Medical Definition of Glenoid labrum

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Glenoid labrum: A ring of fibrocartilage that runs around the cavity of the scapula (wingbone) in which the head of the humerus (the bone in the upper arm) fits. The labrum deepens this cavity (the glenoid cavity) and effectively increases the surface of the shoulder joint.

Injuries to the glenoid labrum can occur from chronic trauma due to repetitive shoulder motion or from acute trauma. For example, from a fall on an outstretched arm, a direct blow to the shoulder, a sudden pull from trying to lift a heavy object, or a violent motion like pitching a baseball.

Signs and symptoms of a glenoid labrum injury include pain accompanying overhead arm motion, occasional pain in the shoulder at night or during daily activities, decreased range of motion and loss of strength in the shoulder.

Treatment may include anti-inflammatory medication and rest. Exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles may then be recommended. If these measures are not effective, arthroscopic surgery may be done.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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