02 9233 3946


Labral tear

What is a labral tear?

A shoulder joint labral tear is an injury to the labrum of the shoulder, or to the fibrous ring surrounding the glenoid or socket of the shoulder.
When the labrum (made of fibrous cartilage tissue) is torn, it can make the shoulder painful with overhead actions.
Labral tears are often caused by:

– Falling on an outstretched arm
– Falling on a shoulder
– Holding a steering wheel in a car accident
– Lifting heavy objects repeatedly or too suddenly
– Doing a lot of overhead activities, such as throwing a baseball
– Degeneration with age 

What are the different types of labral tears?

A labral tear above the middle of the socket is called a SLAP Tear.
– Slap tears occur at the top of the shoulder (11 O’clock to 1 O’clock).
– If the tear is at the front of the shoulder, it may be called a Bankart Tear  (3 O’clock to 6 O’clock)
– When the tear is at the back of the shoulder (6 o’clock to 11 o’clock it may be called Reverse Bankart lesion
– This implies ligament are also involved
– Sometimes tears occur in combination and these tears are called 360 degree tears

What are the sytmptoms of a labral tear?

Pain with overhead movements like throwing a ball
– Popping, clicking or catching in the shoulder
– Pain when you move your arm over your head 
– Weakness or instability in the shoulder
– People often have a hard time describing or pinpointing where the pain is or describe it as an “aching” pain

What is the treatment for a labral tear?

– Usually, they are not operative, but a significant labral shoulder tear may need surgery for the best outcome and function
– This is generally done via a minimally invasive procedure known as arthroscopy, which can be done as a day surgery
– Physiotherapy will be required post surgery