Shoulder Labrum Tear

What is it and what are my treatment options?

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What is a Shoulder Labrum Tear?

The LABRUM is the cuff of cartilage that forms a cup around the end of the humerus for extra support in this ball and socket joint. As a shallow joint that often becomes unstable, the labrum increases stability and allows for a wide range of motion. Unfortunately, this thick tissue is susceptible to damage and can be torn at multiple locations.

Common Causes

A labrum tear most commonly occurs as a result of trauma to the shoulder and is most often seen in athletes. There are several different types of labral tears, including:

  • SLAP Tear – a tear at the top of the shoulder socket most commonly seen in baseball and tennis players who use overhead throwing
  • Bankart Lesions – tear that occurs when the shoulder dislocates and increases a patient’s risk for future dislocations
  • Posterior Labral Tears – tears that occur from a condition called internal impingement, in which the rotator cuff and labrum are pinched together at the back of the shoulder

Labral tears can also develop with age, as the cartilage becomes more brittle and may begin to fray and tear.


Symptoms of labral tears vary depending on where the tear is located, but may include:

  • Aching
  • Pain with movement
  • Catching or popping of the shoulder
  • Clicking
  • Shoulder dislocations
  • Feeling that the shoulder is very loose


Treatment for a labral tear depends on the type of tear that has occurred. Anti-inflammatory medication, immobilization and rest can often help alleviate symptoms temporarily. However, most tears will eventually require surgical treatment to restore the shoulder back to repair the shoulder.

Labrum repair surgery can often be performed arthroscopically to insert small, permanent metal screws to suture the torn labrum back together and relieve the painful symptoms of this condition. Most patients experience significant relief from their symptoms after this procedure.

Meet Our Shoulder Experts

Michael Gross, MD

Sports Medicine Specialist

Michael Benke, MD

Sports Medicine Specialist

Oscar Vazquez, MD

Sports Medicine Specialist

Stephen Silver, MD

Sports Medicine Specialist

Our Vast Experience in Treating Shoulder Injuries and Conditions Is Second to None

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Yes! We participate with most major insurance plans. 


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