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Shoulder Labral Tear

The labrum is a type of cartilage found in the ball and socket joint of the shoulder where it meets the arm bone (humerus). This forms a ball at the shoulder where it meets the socket of the shoulder blade. These two bones are connected by strong ligaments which hold the bones in place. This is similar to the ball and socket joint of the hip. However, the shoulder joint is not as deep as the hip joint and is predisposed to being unstable.

Over time, this cartilage can become damaged due to small micro tears or trauma. The weakening and degeneration of this cartilage can lead to pain and instability of the shoulder. In more severe cases, the cartilage may tear completely causing the bones of the shoulder to rub together.

Athletes whose positions require repetitive throwing motions are susceptible to this injury as well as those whose jobs require repetitive motion of the shoulder.

Depending upon the severity and type of injury, the labrum may be partially or completely torn. If you suspect a labral tear, it is important to seek medical attention as this condition may worsen if left untreated.

Signs and symptoms of a Labral Tear may include:

  • Pain when raising the arms
  • Pain in the shoulder
  • “Catching” or “popping” of the shoulder joint
  • Feeling of the joint “locking”
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Weakness in the affected arm