What is shoulder joint tear?

Due to the advancements in the field of medicine, it allowed doctors to identify and manage injuries that were not noticed in the past. With the help of miniature cameras that are inserted into a joint, doctors are able to identify and treat a shoulder injury such as a shoulder joint tear.

Risk factors

Any injury to the tissue rim that surrounds the shoulder socket can occur due to acute trauma or repetitive shoulder movement. The traumatic injuries that can cause the injury include the following:

  • Direct blow to the shoulder
  • Falling on an outstretched arm
  • Violent overhead reach
  • Abrupt pull when attempting to lift a heavy object
Shoulder joint tear

Any injury to the tissue rim that surrounds the shoulder socket can occur due to acute trauma or repetitive shoulder movement.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of a shoulder joint tear are strikingly similar to other shoulder injuries. You can readily ease the symptoms if you will register for first aid training today. The usual symptoms include the following:

  • Pain during overhead movements
  • Occasional night pain or pain while performing daily activities
  • Catching, locking, grinding or popping
  • Diminished range of motion
  • Feeling that the shoulder is unstable
  • Loss of strength

Diagnosing a shoulder joint tear

If the individual experiences shoulder pain, the doctor will ask how the injury was sustained or if the pain increases gradually. The doctor will perform several tests to check the stability, range of motion and pain. In addition, the doctor will request an X-ray to determine if there are other injuries.

Since the rim of the shoulder socket is made out of soft tissue, the X-ray will not detect any damage. Due to this, a CT scan or MRI will be performed. The tears can be found either above or below the middle of the glenoid socket.

Treatment for shoulder joint tear

Once the doctor has confirmed a diagnosis, the doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and rest to reduce the symptoms. In most cases, rehabilitation exercises that focus on strengthening the rotator cuff muscles are recommended. In case these are not effective, the doctor might recommend arthroscopic surgery.

During an arthroscopic surgery, the doctor will check the rim and the biceps tendon. In case damage is limited to the rim without involving the tendon, the shoulder is considered stable. The doctor will remove the damaged flap and correct other issues. If the tear reaches the biceps tendon or if the tendon is detached, the shoulder is unstable. The surgeon needs to repair and reattach the tendon using wires, tacks and sutures.

The tears below the center of the socket are also linked with shoulder instability. The surgeon will reattach the ligament and tighten the shoulder socket by folding and pleating the tissues.


After surgery, the shoulder must be placed under a sling for 3-4 weeks. The doctor will prescribe mild, passive range of motion exercises. Once the sling is removed, the individual must perform motion and flexibility exercises and steadily strengthen the biceps. Take note that athletes can start to engage in sport-specific exercises 6 weeks after the surgery, but it will take 3-4 months before the shoulder is completely healed.


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