Glenoid Labrum / Cartilage Tears

What Is A Labrum Tear / Cartilage Tear?

labrum tear

The glenoid labrum is the rim of cartilage that surrounds the glenoid fossa (the "socket" of the ball and socket shoulder joint). This rim of cartilage is fibrous in nature, and while this makes it pretty tough, it can still tear if enough force or repeated irritation can be placed on it.

Labrum tears are most common in major trauma type injuries, such as in falls onto the shoulder or in throwing injuries, or any high-speed shoulder activity. When cartilage tears in the shoulder it DOES NOT always cause pain.

Whether or not a labrum tear causes pain depends on several factors. For one, the nature and extent of the tear will determine pain. Smaller tears that are not irritated by normal use of the shoulder are not always a problem. Also, if the shoulder joint is staying in fairly good alignment as we use the shoulder, there is less chance of the labrum tear causing pain. Conversely, if there is a lot of shoulder misalignment taking place when the shoulder is exercised, there is a much greater chance of irritation to the torn labrum and subsequent pain.

What's Going Wrong In A Labrum Tear / Cartilage Tear?

1. Adhesion. Adhesion formation in the rotator cuff and the scapula stabilizers will create weakness in the shoulder and the inability of the 'ball' of the humerus to stay perfectly balanced in the 'socket'. At this point, extreme movements that can normally be balanced by the rotator cuff cannot be balanced properly. The 'slop' in the joint will allow the 'ball' of the humerus to go past it's normal position, tearing the cartilage surrounding the socket.
2. Strength and Flexibility Imbalances. Usually, the shoulder that has weak posterior musculature (back of the shoulder) is more prone to labrum tears. Many of the activities that can tear the cartilage are forward motion activities (like throwing and racquet sports) where the muscles in the front are over-developed compared to the muscles in the back.
3. Structural Damage or Alteration. The most common reason the cartilage will tear is severe overuse of the arm (like pitching) and just plain old fashion trauma. When the arm is yanked backwards or forwards, the cartilage is more likely to tear. Also, if the shoulder dislocates, it is very important to get the shoulder checked for any cartilage damage. Any time the shoulder completely dislocates the cartilage will be involved, you just don't know to what degree. These types of tears can lead to arthritis in the future.

How Can ART Help Labrum Tears / Cartilage Tears?

Many labrum tears will actually heal adequately without surgery. The most important factors in allowing a labrum tear to heal include REST, avoiding the aggravating activities, and keeping the rotator cuff healthy and strong. Clearing out adhesions in the rotator cuff will allow for the shoulder to stay centered in the socket when the shoulder is being exercised. Strengthening the rotator cuff with specific exercises will also help. Finally, nutritional supplements such as Glucosamine Sulfate, MSM and Chondroitin Sulfate will help facilitate the mending of the damaged cartilage.

If a severe labrum tears does not respond well to the conservative treatment first, surgery may be sought.

Success Stories Of Those With Labrum Tears / Cartilage Tears

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