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Glenoid Labrum Tear

The glenoid, or socket joint of the shoulder, is surrounded by a fibrocartilaginous supporting structure called the labrum. Injuries to the tissue surrounding the shoulder socket can be caused by acute trauma or repetitive shoulder motions. Examples include falling on an outstretched arm, a direct blow to the shoulder, sudden pull or a violent overhead reach, such as occurs when trying to stop a fall or slide. Throwing athletes and weight lifters can experience tears due to repetitive shoulder motion.

Tears can be located either above (superior) or below (inferior) the middle of the glenoid socket. A SLAP lesion (superior labrum, anterior [front] to posterior [back]) is a tear of the rim above the middle of the socket that may also involve the biceps tendon.

Our Approach to Glenoid Labrum Tear

UCSF is committed to helping patients with glenoid labrum tears recover function and build strength. Our team includes orthopedic surgeons, shoulder and other joint specialists, primary care physicians trained in sports medicine, physical therapists and athletic trainers. We work together to tailor a treatment plan to each patient's needs and goals.

Treatment for a glenoid labrum tear usually begins with rest, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy. We offer the full range of physical rehabilitation treatments, including exercise regimens, functional activities and neuromuscular reeducation, in addition to providing information and instruction. Patients who continue to experience pain, shoulder instability or limited range of motion may choose to have surgery. Our orthopedic surgeons are experts in minimally invasive techniques, using small incisions and specialized instruments to repair the injury and facilitate healing.

Awards & recognition

  • usnews-neurology

    Among the top hospitals in the nation

  • usnews-orthopedics

    One of the nation's best for orthopedic care

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.