Bankart Tear

Shoulder Anatomy

The shoulder joint (glenohumeral joint) is a ball and socket joint, where the head of the upper arm bone (humerus) attaches to the shoulder socket (glenoid cavity). The shoulder socket is extremely shallow and therefore needs additional support to keep the shoulder bones from dislocating. The labrum, a cuff of cartilage that encircles the shoulder socket, helps serve this purpose by forming a cup for the humeral head to move within. It provides stability to the joint, enabling a wide range of movements.

What is a Bankart Tear?

The labrum can sometimes tear during a shoulder injury. A specific type of labral tear that occurs when the shoulder dislocates is called a Bankart tear. This is a tear to a part of the labrum called the inferior glenohumeral ligament and is common in younger patients who sustain a dislocation of the shoulder. A Bankart tear makes the shoulder prone to repeat dislocation in patients under 30 years of age.

Diagnosis of a Bankart Tear

Your physician will ask about your medical history and perform a thorough physical examination of your shoulder. Your doctor may recommend additional studies such as X-rays or an MRI.

Treatment of a Bankart Tear

Conservative treatment measures for a Bankart tear include rest and immobilization with a sling followed by physical therapy.

Bankart repair surgery is indicated when conservative treatment measures do not improve the condition and repeated shoulder joint dislocations occur.