What are SLAP tears?
The SLAP tear is a specific type of injury that takes place in the shoulder. In order for your shoulder to stabilize you have a ring of tissue around the shoulder socket, made of cartilage. This tissue ensures that your arm bone rests perfectly within your shoulder socket. From the top part of this firm tissue to the back, you can significantly tear the region due to excessive stress. This region is called the labrum, and the specific area that can be torn is referred to as the SLAP.
What causes this tear?
This area of your shoulder socket will tear due to an injury. You can experience this care if you fall and land on your outstretched arm. You can suffer from this injury if you fall on your shoulder. If you are in a car accident and you try and brace yourself with your outstretched arm it can also cause this tear. If you try to lift a heavy object regularly or you lift a heavy object too quickly it can cause a tear. Regular overhead activities like throwing a baseball can also cause the SLAP tear.
When was the SLAP tear first identified?
The SLAP injury was first identified in baseball players during the 1980s. At this time the sport required regular overhead throwing which led to sustained injuries that had previously remained undiagnosed. Many people who experience this tear will have it in conjunction with additional shoulder injuries such as a rotator cuff tear.
What are the symptoms of the SLAP tear?
The symptoms of the SLAP injury can include a popping in your shoulder or a regular catching as you try and move your shoulder. The SLAP injury can also bring with it pain when you move your arm above your head or you try and throw ball. If you feel weakness or instability inside of your shoulder during your regular daily activities this can also be a sign of this injury. Some people who’ve experienced this injury have a difficult time describing the aching pain that they experience or pinpointing the source of the pain.
How can the SLAP tear injury be diagnosed?
Because there is a wide range of potential items which caught shoulder pain, this tear can be incredibly difficult to identify. This type of injury is not very common. One of the ways to diagnose it includes a series of tests wearing your doctor will move your shoulder joint around to determine which specific movements bring about your pain. You can have an MRI where in special dye is injected into your shoulder and a scan takes place to identify the injured area.
The only sure fire way to determine whether or not you have this particular injury is arthroscopic surgery, a process where your Scottsdale orthopedic doctor makes a small incision in your shoulder and looks inside with a tiny camera attached to a tube. While reviewing the interior of your shoulder through this camera the doctor can repair the SLAP tear simultaneously if it is found.