The shoulder joint is made up of various bones, muscles, and ligaments. These work together to keep everything in place and functioning. The shoulder joint consists of three bones, the scapula (shoulder blade), humerus (upper arm bone), and the clavicle (collarbone).
The head of the humerus rests in a socket in the scapula known as the glenoid or glenoid cavity, however, the glenoid is very shallow, which means the humerus can be easily dislodged if it is not held in place.
Therefore, the head of the humerus is held in place by the labrum, which are soft fibrous tissues that help to deepen the socket, allowing the humerus to sit comfortably within. The labrum also acts as an attachment site for various ligaments.
There are 3 types of glenoid labrum tear, these are:
Superior Labrum Anterior Posterior (SLAP) lesion: occurs when the top part of the labrum is torn on both the anterior (front) and posterior (back).
Bankart lesion: occurs when the front part of the bottom of the labrum is torn.
Posterior labral tear: occurs when the back part of the labrum is torn.
What causes glenoid labrum tear?
A glenoid labrum tear, no matter the type, can be caused by:
Repetitive shoulder movements: this can result in wear and tear commonly resulting in a posterior labral tear.
Injury or trauma: shoulder dislocation, car accidents, falls, forceful movement of the shoulders, etc. can all contribute to a glenoid labrum tear.
What are the symptoms of glenoid labrum tear?
Like most shoulder injuries, a glenoid labrum tear has the following symptoms:
Limited range of motion
Popping, grinding, or locking sensation in the shoulder
Reduced shoulder strength
Feeling of shoulder instability
If you notice any of the symptoms, make an appointment with an orthopaedic specialist to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Dr Puah KL is our Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Artisan Sports & Orthopaedic Surgery. He used to serve the sports service of Singapore General Hospital - the highest volume trauma centre for orthopaedics in Singapore.