Shoulder Injuries and SLAP Lesion Labral Tears

The SLAP lesion is a shoulder injury that is short for Superior Labral Anterior Posterior. It is an injury to the cartilaginous labrum in the shoulder joint, which is a structure that provides enhanced stability to the joint. It helps the shoulder to have its incredible range of motion that it enjoys. Without the labrum intact, the patient’s shoulder would be significantly unstable analogous to a golf ball on a tee. It has minimal coverage! In conjunction with muscles of the rotator cuff, stability is provided by the labrum which allows the shoulder to maintain an immense range of motion. If the injury happens to the labrum, it involves detachment of the top part (superior) labrum along with part of the biceps tendon. A lot of people don’t realize that part of the biceps tendon originates right off of the shoulder capsule. These injuries typically occur in overhead throwing athletes because of the exceptional motion extremes seen in these repetitive activities. There are several proposed theories of how these injuries happen, but what is known for certain is that the greatest strain on the superior labrum occurs during the late cocking phase of throwing. When it comes to the biceps tendon, the largest stress occurs during the throwing deceleration phase once the ball is released secondary to the large forces seen. Unfortunately, making the diagnosis of a SLAP tear may be tough due to the individual having non-specific pain. Throwing athletes will typically tell their Phoenix orthopedic surgeon that they have deep seated shoulder pain during throwing and the pitching velocity may be reduced. There are several physical examination tests used by Scottsdale orthopedic surgeons to test for SLAP lesions. The most accurate method of diagnosing a SLAP lesion is arthroscopy, which is obviously not the primary step. MRI may show the tear, and it may necessitate contrast material with the MRI to see the tear best. The initial treatment prescribed by Arizona orthopedic surgeons focuses on Phoenix physical therapy and rest. The physical therapy should consist of muscle strengthening around the shoulder, referred to as the dynamic stabilizers. If this treatment is failing and a SLAP tear is highly suspected, an arthroscopic surgery is in order. There are 4 different variants of SLAP tears, which involve labral tears/fraying along with either a stable biceps tendon or biceps tendon tearing. If the labrum and biceps are completely unattached, they can be surgically reattached with suture anchors. After an operation, physical therapy involves restoring range of motion but allowing 6-8 wks for healing of the tissues while avoidaning extreme rotational movements. At the three to four month point, sport specific training can be started but not throwing just yet. Progression of throwing is avoided until the five to six month post-operative time frame, at which point it can be started. The results of SLAP repair with an arthroscopic shoulder surgery has shown good to excellent results in 85-90% of cases. After the shoulder surgery, three fourths of individuals are able to return to their pre-tear level of competitive sports. FXRX is the premier practice of orthopedic surgeons Phoenix AZ in the state and also has Arizona Orthopedic Surgeons. FXRX has Sumit Dewanjee, MD, Board Certified, Fellowship Trained Sports Medicine surgeon specializing in the treatment of shoulder, knee, and hip disorders. FXRX also specializes in treating fractures along with orthopedic bracing, treating each patient like family! Call (480) 449-3979 to make your appointment TODAY!

You Might Also Enjoy...

Why People Are Turning to PRP for Pain Relief

You want relief right now when you're hurting, and we can help with that. But we have to tackle pain at its source to give you long-term solutions. PRP can help with that. Learn more about this innovative therapy.

I Got Hurt on the Job: Can You Help?

You deserve the best care available, whether injured on the job or while enjoying a weekend getaway. Our team explains how the process differs when you’re hurt on the job, starting with a provider who accepts workers’ compensation insurance.

How to Avoid an Ankle Fracture

A simple misstep can result in an ankle fracture that may interfere with your mobility for months. But how are you supposed to avoid an occasional clumsy step? Check these facts about different types of ankle fractures and how to reduce your risks.

When Should I Consider a Knee Replacement?

Knee replacement is rarely your first, second, and maybe not even your third treatment option for solving chronic knee pain. Our orthopedic specialist explains why and when you may benefit from partial or total knee replacement.

Coping With Arthritis Pain in Your Shoulders

Shoulder arthritis is, unfortunately, a painfully common condition that can significantly affect your daily routine. Our orthopedic specialist discusses the effects of shoulder arthritis and ways to combat the pain and decreased range of motion.

How PRP Is Alleviating Joint Pain and Restoring Mobility

PRP therapy was once reserved for celebrity athletes undergoing extensive rehab for joint injuries. These days, anyone experiencing joint pain and stiffness may benefit from this highly effective therapy. Check these facts about PRP.