About Labral Tears

What is it and what are my treatment options?

Labral Tear Overview

A labral tear is a tear of the shoulder labrum, a rim of soft cartilage that helps stabilize the shoulder. A unique type of labral tear is a SLAP tear. The acronym SLAP stands for “superior labrum tear from anterior to posterior”. As its name indicates, a SLAP tear is a serious injury that requires as soon as possible medical attention. An appointment with a Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates’ (CONA) shoulder specialist should be made at the first sign of symptoms.

Symptoms & Causes

Labral tear symptoms include:

  • Catching, cracking, grinding, or popping when moving the shoulder
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Difficulty raising the arm above the head
  • Pain
  • Shoulder instability, a feeling that the shoulder will “give out”

Common labral tear causes include:

  • Forceful pulling of the arm
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Throwing sports injuries
  • Shoulder dislocations
  • Shoulder subluxations

Common Treatments:

Nonsurgical treatment options treat some labral tears. After a thorough evaluation, a CONA shoulder specialist may recommend a period of immobilization followed by physical therapy to strengthen and stabilize the shoulder joint as much as possible. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and possibly a corticosteroid injection may be prescribed for pain and inflammation.

Minimally invasive surgery is the recommended treatment option for many labral tears. During a minimally invasive labral repair, a CONA specialist repairs the torn labrum and attaches it to the bone. The large shoulder muscles are not cut during surgery so patients experience less postoperative pain, respond better to physical therapy and recover quicker.


A CONA specialist:

  • Asks questions to find out exactly when and how the injury occurred
  • Carefully listens to the patient’s symptoms
  • Performs a complete shoulder examination
  • Orders and analyzes medical imaging studies (x-rays and an MRI)

An accurate diagnosis is made and an appropriate treatment plan is prescribed.

Make an Appointment
with A Shoulder Specialist

A labral tear will become worse if it is not treated properly. The chances of shoulder subluxation or dislocation substantially increase as well. Please make an appointment with a CONA specialist as soon as possible if you injure your shoulder and experience labral tear symptoms.

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I am happy with this practice all my questions are answered within 24 hours. Dr. Hoenig is great, his bedside manner is wonderful, he is very thorough, and makes personal calls after surgery to check on patients. I would definitely recommend to family and friends!

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Dr. Hoenig

This has been one of my most positive experiences at a Dr's office. I was treated with respect and love. They made my surgical procedure less stressful and very positive.

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General Practice

These are the best group of doctors that myself & my family have ever been treated by in this field of medicine. They listen to how you feel instead of telling you how you feel. Thank you all for your caring & kindness.

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General Practice

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4 Convenient Locations


1330 Boiling Springs Road
Suite 1600
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


115 Deacon Tiller Ct.
Duncan, SC 29334
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Greenville Office

220 Roper Mountain Road Ext
Greenville, SC 29615
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


1075 Boiling Springs Road
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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