About Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior (SLAP) Tears
A SLAP tear is an injury to the labrum of the shoulder, which is the ring of cartilage that surrounds the socket of the shoulder joint. Injuries to the superior labrum can be caused by acute trauma or by repetitive shoulder motions that result in wear and tear. Early treatment can prevent your pain and other symptoms from worsening. Depending on the severity of your injury and your activity level, nonsurgical treatment may be the best option to relieve pain and improve function, however, if improvement does not occur surgical treatment may be required. Our orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine providers work with you on developing a specialized treatment plan with your goals in mind with a team dedicated to helping you every step of the way.
The most common symptoms of SLAP tear include:
- A sensation of locking, popping, catching, or grinding
- Pain with movement of the shoulder or with holding the shoulder in specific positions
- Pain with lifting objects, especially overhead
- Decrease in shoulder strength
- A feeling that the shoulder is going to “pop out of joint”
- Decreased range of motion
- Pitchers may notice a decrease in their throw velocity, or the feeling of having a “dead arm” after pitching
SLAP Tear Treatment Approach at UT Health Austin
Upon evaluation of your shoulder, your medical provider will discuss nonsurgical treatment option as an initial approach to healing the tear and improving function. These options often include activity modifications and rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, physical therapy and strengthening exercises and in some cases steroid injections. In rare cases, arthroscopic surgery may be suggested as a treatment option if the pain does not improve. Your care team will walk you through the risks and benefits as well as what to expect throughout your recovery process.
Care Team Approach
We have assembled a team of experts that includes hip and knee orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists, physiatrists, physical therapists, chiropractors, nurse practitioners, dietitians, and social workers. This team enables us to provide the right care for the right patient at the right time. For some patients, nonsurgical interventions such as lifestyle modifications, physical therapy, medication and injections can help improve pain and function, while surgery may be the best course of action for others. Whatever your needs, our team is here to listen and work with you to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.