The shoulder is a ball and socket joint, and the labrum is a rim of fibrous cartilage around the socket helping to make the flat, bony socket the ball sits in deeper like a bowl. The labrum can be damaged from injuries like a fall onto the shoulder or certain sports like baseball and throwing movements can stress and damage the labrum. Not everyone with labral tearing needs surgery, and many individuals with a labral tear will do well with non-surgical treatments.
The shoulder has tremendous mobility and labral tears are difficult to diagnose. A careful history, physical, and imaging such as ultrasound and mri are helpful in diagnosing this injury.
Individuals with a labral tear sometimes describe vague pain along the anterior (front) part of the shoulder. They may also describe clicking when the arm is placed in a throwing position.
In overhead athletes like baseball pitchers, a labral tear can cause a drop in velocity and accuracy
If you suspect your shoulder pain is due to a labral tear, make an appointment with a sports injury doctor for a comprehensive evaluation of your shoulder.
At Sports Health Northwest, we know labral tears can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Additionally, not everyone with labral tearing needs surgery, as many individuals with a labral tear will do well with non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy.