Patient Education

To help you understand and navigate through your orthopedic health decisions, we have created a patient education section. Please select from one of the categories below to learn more about your condition or procedure.
Shoulder Joint (Glenoid Labrum) Tear

A glenoid labrum tear is an injury to the fibrocartilaginous rim (labrum) that lines and deepens the shoulder socket (glenoid). It is a tear in the labrum, which is the ring of cartilage surrounding the glenoid cavity (shoulder socket) that helps stabilize the shoulder joint.

Common Symptoms

  • Pain, usually with overhead activities
  • Catching, locking, popping or grinding sensation
  • Occasional night pain or pain with daily activities
  • A sense of instability or looseness in the shoulder
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Loss of strength

Cause & Anatomy

Causes of Shoulder Joint (Glenoid Labrum) Tears:

  • Acute trauma like falling on an outstretched arm, a direct blow to the shoulder, a sudden pull or violent overhead motion
  • Repetitive shoulder motions in throwing athletes or weightlifters

Anatomy of Shoulder Joint (Glenoid Labrum) Tears:

The glenoid is the socket of the shoulder blade (scapula) that the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) sits in. The labrum deepens this socket by up to 50% to better accommodate the humeral head.


  • Patient history and physical examination
  • X-rays
  • MRI or CT arthrogram (injecting contrast dye for better imaging)


  • Proper warm-up before activities
  • Strengthening rotator cuff and shoulder muscles
  • Avoiding excessive overhead motions or sudden jerking movements


  • Initially rest, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy
  • If conservative treatment fails, arthroscopic surgery to reattach or repair the torn labrum


Arthroscopic surgery using small incisions and instruments to reattach the torn labrum to the glenoid rim using sutures or anchors.

Rehabilitation After Surgery

A rehabilitation program focused on regaining range of motion, strength and functional activities over several months.


How long does it take to recover from surgery?
6 months to 1 year typically.

Can it lead to arthritis later?
Possibly if the tear is not treated properly.

What populations are at highest risk?
Overhead throwing athletes and weightlifters.

Are there different types of labral tears?
Yes, SLAP (superior), Bankart (anterior), and posterior tears.

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