A tear in the upper portion of the labrum where the biceps tendon attaches is known as a SLAP tear. SLAP stands for superior, labral, anterior to, posterior. A SLAP tear can result in shoulder pain, dislocations, and problems using your shoulder. It can be caused by repeated motions in sports or at work, a blow to the shoulder, and heavy lifting.
Will I need surgery for a SLAP tear?
You can go to the ORTHOKnox orthopaedic clinics in Knoxville, Tennessee, or Athens, Tennessee to discuss your treatment options for a SLAP tear. Your doctor will likely suggest conservative treatments for you SLAP tear, depending on the severity of the injury. But surgery may be the best option in some cases if the injury is too severe or conservative treatments do not work. See our blog on arthroscopic labral repair of the shoulder for more details here.
How does physical therapy treat a SLAP tear?
Physical therapy can help reduce pain, improve mobility, and restore full use of your arm. The goal of physical therapy is to increase overall range of motion and mobility and strengthen the surrounding muscles in your shoulder. Sometimes physical therapy alone is enough to help your shoulder recover from a SLAP tear. The on-site physical therapists at ORTHOKnox are prepared to work with you so you can return to your daily activities as soon as possible.
What types of exercises and therapies will I need to do for my SLAP tear?
Your physical therapist may suggest a variety of methods to help you control your pain. They will also show you how to do strengthening exercises that will focus on rotator cuff and shoulder blade muscles. Strengthening these muscles will help support your shoulder and keep it more stable when you move your arm. This stability can help prevent future injury.
Some exercises your physical therapist will show you MAY include (please keep in mind these are not always appropriate for every patient and rehab):
- Seated rowing
- Prone extension
- Forward flexion
- Cross-body stretch
- Sleeper stretch
- Internal and external rotations
The key to these exercises is to increase from low to moderate activity with instruction from your physical therapist. These exercises can also be done before injury for prevention.
TIMELINE FOR SLAP TEAR RECOVERY
While each person’s recovery process varies, an average recovery timeline for a SLAP tear is as follows:
|Time||Physical Therapy and Recovery|
· RICE (rest, ice, compress, and elevate) your knee
· Physical therapy – strengthening & flexibility
· If your injury is too severe or conservative treatments do not work, then surgery may be the best option
· Arthroscopic surgery involves a small incision so your doctor can repair the labrum to the bone
|1–6 weeks after surgery||
· Wear a sling
· Range of motion exercises
|6 weeks–4 months after surgery||
· Increase exercises and stretches from low to moderate
|4–6 months after surgery||
· Gradual return to sport-specific activities
GETTING TREATMENT FOR A SLAP TEAR
With its on-site physical therapists, board-certified surgeon, and Urgent Orthopaedic Care that is available without an appointment, ORTHOKnox has got you covered. For more information about how ORTHOKnox can treat your SLAP tear, call (865) 251-3030, or fill out our easy-to-use online appointment request form. We look forward to hearing from you!