The shoulder is a complex joint capable of various motions, therefore requiring numerous structures for additional support. One structure that aids in shoulder stability is the glenoid labrum. Not only does the labrum help deepen the shoulder socket for a better fit for your humerus, but it also serves as an attachment site for tendons of muscles surrounding your shoulder and arm like your biceps and rotator cuff muscles. A traumatic labral tear can be caused by a direct injury such as falling on an outstretched arm or directly onto the shoulder. The labrum can also be injured from wear and tear over time, especially from repetitive overhead activity, which is something often seen in athletes such as baseball pitchers. The labrum can also weaken and fray with age.

Although there are various types of labral injuries, the two main types of labral tears are the SLAP lesion, a tear on the top portion of the labrum from front to back, and a bankart lesion, which is an injury to the front lower portion of the labrum from a forward dislocation of the shoulder. Not all tears will have symptoms, but depending on the severity, common signs and symptoms includes a clicking or catching sensation, pain with overhead activities, weakness or instability, decreased range of motion, and decrease in overall shoulder performance.

Labral tears can be diagnosed through special tests performed by the skilled physical therapist at the Fischer Institute. With our holistic approach to our evaluations and treatment, you will find that we may also address any deficiencies in other body parts, such as hips and spine, which can lead to shoulder issues. Treatments provided at the Fischer Institute can include various modalities and techniques to improve pain, such as e-stim, dry-needling, and GameReady. Our clinicians are competent in a wide variety of techniques to increase range of motion, such as ASTYM, various soft-tissue techniques, joint mobilizations, and manual stretching. The Fischer Institute is one of the few FDA-certified Owens Recovery Science Bloodflow Restriction training clinic in Arizona, which is a highly-successful tool in strengthening injured tissues without excessive resistance and joint stress. With the vast knowledge and experience possessed by the Fischer Institute clinicians, you can be assured that you will be receiving the safest, most efficient, and functional individualized exercise prescription to properly strengthen and stabilize your shoulder, so that you can safely return to your previous activities.

Written by Ray Villa, PTA

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