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Shoulder News

Underhanded Results for Overhead Athletes

Both the hip and the shoulder joint have a fibrous rim of cartilage around the joint called the labrum. This rim deepens the joint and gives it more stability. Stability balances the joint and holds it steady.

Athletes commonly tear the labrum in the shoulder joint. This often requires surgery. A small screw may be used to hold the labrum in place. Repair of a labral tear is successful in a majority of patients.

However, athletes who play overhead sports don't have as good a result. Overhead sports include volleyball, baseball, and tennis. The reason for the difference in results is unclear. The athletes have full motion after the repair, but they can't seem to return to full sports activity without pain. Perhaps a greater physical demand on the shoulder makes a difference with overhead sports. Researchers continue to study this problem in hopes of returning all athletes back to full sports activity.


Seung-Ho Kim, MD, et al. Results of Arthroscopic Treatment of Superior Labral Lesions. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. June 2002. Vol. 84-A. No. 6. Pp. 981-985.

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