The socket of the shoulder joint is extremely shallow and inherently unstable. The shoulder joint has a ring of cartilage around the socket called a labrum that forms a deeper cup for the ball portion of the upper arm bone (humerus) to compensate for the shallow socket. This ring of cartilage increases stability of the shoulder joint, yet allows for a wide range of movements.
There are two types of labral tears:
- Bankart Lesion Tear
The bankart lesion is a common cause of instability in the shoulder. This kind of tear can occur from stress on the front of the shoulder when performing overhead activities like throwing or serving a tennis ball. Another way to develop a bankart lesion is when a shoulder dislocates.
Symptoms of a bankart lesion often include a sense of instability and aching in the shoulder. The patient usually experiences repetition of the dislocation or a catching sensation in the shoulder.
- SLAP Lesion Tear
SLAP is short for Superior Labrum from Anterior (front) to Posterior (back). This type of labral tear is usually seen in overhead throwing athletes such as baseball players and tennis players. An injury to this part of the body typically happens due to overuse, trauma and accidents such as falling onto an outstretched hand.
Symptoms of a SLAP Lesion include pain and soreness in the front of the shoulder when bending the elbow or turning the wrist. Some also experience a click or snap with movement of the shoulder and it may feel like the shoulder is being dislocated.
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