What is a Torn Labrum?

What is a Torn Labrum?

A labrum is a thick connective tissue found in the ball and socket joints of the hip and shoulder. This cartilage plays a key role in maintaining joint stability.

Labral tissue can tear in several different ways from specific trauma or deterioration over time. Athletes and those born with joint issues or connective tissue disorders are at a higher risk of labral tears than the general public.

Types of Labral Tears


Labra can tear partially or completely in both the hip and shoulder joints. The labrum can tear gradually over the years or tear off the bone entirely when the hip or shoulder becomes dislocated and the bone slides out of its socket.

This type of labral tear tends to result from trauma or athletic injury. The labrum can also tear itself as the tissue’s edges become frayed over time. This type of tear is common, typically seen in those aged 40 or older, and often doesn’t cause any symptoms.

Signs & Symptoms of a Torn Labrum


Symptoms for labral tears can differ for the hips and shoulders—some hip labral tears may not show any symptoms at all.

Hip labral tears often cause:

  • Pain in the hip or groin area, particularly after exercise
  • Stiffness or limited mobility in the hip joint
  • A clicking or locking feeling in the hip joint

Shoulder labral tears often cause:

  • A dull ache or throbbing in the shoulder joint
  • Dislocated shoulder
  • Increased pain upon throwing/exercising the shoulder
  • A catching or locking sensation in the shoulder joint

What Causes a Torn Labrum?


Labral tears typically result from deterioration over time due to joint structural issues, repetitive motion, or a specific incident.

  • Trauma - Falls, car accidents, contact sports, or a direct blow to the hip or shoulder
  • Repetitive motion - Particularly in sports such as baseball, softball, or golf
  • Structural problems - Extra bone in the hip, which can pinch the labrum over time, or issues with the joint itself, such as a shallow socket

Risk Factors

Risk Factors

In addition to inherent bone or joint issues, certain sports are more likely than others to lead to labral tears. These may include:

  • Sports requiring throwing, such as baseball or softball
  • Sports with repetitive swinging motions, such as golf
  • Contact sports involving frequent blows to the body, such as football or hockey



Athletes, in particular, should be aware of the risk of labral tears. In baseball and softball, pitchers can warm up their arms before pitching at game-level intensity, limit their pitch counts, and do regular shoulder exercises. They should also ensure proper throwing technique, as certain types of repeated motion can increase the risk of labral tears.

Get Care

Trust NewYork-Presbyterian for Torn Labrum Care

If you are experiencing torn labrum symptoms, such as hip pain after sitting, standing or exercising, or a dull, throbbing ache or pain in your shoulder when throwing, reach out to NewYork-Presbyterian and schedule an appointment. Our medical professionals will review your health history, discuss your surgical and nonsurgical options, and develop a labral tear treatment plan that’s right for you.