Labral Tear

Labral Tear

Labral Tear

The shoulder and hip are ball-and-socket joints that have a special ring of connective tissue called the labrum. The labrum helps the ball move freely within the socket and holds it there, preventing dislocations.

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What is it?

A sharp pain in your shoulder or hip that does not resolve could be from a labral tear.


In the shoulder, labral tears present with:

  • Pain with overhead activities like swimming and volleyball
  • Grinding, popping, or sticking feeling in the shoulder
  • Pain at night
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Loss of shoulder strength

In the hip, labral tears present with:

  • Hip pain and stiffness
  • Pain in the groin or buttocks
  • Clicking or locking sound in the hip with movement
  • Feeling unsteady when standing

Labral tears can occur due to the following reasons:

  • Excessive physical strain and repetitive motions – especially activities like running, water polo, golf, tennis, baseball, etc.
  • Structural abnormalities: Ball and socket mismatch -- the ball and socket joints don’t fit correctly, causing friction with movement
  • Medical conditions – conditions like hip dysplasia and arthritis can weaken your tissues and lead to the tear
  • Injury – accidents or a sporting injury can tear the labrum and cause acute pain
  • Weight – if a person is overweight or obese, their hip experiences intense stress and can cause premature wear and tear on the laburm
  • Women are more prone to labral tears because of the body’s unique shape which puts more weight on the hips and because of events like pregnancy


The Compass Pain and Spine can diagnose labral tears during a comprehensive history and physical examination. In addition, we may also request diagnostic tests such as an MRI or X-rays.  

If you have pain in your shoulder, you may have a torn labrum. That's the thick band of tissue that goes around your shoulder socket. It helps make the socket deeper. It cushions the bone of your upper arm and keeps it from slipping.


The Compass Pain and Spine will develop a personalized treatment plan based on the severity of symptoms. This may first include a recommendation for physical therapy and anti-inflammatories. If conservative measures do not provide relief, our team of experts specialize in regenerative medicine techniques for healing damaged labrums and may recommend PRP (platelet rich plasma) or stem cell injections. If non-surgical treatments fail, we may recommend a minimally invasive surgery called an arthroscopy. During this surgery, cameras are used to visualize the damaged labrum while small instruments are placed into the joint to repair or remove the damaged part of the labrum.