Labral tears can result in shoulder instability, which describes a condition of increased joint mobility that affects the passive restraints of the shoulder joint (labrum, capsule and ligaments) and can be broadly classified as traumatic or atraumatic. Traumatic cases result from an injury and are usually present on only one shoulder (unilateral) and demonstrate increased mobility in only one direction (unidirectional). Atraumatic cases, on the other hand, often present without an injury and demonstrate increased mobility on both shoulders and in multiple directions (multi-directional instability).
Both forms of instability can cause pain and severely impair function, but can also respond to a conservative care program focused on reducing pain, avoiding stress to the capsule, labrum and/or shoulder ligaments and improving neuromuscular control. Although both classifications of instability can improve with rehab, improvements do vary by type. Research has demonstrated that approximately 15% of traumatic cases showed good to excellent results with exercise while 83% of atraumatic cases showed improvement.
If you suffer from instability of the shoulder, make sure to give conservative care, specifically, neuromuscular control and muscle strength & endurance exercises a try before rushing into surgical reconstruction.
If you are suffering from shoulder instability and need help designing a rehab program, be sure to checkout our shoulder instability program. Many times, a simple home exercise program can go a long way in terms of restoring function and reducing pain.