LABRAL Tear Specialist

Capital City Orthopaedics

Orthopedic Surgery Practice located in Austin, TX

A labral tear is a common shoulder injury, especially among athletes who use an overhead, throwing motion. Board-certified orthopedic surgeon and fellowship-trained sports medicine specialist Michael Burris, MD, treats labral (SLAP) tears at Capital City Orthopaedics in Austin, Texas. For the highest-quality care of labral tears and other shoulder injuries, call or book an appointment online today.


What is a labral tear?

The round head of your upper arm bone (humerus) sits in a shallow, cup-shaped socket in your shoulder blade called the glenoid. A rim of fibrous tissue called the labrum surrounds the edge of the glenoid to help secure your upper arm.

In addition to providing stability for your shoulder joint, the labrum also serves as an attachment point for multiple ligaments. A labral tear often causes shoulder pain as well as sensations of instability and weakness. Labral tears are a common cause of shoulder dislocations.

A SLAP (superior labrum anterior and posterior) injury is one type of labral tear. A SLAP tear affects the top (superior) part of the labrum where the biceps tendon attaches. This type of tear affects both the front (anterior) and back (posterior) sides of the labrum.

What causes a labral tear?

Labral tears are common sports injuries, especially in throwing athletes such as baseball players. You can tear your labrum suddenly during an acute trauma, such as falling on an outstretched arm or lifting a heavy object with a jerking motion.

Damage to the labrum can also occur over time as the result of repetitive motions such as lifting weights or throwing pitches.

How do I know if I have a labral tear?

Symptoms of a labral tear are similar to those of many other shoulder injuries. Common signs and symptoms of a labral tear include:

  • Shoulder dislocations
  • Shoulder pain and weakness
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Catching, locking, or grinding sensations
  • Sensations of shoulder instability

The only way to be certain that you have a labral tear and not another type of shoulder injury, such as a rotator cuff tear, is to schedule an appointment at Capital City Orthopaedics.

How do you diagnose and treat a labral tear?

First, Dr. Burris thoroughly examines your shoulder and reviews your symptoms and medical history. He may take an X-ray or MRI to diagnose your labral tear.

Then, he recommends the best course of treatment for your particular condition. Most of the time, treatment begins with rest and rehabilitation, such as physical therapy.

If your labral tear is severe or doesn’t improve with treatment, Dr. Burris may recommend arthroscopic shoulder surgery to repair it.

To find relief from shoulder pain and instability, call Capital City Orthopaedics or book an appointment online today.