Labral Tear of the Shoulder

Also known as: labral tear, shoulder labral tear, shoulder labrum tear, glenoid labrum tear, shoulder joint tear.

What is labral tear of the shoulder?

The labrum is a ring of tissue that cushions the socket of the shoulder and prevents the top of the arm bone (or the “head”) from pulling away from the socket. In certain instances, the tissue of the labrum can become injured or wear over time and tear.

What causes labral tear of the shoulder? 

In most cases, labral tear of the shoulder occurs due to an injury, such as a fall, direct blow from contact sports or while lifting a heavy object. It can also occur due to wear and tear caused by repetitive motion of the shoulder (such as pitching).

What are the symptoms of labral tear of the shoulder? 

The common symptoms of a labral tear include pain, particularly if lifting the arm overhead; a sense of shoulder instability that can include a feeling of locking, popping or grinding, lack of strength and a decreased range of motion. Shoulder dislocations are a common cause of labral tears. Labral tears can cause chronic instability of the shoulder.

What are labral tear of the shoulder care options?

For minor labral tears of the shoulder, rest, medication and rehabilitation are often sufficient to heal the injury. More severe tears may require surgery in order to repair the injury. Rehabilitation is required after surgery, as well.

Reviewed by: Craig J Spurdle, MD

This page was last updated on: March 20, 2019 04:11 PM

Learn more about

Shoulder Fracture

When a bone in shoulder breaks, such as the scapula, proximal humerus or clavicle, this is known as a shoulder fracture. Learn more

SLAP Tears

SLAP tears frequently occur due to injuries to the shoulder, such as falls, car accidents or shoulder dislocation. They can also be the result of repetitive use injuries, such as throwing a ball. Learn more


Unlike surgical techniques, reduction involves manually manipulating the dislocating bone back into its socket to correct the dislocation. Learn more

MRI Arthrogram

A MRI arthrogram is used when your child has damaged a joint and small tears in the joint cartilage need to be identified. Learn more