Labral Tear of the Shoulder
What are the symptoms of a labral tear?
Symptoms of a torn labrum depend on where the tear is located. You may feel an aching sensation in your shoulder joint, shoulder weakness or instability, a catching or popping sensation in the shoulder with movement, or pain with specific activities such as moving your arm over your head or throwing a ball. Sometimes, the tear may not cause any pain at all.
(Left) An MRI image of a healthy shoulder.
(Right) This MRI image shows a tear in the labrum.
How is a labral tear diagnosed?
Because labrum cartilage is deep in the shoulder, it is difficult to make the diagnosis of a torn labrum with a physical examination and patient history alone. Commonly, surgeons use MRI and an arthrogram (images of the shoulder joint after injection of a contrast dye) to confirm the diagnosis and determine the type of labrum tear involved.