Labral Tears in the Shoulder

Our team of specialists offer trusted orthopedic care to relieve your shoulder labrum tear symptoms.

Labral Tears in the Shoulder

Our team of specialists offer trusted orthopedic care to relieve your shoulder labrum tear symptoms.

Telehealth appointments are available.

Leading-edge Care for Shoulder Labrum Tears

The shoulder is a ball-in-socket joint. The shoulder joint socket has a rim of cartilage (strong, fibrous tissue) on the socket’s edge to help keep the joint in place. A labral tear in the shoulder — also called superior labrum, from anterior to posterior (SLAP) tears — makes shoulder movements painful, such as reaching above or behind you. It can even hurt to lie down. 

Our team of orthopedic and sports medicine specialists can help. We develop a personalized treatment plan to relieve shoulder labrum tear symptoms and let you move your shoulder without pain. You get personal attention from a team known for our advanced expertise. 

Shoulder Labrum Tear Symptoms 

You can tear the labrum in your shoulder from an accident, such as a hard fall, or hit on your shoulder. You can also tear your shoulder labrum from activities that involve repetitive shoulder movement, such as baseball or lifting heavy objects. Your labrum can also tear because of age-related wear and tear — usually in people over 40. 

Shoulder labrum tear symptoms include: 

  • Loss of shoulder strength 
  • Pain when you reach overhead, shoulder pain at night or during daily activities 
  • Sensation of shoulder instability — feeling your shoulder catch, lock or pop during movement 
  • Shoulder stiffness 

These are the same symptoms of a failed labrum shoulder surgery — a procedure that does not meet the care team or patient’s expectations.    

Shoulder Labral Tear Treatments We Offer 

Your treatment will depend on the extent of your shoulder labral tear. Not all shoulder labral tears can get better with surgery. Your doctor will recommend nonsurgical treatment if that offers the best way to relieve symptoms. Whether you have nonsurgical treatment or SLAP tear surgery, physical therapy will likely be part of your treatment plan. 

Other treatments for shoulder labral tears include: 

  • Anti-inflammatory medicines and rest 
  • Cortisone shots 
  • SLAP surgery 

If you need SLAP surgery, your surgeon will use minimally invasive arthroscopy— which uses smaller incisions and offers a faster recovery — whenever possible. The SLAP surgery approach depends on the extent of shoulder damage. Surgery may repair just the labrum or could include surrounding shoulder tendons.  

Our orthopedic surgeons provide a personalized approach to restore movement in your shoulders and let you move without pain. 

Can a Torn Shoulder Labrum Heal on Its Own? 

SLAP tears usually do not get better on their own without treatment. The pain may worsen, and moving your arm and shoulder may become more difficult. Even with treatment, shoulder labral tears can take months to heal. 

Trusted Care for Shoulder Labral Tears

You get complete care from orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine doctors, physical and occupational therapists, and pain management specialists.

We offer leading-edge care to relieve shoulder pain and stiffness, including nonsurgical and minimally invasive approaches.

Our physicians are named “Top Doctors” by Los Angeles magazine and Pasadena magazine.

USC Orthopaedic Surgery is recognized as a Blue Distinction Center by Blue Cross Blue Shield for specialty orthopedic care.

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