The labrum is a cartilage-like tissue in the shoulder that essentially acts to deepen and stabilize the shoulder joint (it is very similar to the meniscus in the knee). Due to its location and structure, it can be torn through trauma (in sports, a fall, a car accident, etc.) or even overuse throughout one’s life.
Most commonly, symptoms include an aching in the shoulder joint, clicking or catching of the shoulder with movement, and pain with specific activities. Labral tears are commonly seen in patients who have dislocated their shoulder as well as baseball, volleyball, swimming, and tennis players (due to repeated overhead activity).
Occasionally, surgery is required to repair the tears; however, in the case of a degenerative tear, strengthening exercises of both the rotator cuff, general shoulder muscles, and muscles that stabilize the shoulder blade can be very effective in resolving the problem.