Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ

Question:

Have you ever heard of an HAGL tear? That's what my rugby-playing son got at his final championship game. He says it was worth it but he may never play again. What kind of an injury is this?

Answer:

HAGL describes a humeral avulsion of the glenohumeral ligaments. Humeral refers to the humerus bone (the upper arm bone). Avulsion means the ligaments have torn away from the bone.

It is most common in young athletes injured while playing rugby, football, basketvall, or volleyball. This injury has also been reported while participating in activities such as diving, surfing, and skiing.

The glenohumeral ligaments are a group of four ligaments and two separate bands of tissue. Together, they hold the head of the humerus in the acetabulum, which shoulder is the shoulder socket.

Without these ligaments in place, the shoulder is unstable. It may repeatedly dislocate causing pain and discomfort. Depending on how much damage has been done, conservative care may be all that's needed. More often, surgery is done to repair the damage and stabilize the shoulder.

With the proper treatment and follow-up rehab, many athletes are able to return to their sport. The key is accurate diagnosis and treatment to repair all parts that have been damaged. Liem T. Bui-Mansfield, MD, et al. Humeral Avulsion of the Glenohumeral Ligaments. The HAGL Lesion. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. November 2007. Vol. 35. No. 11. Pp. 1960-1966.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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