What movements hurt with a torn labrum?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

When you have a torn labrum in your shoulder, certain movements can cause pain and discomfort. The torn labrum itself can have “loose ends” that get flipped or rolled within the shoulder joint during arm movement. This can lead to sensations of popping, clunking, or catching.

One movement that may cause pain is raising your arm overhead. As you lift your arm, the torn labrum can get caught or pinched between the upper arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula). This can result in a sharp or stabbing pain over the top of your shoulder. The popping or clunking sensation may also be felt during this movement.

Another movement that can be problematic is reaching across your body. When you bring your arm across towards the opposite shoulder, the torn labrum can again become trapped or squeezed between the bones of the shoulder joint. This can cause a similar sensation of popping or catching, along with pain and discomfort.

Rotating your arm or performing twisting motions can also be painful with a torn labrum. These movements can cause the loose ends of the labrum to shift or get caught within the joint, leading to the popping or clunking sensations. Activities that involve throwing, swinging, or serving motions (such as in sports like baseball or tennis) may exacerbate these symptoms.

It’s important to note that the specific movements that cause pain can vary depending on the location and extent of the labral tear. In some cases, certain positions or activities may be more bothersome than others. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional, such as an orthopedic specialist or physical therapist, who can assess your specific condition and provide guidance on managing and treating your torn labrum.