How is a Torn Labrum Diagnosed?


It can be difficult to diagnose a torn labrum, as it often shares symptoms with common conditions such as arthritis, rotator cuff disorders, tendonitis, and shoulder instability. A physical exam can help assess the tear, pinpoint its location, and test range of motion.

Imaging tests such as a CT scan, MRI, or bone scan may be needed to evaluate the tear further, and in some cases, arthroscopic surgery may be required to assess tears that are smaller or deep in the joints.

How is a Torn Labrum Treated?


Nonsurgical treatment

Labral tears are often first treated with nonsurgical approaches. Rehabilitative physical therapy can strengthen the muscles around the labrum and pain medications can mitigate symptoms. Ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) can help reduce inflammation and anesthetics and corticosteroids can be injected into the joint to reduce pain.

Surgical treatment

If nonsurgical methods are unsuccessful, arthroscopic surgery may be required. In a torn labrum surgery, the surgeon inserts a tiny camera and surgical tools through incisions in the skin to either remove the torn labrum or sew the torn tissue back together.

Recovery from labral tear surgery can take three to six months.



In addition to throbbing, aching pain, a labrum tear can cause a ‘catching’ or ‘locking’ sensation when moving your joints.

Doctors recommend exercises that strengthen and gently stretch the muscles around a torn labrum. Decrease repetitions if an exercise increases pain levels, and if pain persists, discontinue the exercise altogether.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce swelling while physical therapy can help strengthen your muscles to support the labrum. Anesthetic injections can help reduce pain and corticosteroid injections can reduce swelling if NSAIDs aren’t effective.

Get Care

Trust NewYork-Presbyterian for Torn Labrum Treatment

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 treatment plan that’s right for you.