Bone and Joint Blog

Causes and Symptoms of a Shoulder SLAP Tear

Posted Oct 8, 2019 2:45:00 PM

Shoulder injuries are fairly common among the general population, but they are exceptionally common among athletes. Sports that require overhead arm movement such as baseball, volleyball, and swimming can be particularly difficult on the shoulder. Among the more common injuries that may occur are tears to the labrum, or SLAP tears.

What is a Shoulder SLAP Tear?

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint with the end of the humerus (arm bone) fitting into the socket of the shoulder. However, due to the shallowness of this socket and the degree of movement of the shoulder, dislocation occurs more easily in the shoulder than in other joints. The labrum is a fibrous piece of cartilage that attaches to the edge of the socket and provides the joint with support and cushion, helping it maintain its position. SLAP (superior labrum anterior posterior) tears, occur when the superior portion of the labrum which connects to the biceps, is damaged or torn.

What Causes a Shoulder SLAP Tear?

Repetitive overhead shoulder motion such as pitching a baseball is one of the most common causes of SLAP tears. The other potential cause is acute shoulder trauma. Typical scenarios which may result in SLAP tears include:

  • Car accident
  • Falling onto an outstretched arm
  • Forceful pulling on the arm
  • Dislocating the shoulder

What are the Symptoms of a Shoulder SLAP Tear?

When a shoulder SLAP tear occurs, it is often associated by some tell-tale symptoms. Commonly, sufferers will notice deep pain at the back of the shoulder and a catching sensation, particularly during overhead movements. Other possible signs include:

  • Grinding, locking, or clicking of the shoulder joint with movement
  • Reduced range-of-motion
  • Instability of the shoulder
  • Reduced shoulder strength

Treating Shoulder SLAP Tears in Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge patients who are suffering the signs of a shoulder SLAP tear have expert care nearby in the team of orthopedic physicians at Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge. Our group of highly-skilled physicians treat all manner of orthopedic injuries and can help you quickly and fully recover the strength and mobility your shoulder needs. To learn more about our team or to request an appointment, click below.