Bankart Lesion of the Shoulder Joint

March 21, 2017

Bankart Lesion of the Shoulder Joint

The shoulder is the most mobile joint in your body. The ball (or “head”) of the arm bone (humerus) rests in a shallow socket called the glenoid, much like a golf ball fits on a tee. To help make the socket deeper, the outer rim of the glenoid is ringed by tough, flexible tissue called the labrum. An injury to the labrum can result in a Bankart lesion.


Front view of shoulder joint with muscles.

What is a Bankart lesion?

The shoulder joint is enclosed by a sheet of ligaments and other tough fibers called the capsule. During a shoulder dislocation, fibers in the capsule can pull on the labrum and cause it to tear. A Bankart lesion is the name for a tear that happens in the lower rim of the labrum. Once the labrum is torn, it’s much easier for the humerus to slip out of its socket. You may also have pain and feel as if your shoulder is slipping out of place.

Front view of shoulder joint showing SLAP tear and Bankart tear.Diagnosing a Bankart lesion

To diagnose the problem, your healthcare provider will examine your arm and shoulder. This includes moving your arm in certain directions to test for symptoms. Imaging tests, such as an MRI, arthrogram, or CT scan, may also be done. These provide your healthcare provider with a detailed view of the tissues inside your shoulder joint.

Treating a Bankart lesion

Rest and anti-inflammatory medicines are often the first line of treatment. Physical therapy can also be used to strengthen the muscles in the shoulder. This helps keep the joint stable. If these treatments aren’t enough, your healthcare provider may recommend surgery to repair the labrum.


March 21, 2017


Shoulder Dislocation and Reduction. UpToDate

Reviewed By:  

Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN,Joseph, Thomas N., MD