Shoulder Specialty



SLAP Tear Treatment in Columbia, SC

What is a SLAP Tear?

A SLAP (Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior) tear is an injury to the labrum of the shoulder, which is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the socket of the shoulder joint. The term ‘SLAP’ refers to the specific area of the labrum that is injured, from the front (anterior) to the back (posterior) of the point where the biceps tendon attaches to the labrum.

This type of injury is common in people who do a lot of overhead activities, such as throwing athletes or manual laborers. It can cause a lot of discomfort and limit your ability to use your shoulder.

Slap Tear

At Midlands Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery, our team of physicians and physical therapists are dedicated to finding the best treatment plan for you and your shoulder condition.

SLAP Tear Symptoms

SLAP tears can produce several noticeable symptoms that can significantly affect your day-to-day activities. Here are some of the key signs that you may have a SLAP tear:

  • A sensation of locking, popping, clicking, or grinding in the shoulder
  • Pain when moving the shoulder, especially in overhead activities
  • Loss of strength or range of motion in the shoulder
  • Discomfort when lifting heavy objects
  • Persistent pain, even during rest
  • A feeling of instability in the shoulder

What Causes a SLAP Tear?

A SLAP tear usually results from acute injury or long-term wear and tear of the shoulder joint. Acute injuries often occur during high-impact sports, such as football, baseball, or weightlifting, where sudden, forceful movements can cause the labrum to tear.

For instance, falling onto an outstretched hand or a direct blow to the shoulder can result in a SLAP tear. Overuse injuries can happen over time due to repetitive shoulder activities, especially those involving overhead movements, like tennis or swimming.

Age is another factor, as the labrum naturally weakens and becomes more brittle with age, making it more susceptible to injury. Lastly, shoulder dislocations can often result in SLAP tears due to the intense strain on the joint.

SLAP Tear Treatment

Treatment for a SLAP tear aims to reduce pain, restore normal function, and strengthen the shoulder joint. Depending on the severity of the tear and the patient’s lifestyle, the treatment can range from non-surgical interventions to surgery. Here are the typical options:

  • Non-surgical treatments – These are usually the first line of treatment and can include:
    • Rest and avoid activities that cause shoulder pain
    • Physical therapy to strengthen the shoulder muscles and improve flexibility
    • Over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and swelling
    • Corticosteroid injections, which can help reduce inflammation and pain
  • Surgery – If non-surgical treatments are not effective or if the SLAP tear is severe, shoulder surgery may be required. This is usually done through arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure where a small camera (arthroscope) is inserted into the shoulder joint. The surgeon can then repair the torn labrum using special surgical tools

SLAP Tear Care in South Carolina

If you’re struggling with a SLAP tear, our team at Midlands Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery is ready to help. We’ll create a personalized treatment plan to get you back to your normal activities. Experiencing any SLAP tear symptoms? Don’t wait, schedule an appointment with us today.