Have you heard the term SLAP tear and wonder what it is? What about a Bankart lesion? Well, in today’s blog you will find out about these different types of labrum tears!
Inside your shoulder joint, there is a cartilage structure called the glenoid labrum, or labrum for short. It basically acts as a cup for the head of your humerus (upper arm bone). It helps keep your humerus aligned in your shoulder joint. Also, the tendon of your biceps muscle is involved with the labrum, as the tendon enters the shoulder joint and is attached to the superior or top aspect of the labrum. The biceps tendon is often compromised with a labrum tear.
Shoulder Instability After Labrum Tears
Shoulder instability is when you are unable to keep your humerus centered in the shoulder joint. There are two types of instability: traumatic and atraumatic. A traumatic instability occurs with a specific injury such as a fracture or dislocation. After such an injury, if there is damage to the labrum, your humerus may be unstable in the shoulder joint.
How Do You Get a Labrum Tear
You can injure the labrum in a number of ways including falling, pulling, trying to stop a fall by grabbing something above, or even throwing an object. As mentioned above, you can also have an atraumatic labrum tear. The labrum can tear over time from “everyday wear and tear” on your joints. This is typically seem in someone who has frequent dislocations or a longstanding instability.
Symptoms include loud clicking or popping sounds, a deep, aching pain in the joint, and instability of your shoulder joint.
There are two types of labrum tears: a SLAP tear and a Bankart lesion. A SLAP tear is a specific type of labrum tear. SLAP stands for superior labrum anterior and posterior. At the top (superior) portion of the labrum, one of your biceps tendons attaches. In a SLAP tear this top portion, along with in front of the tendon (anterior) and behind it (posterior) are injured.
A Bankart lesion is a tear in the front, lower (anterior, inferior) aspect of the labrum. Often a Bankart lesion also involes the ligamentous capsule of the shoulder joint.
Do Labrum Tears Require Surgery?
To diagnose a labrum tear, your doctor may do a number of physical tests with your arm and they may order an MRI. Doctors used to operate frequently to repair labrum tears, but recently, they have found patients are able to strengthen their shoulder and relieve their symptoms by working around the tear. Here at LB Hand Therapy, we have had success relieving pain and stabilizing the shoulder by strengthening the core, shoulder blade, and rotator cuff muscles. Therefore, we recommend trying therapy before having surgery depending on the severity of the tear.
Are you having a lot of clicking or popping in your shoulder? Did you sustain an injury to your shoulder? Considering shoulder surgery or just have more questions? LB Hand Therapy is here to help! Visit our Where To Begin page to become a patient.