Slap Tear DiagramSLAP (Superior Labral Anterior to Posterior) Tears & Other Shoulder Conditions Treated in Lafayette, LA

A superior labral anterior to posterior (SLAP) tear is an injury to the labrum, a strong rim of cartilage that surrounds and stabilizes the ball-and-socket shoulder joint. Specifically, a SLAP tear occurs at the point where the biceps tendon attaches to the labrum.

Most SLAP tears are caused by overuse. Individuals who participate in sports that involve repetitive overhead movements, such as tennis and baseball, are particularly susceptible to this type of injury. A SLAP tear can also result from direct trauma, such as a fall onto an outstretched arm, or age-related degeneration that causes the labrum to gradually break down, fray, and eventually tear.

SLAP Tear Symptoms

In addition to a deep ache within the shoulder, some of the most common signs of a SLAP tear include:

  • A catching, locking, popping, or grinding sensation (crepitus) in the shoulder
  • Increased pain with overhead movements
  • Loss of throwing control or velocity
  • Reduced range of motion in the shoulder
  • Decreased strength in the shoulder and arm
  • A “dead arm” sensation
  • A feeling of instability in the shoulder, as if the upper arm bone is about to “pop out” of its socket

SLAP Tear Treatments

Many SLAP tears can be treated conservatively. Depending on the extent of the damage, a physician may suggest nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and ice pack applications to reduce pain and swelling, followed by a physical therapy program designed to strengthen the muscles that support the shoulder, which can improve the function and range of motion of the joint.

If SLAP tear symptoms do not improve with nonsurgical treatment, a surgical repair may be considered. This type of surgery may involve reattaching or removing the torn portion of the labrum or changing the attachment site at the biceps tendon to a more secure location.

Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon Treating SLAP Tears in Lafayette

If you think you might have a SLAP tear, turn to Peter D. Vizzi, MD, for a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan. Dr. Vizzi is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and avid athlete who practices in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Schedule an appointment about your SLAP tear