A shoulder labral tear is tear of the labrum. The labrum is the tissue that helps hold the end of the arm bone, known as the humerus, in place.
The tool and arrow point to the labrum (cartilage) of the glenoid.
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Shoulder labral tears occur from an injury or through long-term wear and tear. Common causes include the following:
Factors that may increase your chance of a labral tear include:
Symptoms may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Imaging tests to evaluate the shoulder and surrounding structures may include:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. You will likely be referred to a specialist such as an orthopedic surgeon. Treatment options include the following:
Generally, this treatment is tried for several weeks. If there is no improvement, surgery is considered. Your doctor may also inject a steroid directly into your shoulder to decrease inflammation and pain.
In a shoulder arthroscopy, a surgeon inserts a thin, lighted tube through a small incision to view the injury and fix it. Small instruments are threaded through this tube. The torn ligament/tissue may be removed or sewn together. Wires or tacks may also be used to reattach any torn tendons.
After surgery, you will be given a sling to wear for up to 4 weeks. When the sling is removed, you will work with a physical therapist to gradually strengthen your arm muscles and increase your motion.
To help reduce your chance of a shoulder labral tear:
Arthroscopy Association of North America
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Labral Tears. Internet Society of Orthopaedic Surgery & Trauma website. Available at: http://www.orthogate.org/patient-education/shoulder/labral-tears.html. Updated July 27, 2006. Accessed September 2, 2015.
Shoulder Joint Tear (Glenoid Labrum Tear). American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00426. Updated January 2001. Accessed September 2, 2015.
What is a labrum/labral tear? Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsortho.org/labrum_tear.html. Accessed September 2, 2015.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP Last Updated: 11/21/2013