Labrum Tears


The labrum is a ring-like structure found in the shoulder and hip that is made of a soft cartilage. It is found on the socket side of the ball and socket joint. It functions to provide a seal around the joint to help maintain proper position of the joint and lend stability.


Labrum tears in the shoulder and hip tend to cause pain deep within the joint and maybe hard to pinpoint where the pain is actually coming from. They can cause sharp pinching pain or popping with certain rotation and movement of the arm or leg. The pain tends to occur quickly by a particular movement, be of moderate severity and then quickly resolve with rest.


Labrum tears commonly tend to occur in one of two ways. They can result from trauma or an accident, particularly an impact type injury or dislocation of the shoulder or hip. This type of tear is an acute or traumatic tear. The labrum can also tear slowly over time with repetitive activities and overall aging. This type of tear is called a degenerative tear.


Once a tear is present within the labrum, whether traumatic or degenerative in nature, the tear tends to progress over time and can become larger. Although some tears become asymptomatic and the frequency and severity of symptoms becomes less, they remain torn. The labrum does not typically heal itself. When a tear of the labrum is present, depending on the size and location of the tear, further damage can be done to the joint by leaving it untreated, particularly acceleration of osteoarthritis or additional dislocations of the shoulder.

When to see your doctor:

If you have pain that is deep within your shoulder or hip area that is not improving with rest, lasting more than two weeks and interfering with your daily activities, you should see your doctor for further evaluation.

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