An injury to the part of the shoulder joint called the labrum is a slap tear. The socket of the shoulder joint being shallow is very unstable. The shallow socket of the shoulder joint has a cuff of cartilage called a labrum. This forms a cup so that the arm bone (humerus) can move within. A special type of labral tear is called a SLAP tear; which is actually Superior Labrum from Anterior to Posterior.
- Typical symptoms of a SLAP tear include a catching sensation and pain with shoulder movements, most often overhead activities such as throwing.
- It is seen in cricketers who bowl tennis players, javelin and other throwing sports.
- Patients usually complain of pain deep within the shoulder or in the back of the shoulder joint.
- It is often hard to pinpoint symptoms, unless the biceps tendon is also involved.
- In cases of SLAP tears with associated biceps tendonitis, patients may complain of pain over the front of the shoulder.
- The patient generally experiences a dull throbbing ache in the joint. This happens due to very strenuous exercises or simple household activities. Sufferers notice that they turn to ice packs more frequently for relief.
- The patient has problems sleeping due to shoulder discomfort.
- Athletes or sportspersons involved in a sport that has throwing involved such as, baseball or cricket, it’s quite common that they will have pain and a catching feeling . Throwing athletes also complain of a loss of strength or speed in throwing.
- Any force overhead or pushing directly into the shoulder can result in impingement and catching sensations.
- Fall onto an outstretched hand
- Repetitive overhead actions (throwing)
- Lifting a heavy object
Not many patients with SLAP lesion injuries can return back to normal activity without surgery. In certain cases, physical therapy can make the supporting muscles in the shoulder joint strong enough to reestablish stability. But for all other cases the option is to do nothing or to reattach the labrum to the glenoid by surgery.
Surgery can be performed as a conventional open procedure; the most recommended course of action is arthroscopic surgery. This type of procedure less intrusive to the body and reduces chances of infection.