Syracuse Area Health – Strasburger Orthopaedics

Learning More About SLAP Tears

The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the human body. Due to the nature of this joint, quite commonly Superior Labral Anterior to Posterior (SLAP) tears occur. If you find yourself with one of these tears, it is advisable to seek treatment. However, just as importantly, it is crucial to think about your treatment options. As a leader in orthopaedics, Dr. Strasburger has outlined important information about this common shoulder injury.

What Are SLAP Tears?

SLAP Tears occur toward the middle of the shoulder when the labrum, the soft tissue that connects the scapula to the head of the humerus, wears down and can no longer provide the necessary cushion between these bones. A SLAP tear can be extremely painful, as well as debilitating. 

Identifying SLAP Tears

There are different types of SLAP tears, depending on the specifics of the injury. Types 1 and 2, for example, can be caused overtime by the wear and tear that takes place as we age. Types 3 and 4 are most commonly seen in athletes or those affected by traumatic injuries.

Symptoms of SLAP tears include pain, reduced strength, and decreased range of motion. It is important to let the inflicted joint rest to prevent further damage. Those who experience locking or catching with their shoulder seek medical attention. An orthopaedic physician should examine and evaluate the injury to identify treatment options.

Prevention

As with many different types of injuries, prevention is key. One of the best ways for athletes to prevent this kind of tear is to focus on technique. Working with a coach or athletic trainer is one of the most valuable ways that athletes, especially baseball players, can prevent injury.

Baseball pitchers specifically can complete a pitch analysis to ensure that their movement minimizes the risk for injury. Late cocking and follow-through are the two stages in the pitching motion that present the most risk for a SLAP tear. Therefore, paying special attention to these phases can help athletes stay in the game as long as possible.

SLAP Tear Treatment

Aging, as well as increased movement from sports, can cause a SLAP tear. Keep in mind that tolerating the pain can be challenging and it’s always best to seek the guidance of a doctor. They’ll be able to help you find solutions and the right treatment option for your individual situation.

If your doctor believes you may have this type of injury, they will likely order diagnostic imaging to form a more concrete determination of next steps. From there, your physician may suggest surgery or physical therapy. The recommended treatment will pertain to the severity of the injury, as well as your goals for the future.

Regenerative options can be an excellent way to deal with SLAP tears. Both PRP and iovera° can help minimize discomfort and seek to promote healing. Finding ways to treat the shoulder joint both carefully and effectively is a challenge that doctors face, but one that Dr. Strasburger has extensive experience dealing with.

Finding Treatment Options

If you’re experiencing pain, feel free to reach out to a specialist who can help. Our team is here to provide you with support and ensure you have an individualized plan with specific treatment options. Contact us today to make an appointment with one of our specialists.

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