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Shoulder Bankart Lesion

A Bankart lesion is damage to the anterior part of the glenoid labrum (rim of connective tissue making the concavity deeper) of the shoulder. This injury is typically caused by repeated anterior shoulder subluxations due to instability. In addition, the shoulder joint can be damaged when dislocated/subluxation, the stress placed on the ring of connective tissue that surrounds the joint can cause lesions as well as damage to the connection between the labrum and capsule.  This injury is most commonly found in athletes who participate in sport that involves a degree of overhead movements such as volleyball, tennis, cricket and swimming.


This type of injury to the shoulder shares symptoms with other shoulder injuries. Booking a consultation with a physiotherapist will allow the correct diagnosis of your symptoms.

Symptoms may include:

  • Instability and weakness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Popping or cracking noises associated with movement of the shoulder (graining, clicking)
  • Pain in the shoulder
  • Pain when carrying out a throwing movement or any overhead activities

Symptoms in the shoulder can vary depending on which structure is damaged and the cause of damage to the structure. Typically, there are two types of Bankart lesion, most of which is caused by anterior subluxation or dislocation of the shoulder causing a tear at the bottom of the ball and socket joint. Occasionally this tear can be accompanied with a fracture of the bone (glenoid cavity) this is known as a bony banker lesion.


Bankart lesions are most frequently caused as a result of a sporting injury, normally from overuse of throwing/overhead activities. Car accidents and falls onto an outstretched arm are also a common cause. Anyone of any age can sustain this injury though studies show that men in their twenties are most susceptible.


Initially you will be able to self-treat for the days after the injury. Applying ice to the area for fifteen minutes at a time, several times per day will help to reduce swelling and pain. Following this, if your shoulder continues to feel unstable and weak your physiotherapist will determine whether they think an MRI scan or x ray is necessary to rule out a bony lesion.

Depending on the severity of your injury you may be prescribed an exercises programme in line with some home management treatment to reduce pain and swelling while trying to strengthen and stabilise the shoulder joint.

The most common treatment method for and Bankart lesion if a conservative approach is not possible is a shoulder arthroscopy. A small minimally invasive procedure that is used to surgically repair the labrum and remove any damaged fragments and clean the injury site up.

Following this procedure, if you are fit and healthy your recovery should be straightforward. Starting with small movements to increase range of motion within pain levels and a return to normal activities of daily living within three to six weeks of surgery. In most cases you will be able to participate in contact sports or heavy lifting a few months after surgery whilst you undergo a rehabilitation program with a physiotherapist.

Strand House, 169 Richmond Rd, Kingston upon Thames KT2 5DA 020 8546 6464