inside this joint that can get torn or detached. The labrum is similar to the menisci of the knee joint and is a cartilage ring that sits on the rim of the glenoid in the scapula. It’s function is to increase the congruity and stability of the joint for full range of motion in the shoulder.
The labrum can get torn, frayed or detached with use. When this happens, it can cause pain, limited motion, reduced strength and dysfunction. Physical therapists will educate you on the condition, prognosis and exercises to stabilize and strengthen the area. Treatments will include joint and soft tissue mobilization, modalities to reduce pain and inflammation, kinesiology tape to support the joint. and education on activity modification and prognosis.
Patients can live with minor labral tears. They will typically have some minor discomfort and will have some limitations in their activities. Larger tears will require surgery to repair the tear so that the joint can function normally for regular and higher intensity activities.