A SLAP tear, also known as a Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior tear, is a shoulder injury that damages the superior labrum, a ring of cartilage surrounding the shoulder joint socket.
The symptoms of a SLAP tear can vary depending on the severity of the injury and the individual, but common signs and symptoms may include:
Pain: Deep, sharp, aching or throbbing pain in the shoulder, aggravated by certain movements or present at rest or during nighttime.
Weakness: Difficulty with strength-related tasks like lifting heavy objects or performing overhead activities.
Catching or Popping Sensations: Often experienced during certain arm movements.
Decreased Fange of Motion: limitation of shoulder joint movement, especially overhead motions.
Instability: The feeling of the shoulder “slipping” or “catching” during movements, leading to insecurity or lack of confidence in shoulder stability.
Pain with Specific Activities: Discomfort during activities that stress the shoulder joint, such as throwing, lifting, or reaching overhead, and exacerbated by repetitive or prolonged shoulder use in sports or manual labor.
A SLAP tear is typically caused by trauma or repetitive stress on the shoulder joint. Some common causes of a SLAP tear include:
Athletes in sports involving repetitive shoulder movements, such as baseball, tennis, and weightlifting.
Traumatic Injury: Direct blow or trauma to the shoulder from falls, accidents, or sports-related injuries.
Repetitive Overhead Activities: Repetitive motions like throwing, pitching, serving in tennis or volleyball, swimming, or weightlifting.
Age-related Degeneration: Natural degeneration of the labrum and other shoulder joint structures with age.
Overuse or Misuse of the Shoulder: Incorrect or excessive use of the shoulder joint, poor technique in lifting heavy objects, repetitive stress from work-related activities, or inadequate warm-up, stretching, or conditioning during sports or activities.
Anatomical Factors: Anatomical abnormalities like shallow or abnormally shaped glenoid socket, ligament laxity, or other structural abnormalities.
The treatment for a SLAP tear depends on various factors including associated injuries or conditions.
Treatment options for a SLAP tear may include:
Rest: Avoiding aggravating activities and providing rest to the affected shoulder.
Physical Therapy: Structured program to improve shoulder stability, strength, and range of motion.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Medications like ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce pain and inflammation.
Activity Modification: Modifying or avoiding aggravating activities.
Ice or Heat Therapy: Applying ice or heat to the shoulder for pain and inflammation management.
Corticosteroid Injections: Temporary pain and inflammation relief in some cases.
Arthroscopic Repair: Minimally invasive surgery using a small camera and specialized instruments to repair or reattach the torn labrum to the glenoid socket, recommended for persistent pain or functional limitations.
Biceps Tenodesis: Reattaching the biceps tendon to another location in the shoulder or removing a portion of the tendon if the biceps tendon is involved or if the tear is not amenable to repair.
Rehabilitation After Surgery: Post-operative physical therapy to gradually restore shoulder function, strength, and range of motion.