One of the most common shoulder injuries is a tear of the soft tissue, known as labral tears, that stabilizes the joint. These injuries can be aggravating at best, debilitating at worst. The hallmark is always shoulder instability. If your shoulder feels loose or out of place, you might have a SLAP or Bankart labral tear.


A Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior (SLAP) tear is a serious injury caused by accident, overuse, or degenerative processes associated with aging. Because an entire region of the labrum is torn, a slap tear can cause a host of unpleasant symptoms:

  • Instability related symptoms. Popping, grinding, catching, and/or locking is common. So is a feeling that the shoulder is going to pop out of its socket.
  • Pain-related symptoms. Overhead movements and holding the shoulder in certain positions can be extremely painful.
  • Weakness related symptoms. A decrease in shoulder strength and athletic performance occurs following a SLAP tear. In some cases, athletes may not be able to perform especially with throwing and overhead activities.


slap labral tear

Illustration 1- A SLAP tear–an entire region of the glenoid labrum is torn

After diagnosing labral tears, an orthopedic specialist determines if the tear is serious enough to require arthroscopic surgery. If it isn’t, physical therapy, activity modification, and anti-inflammatory medications are used as treatment measures. If surgery is necessary, a 1 hour outpatient procedure locates and then repairs the tear.

A Bankart Tear

The term Bankart is used to describe a tear of the inferior (lower) rim of the labrum. Symptoms are similar to those of a SLAP tear. But, because of the way it’s situated, the shoulder is especially susceptible to dislocation following a Bankart tear. In some cases, dislocation can cause a portion of the glenoid bone to fracture. This type of injury is known as a bony Bankart.

bankhart labral tear

Illustration 2- A Bankart tear

 Non-surgical treatment of a Bankart tear is possible; however, there’s a risk of future shoulder dislocation. Thus, surgical repair is usually necessary. The 1 hour outpatient procedure is used to repair the tear and, if necessary, reattach fractured bone.

Contacting an Orthopedic Specialist for Labral Tears

You shouldn’t have to suffer from the unpleasant symptoms of labral tears and you shouldn’t have to worry about your shoulder dislocating. Please give us a call to arrange an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists at any of our Long Island locations.

The physicians at Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine focus on both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of shoulder injuries and are one of the most innovative orthopedic practices in the area.  Dr. Charles Ruotolo, President of Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, has published several peer-reviewed studies on orthopedic care and orthopedic surgery of the shoulder.

Fortunately, many patients can be treated non-surgically with a combination of conservative modalities coordinated by the Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Team. If surgery is necessary, the practice uses a multidisciplinary approach to create a treatment plan that focuses on the patient’s lifestyle and activities and helps them get back to those activities quickly and effectively.  Expect a full recovery when in the hands of our trusted physicians.