The head of your upper arm bone, the humerus, fits into a rounded socket in your shoulder blade. This socket is called the glenoid. Surrounding the outside edge of the glenoid is a rim of strong, fibrous tissue called the labrum. The labrum helps to deepen the socket and stabilize the shoulder joint. It also serves as an attachment point for many of the ligaments of the shoulder, as well as one of the tendons from the biceps muscle in the arm. Labral tears can occur from acute trauma, such as falling on an outstretched arm, sudden pull or violent overhead reach, or from repetitive shoulder motions, such as throwing sports or weightlifting.
The symptoms of a labral tear are very similar to other shoulder injuries and include: pain, usually with overhead activities; catching, locking, popping, or grinding; occasional night pain or pain with daily activities; a sense of instability in the shoulder; decreased range of motion; and loss of strength. Although surgery may be necessary, it is often recommended that conservative treatment to reduce inflammation and strengthen the rotator cuff muscles should be attempted first in order to manage symptoms and stabilize the joint.