Glenoid Labrum Tears

The glenoid labrum tear is a tear of the cartilage that lines the shoulder socket. The glenoid labrum increases the depth of the shoulder joint, making the shoulder more stable by securely attaching the humerus to the glenoid. Tears in the glenoid labrum can occur above or below the glenoid socket. The glenoid labrum is commonly injured by repetitive overhead throwing and lifting. This condition is common among athletes participating in throwing sports such as baseball and weightlifting. Glenoid labrum tears also occur as a result of trauma, including falling onto an outstretched arm, falling onto the shoulder, repeatedly lifting heavy objects, and repetitive overhead activities such as throwing a baseball. Additionally, trauma due to an automobile collision may result in this condition.


Symptoms include pain that is made worse by overhand activities, weakness and instability in the shoulder, tenderness over the front of the shoulder, reduced range of motion, popping, clicking, or grinding sensations, and pain in the biceps when flexing the muscle or bending the elbow with resistance.

Glenoid labrum tears are diagnosed through a physical examination. The exam will check for pain, stability, and range of motion of the glenoid labrum. X-rays may be necessary to check for other potential causes. CT or MRI scans may also be necessary for accurate diagnosis. Treatment options for a glenoid labrum tear include rest, cold therapy to reduce pain and inflammation, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. If conservative treatment options fail, surgery to re-attach the labrum to the glenoid may be required. Any other injuries to the surrounding area may also be addressed.