Overhead Sports & Shoulder Labral Tears
What is a labrum and how does it relate to my pitching?
The glenoid labrum lines the shoulder socket & plays an important role in keeping the humerus (upper arm) in the socket. The upper part of the labrum is only loosely attached to the socket and part of the long head of the biceps is and extension of it. Basically, the the bicep and the labrum are connected.
Very large or repetitive forces within the biceps tendon can partially detach the loosely secured labrum from the glenoid rim. The relatively high incidence of superior labral tears in throwing athletes, such as baseball pitchers, is partially because of the forces produced within the biceps during this activity.
The long head of the biceps is stressed during the “cocking” phase of pitching. Additional stress is added as the muscle works to rapidly decelerate the arm & forearm during the follow-through phase of pitching. This stress is transferred directly to the labrum because of the anatomy that was described earlier. Additionally, a weakening of the attachment of the long head of the biceps in the labrum likely limits the muscle’s ability to restrain movement of the humeral head that can occur with throwing motions.
A combination of these factors may predispose the throwing athlete to instability & can result in a labral tear.