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What is Shoulder SLAP Tear?

What is Shoulder SLAP Tear?

A SLAP tear is generally referred to a specific kind of injury to your shoulder. There is a ring of firm tissue around your shoulder socket, called the labrum, which helps your shoulder to be more stable. Labrum helps keep your arm bone in the shoulder socket.

“Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior” is what SLAP stands for, and in other words it is ‘the top part of the labrum, from the front to the back.’ This refers to the part of the labrum that is injured or torn, i.e. SLAP injury.

  • What are the symptoms?

There are various symptoms of a SLAP tear and they could be::

  1. Feeling of weakness or instability in the shoulder

  2. People usually have a hard time describing or pointing to exactly where the aching pain is

  3. Clicking, catching or popping in the shoulder

  4. Feeling pain when you move your arm over your head or when you throw something

  • What causes a SLAP tear?

The labrum tears or frays because of an injury. You may get a SLAP tear if you:

  1. Fall on your shoulder

  2. Lift heavy objects repeatedly and too suddenly

  3. Fall on your outstretched arm

  4. Do a lot of overhead activities, such as throwing a baseball

  • How can a SLAP tear be Diagnosed?

It is hard to identify a SLAP tear because it is not at all common and there are so many other things that can cause shoulder pain.

To diagnose a SLAP tear, a special dye is injected into your shoulder before you undergo an MRI scan. Such a test in which a special dye is used, it is called as an MRI arthrogram.

Another way to know whether you have a SLAP tear, is when your doctor makes small cuts in your shoulder, called incisions and the particular operation is referred to as Arthroscopic surgery.

  • How can a SLAP tear be treated?

It is vital to first know whether pain medicine and rehabilitation can take care of the shoulder pain.

Anti-inflammatory medicines such as NSAIDs may help the pain. Naproxen meds such as Aleve and Ibuprofen meds such as Advil or Motrin are commonly used NSAIDs.

If your shoulder is very painful, try using a sling for a few days to support your arm. Or use heat or ice compression on your shoulder for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

Your physiotherapist or doctor will teach you a few exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles and gently stretch the back of your shoulder. You can do those exercises at home to avoid pain. If this doesn’t help, then arthroscopic surgery is the only thing that can help.

  • What else causes shoulder pain?

The shoulder is a complex joint and there are number of other problems that can cause pain such as, arthritis, tendinitis, rotator cuff disorders, a compressed nerve or a shoulder joint that is not stable.

The shoulder is an integral part of your body and it should be comprehensively taken care of. Any injury or damage to your shoulder directly affects your arms and proliferates the degree of pain. Therefore, you should not ignore shoulder pain with a hope that it might heal all by itself.