What is the Glenoid Labrum?
The glenoid labrum is a ring of tissue which is located on the rim of the Glenoid, which is where the Humerus connects to the Scapula (arm connects to the shoulder blade). This fibrous ring increases the depth of the shoulder cavity, which means that the joint is more stable. The Glenohumeral ligaments and the shoulder capsule are attached to the Glenoid Labrum. The labrum is injured through repetitive overhead throwing; lifting or catching heavy objects below shoulder height or falling onto an outstretched arm.
Glenoid Labrum injuries are classified as either superior or inferior. Superior injuries are located towards the top of the socket, and are known as SLAP Lesions (Superior Labrum injury, Anterior to Posterior). Inferior injuries are located at the bottom of the joint and are otherwise known as Bankart Lesions. Tears of the Glenoid Labrum can be caused by other injuries, such as dislocated shoulders.
The symptoms of a labrum tear may include generalised shoulder pain which cannot be pin-pointed; Pain which is worse on overhead activities or when the arm is twisted behind the back; Pain when bending the elbow against resistance; tenderness over the front of the shoulder and feelings of weakness and instability.
Minor tears without instability usually recover well with conservative treatment which involves rest and ice, followed by mobility and strengthening exercises.
Severe injuries where the shoulder joint is unstable may require surgery to repair the tear. A thorough rehabilitation programme is then followed to regain full movement and strength.
A cold shoulder wrap is a great product to use after such a shoulder injury as it will help relieve pain and reduce swelling and inflammation. A shoulder support is also a good idea if the shoulder feels at all unstable, to support the joint and provide warmth and compression. Once rehabilitating the shoulder, a resistance band is recommended as a variety of exercises can be performed with the one peice of equipment and difficulty can be increased easily by shortening the section of band being used.