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Labrum Tears

The labrum is a type of cartilage found in the shoulder and hip joints. It acts like a rubber seal or gasket to help hold the ball at the top of your thighbone securely within your hip socket. In the shoulder, it works similarly to help keep the arm bone securely in place. A labrum tear refers to a tear in this cartilage, which can compromise the stability and smooth movement of the joint.

Anatomy of Labrum Tears

In both the hip and the shoulder, the labrum adds depth and stability to the otherwise shallow socket. This setup allows for a wide range of motion and flexibility in the joint. A tear in the labrum can occur in various locations around the socket, affecting the joint’s ability to function normally and without pain.

Where These Tears Can Happen

Labrum tears commonly occur in two main areas:

The Shoulder

Known as a SLAP tear (Superior Labrum from Anterior to Posterior), this type of tear occurs where the biceps tendon attaches to the labrum.

The Hip

In the hip, labrum tears often develop in the front (anterior) or side (lateral) of the hip socket.

Causes and Risk Factors

Labrum tears can result from a variety of factors:


Sudden injuries from accidents, falls, or direct blows to the joint.

Repetitive Motion

Activities that involve repeated overhead motions (like in baseball or swimming) or pivoting (common in sports like soccer or golf).

Degenerative Changes

Age-related wear and tear can lead to gradual tearing.

Structural Abnormalities

Some people are born with or develop abnormalities in the joint that can lead to increased stress on the labrum.


Symptoms of a labrum tear can vary depending on the severity and location but typically include:

  • Pain, especially with specific movements
  • A catching or clicking sensation in the joint
  • Limited range of motion
  • Joint instability
  • Stiffness or discomfort in the joint area


Diagnosing a labrum tear starts with a thorough physical examination where our specialists assess your symptoms, range of motion, and joint stability. Imaging tests, such as MRI or MR arthrography, are often used to confirm the diagnosis by providing detailed images of the soft tissues within your joint.

Treatment Options

Conservative Care

  • Physical Therapy: Focuses on strengthening the muscles around the joint to compensate for the torn labrum and stabilize the joint.
  • Medications: Anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Activity Modifications: Avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms while the tear heals.

Surgical Treatment

In cases where conservative treatments are insufficient, surgical options such as arthroscopic labrum repair may be considered. This minimally invasive surgery involves the surgeon repairing the torn labrum through small incisions using specialized instruments.

At Excel Health, we are dedicated to providing you with tailored treatment plans that suit your specific needs and health goals. Whether your treatment journey involves conservative management or surgical intervention, we are here to support you every step of the way. Contact us today to discuss your symptoms and explore your treatment options.

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