Labrum Tear

The labrum is an integral part of the hip and shoulder joint. Injury to the labrum can cause significant pain and prevent your ability to partake in your favorite activities.


Symptoms

Symptoms of a shoulder labral tear include pain in the shoulder when attempting to perform overhead activities, feeling that the shoulder is unstable, locking/catching or grinding when moving, feeling that the arm is heavy, weakness, and stiffness.

Symptoms of a hip labral tear include pain in the hip joint or groin, locking, catching, or clicking when you move, and stiffness of the hip.

Causes

The labrum is a cartilaginous structure that lies within the “socket” of two joints: the shoulder and hip. More specifically, the labrum of the shoulder lies in the glenoid fossa and the labrum of the hip lies within the acetabulum. In each joint, the labrum acts to create more of a cushioned pocket for the “ball” aspect of the joint, or the humeral head (shoulder) and femoral head (hip). A labrum tear is usually caused by overuse injuries, trauma, or structural abnormalities such as a deformity in shape of the ball or socket aspect of the joint.

Diagnosis

Your physical therapist will first take a history of your symptoms, including questions to understand your pain pattern, history of symptoms, how your symptoms affect your function throughout the day, and any help or doctors you may have seen. Next, your therapist will perform a thorough examination of your hip or shoulder mobility, strength, muscle flexibility, and ability to perform functional activities (such as walking or reaching overhead). Performing a comprehensive evaluation will help the therapist to understand the cause of the symptoms and how to treat it.

Treatment and Exercises

Physical therapy can help relieve symptoms after a labral tear as well as effectively and safely guide recovery after surgery. A main concern with a labral tear is the instability it can create within the joint. After careful examination, your physical therapist will create a personalized program to create a program aimed to increase strength of the muscles surrounding the joint, improve stability of the joint, reduce pain, and teach you ways to manage the symptoms so you can get back to doing what you love.

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