Labral Tears (Shoulder)

The labrum is a disc of thickened cartilaginous tissue that helps to support and stabilize the shoulder joint. It is located in the area around the shoulder where the ligaments and biceps tendons attach to support the ball and socket joint. The labrum also provides stability to the shoulder by increasing the contact area.


Labral tears occur when the rim of cartilage, that both lines and reinforces the cof the shoulder, is torn. The labrum can tear with repetitive stress from overhead activities such as throwing or after partial or complete shoulder dislocations.

The two most common types of injuries to the labrum are superior labrum anterior posterior (SLAP) tears and anterior labrum (Bankart) tears. SLAP tears occur on the superior portion or top of the labrum where the bicep tendon attaches. Athletes that participate in overhead sports are at increased risk for SLAP tears. Bankart tears typically occur when the head of the humorous shifts forward causing anterior tearing and subsequent instability. Labral tears can also occur in the posterior aspect of the shoulder as a result of repetitive stress or a posterior or backward directed force to the shoulder causing posterior instability.

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