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Defining Labral Tear Symptoms

shutterstock 94559212 276x300 - Defining Labral Tear SymptomsA labrum tear, also known as a SLAP tear, refers to a tear to the ring of the cartilage around the shoulder’s socket.

Athletes engaging in sports that involve repetitive overhead or throwing motions, such as volleyball, baseball, and football, commonly experience this condition. Traumatic events such as a fall or age-related wear and tear can also cause labrum tears.

Southern California Hip Institute (SCHI), led by the accomplished board certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tigran Garabekyan, provides advanced treatments for the hip and shoulder joint to patients in Los Angeles, Century City, CA, and other towns and cities in this region of The Golden State.


Unique Labrum Tear Symptoms

It’s not fun for an athlete to view the same from the sidelines. The labrum tear symptoms to be watchful for are as follows:


Deep, Achy Pain

The pain typically occurs deep within the shoulder. Patients usually describe the discomfort as an ache rather than a stinging or nerve-type pain. The pain may be felt at the back of the shoulder. The patient may feel the pain in the front of the shoulder when the biceps tendon is involved.


Pain with Overhead Movements

Patients commonly experience pain during overhead motions, such as serving a tennis ball.


Popping, Clicking, or Grinding in the Shoulder

Some patients with this injury report a popping, clicking, and/or grinding sensation. The medical term for these symptoms is crepitus.


Shoulder Weakness

The shoulder may feel weak and as if it could “pop out” of its position. A labrum tear can make lifting weights overhead a challenge even if the patient is an experienced weightlifter.


A Decline in Sports Performance

The patient’s sports performance may be sub-optimal. For instance, a baseball pitched may notice reduced pitch speed.

They may also experience a feeling of instability in the shoulder, a decreases range of motion and strength loss. Patients with labrum tears also commonly experience pain at night or while performing routine activities.

Patients with a Bankart tear may feel as if the shoulder will slip out of its joint.

Labral tears typically occur along with other shoulder injuries such as rotator cuff injuries, dislocated shoulders, and biceps tendon tears. The doctor will examine the patient to determine which injury they have.


Diagnosing a Torn Shoulder Labrum

The doctor will check the patient’s range of arm/shoulder movement, stability, and pain level. The patient should inform the doctor of any event that may have led to the pain.

While the labrum tissue is too soft to show up in x-rays, the doctor may order an x-ray to check for other injuries that may be causing the pain. The doctor may order an MRI scan or CT scan to check for labrum damage.

Furthermore, the surgeon may perform an arthroscopic exam by inserting a small camera, known as an arthroscope, through a tiny incision. The camera will enable the doctor to view the labrum and any injuries to it clearly.


Causes and Risk Factors

Labrum tears occur due to traumatic injuries as well as wear and tear from repetitive movement of the upper arms.

Certain specific causes of labrum tears are as follows:

  • A fall in an extended arm
  • A direct hit to the shoulder
  • A strong blow while the arm is overhead
  • A sudden jerk to the arm

Prudent orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tigran Garabekyan receives patients from Los Angeles, Century City, CA, and other neighborhoods and communities in this region of the state for hip and shoulder joint treatments.


Dr. Tigran Garabekyan is a board certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip preservation. To learn more about Southern California Hip Institute or to schedule a consultation, click here to contact us or call:

Century City / Los Angeles: 310.595.1030

Serving patients in Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, North Hollywood, Burbank, Glendale, West Hollywood, Century City, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and other neighboring cities in the greater Los Angeles, California area.

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Contact Us

Century City

2080 Century Park East Suite 1204
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Tel: 310.595.1030 Fax: 310.582.5619