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There is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the socket of the shoulder joint. It is called the labrum. A SLAP tear is an injury to the labrum.
SLAP stands for Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior. In simple terms, with a SLAP injury, the top (superior) part of the labrum is injured, and the tear happens in both the front (anterior) and the back (posterior) of the attachment point. The nearby biceps tendon may be involved in a SLAP injury as well.
Causes of a SLAP Tear
A SLAP injury can result from either a one-time traumatic event or from repetitive motion/wear and tear.
We have helped many workers who have experienced a SLAP tear. Those who suffered from a traumatic incident have been injured though:
- A car or truck accident while driving for work
- A fall where they land on their outstretched arm
- An attempt to catch something heavy and their arm is pulled
- A work accident in which their shoulder is dislocated
- A fast or forceful arm movement when it is above shoulder level
The other workers that we have helped experienced a SLAP tear from the wear and tear on the labrum that occurred slowly over time. Jobs that involve heavy lifting and carrying can lead to a SLAP tear. Employees in the manufacturing and construction industries are particularly at risk, as well as truck drivers.
SLAP tear symptoms include:
- A feeling of locking, popping, or grinding
- Pain when moving the shoulder or holding the shoulder in certain positions
- Pain with lifting objects, especially overhead
- Decrease in shoulder strength
- Smaller range of motion
- A sensation that the shoulder is going to “pop out of the socket”
When seeking treatment for a SLAP tear, be prepared to tell your doctor what your symptoms are and when and how they began. Your doctor will conduct a physical examination, testing the strength, stability and range of motion of your shoulder.
Additional imaging tests such as an X-ray or MRI might be needed. The labrum is a soft tissue, so the X-ray is typically used to rule out any bone issues such as arthritis or a fracture. The MRI would show a tear in the labrum.
Initially, most treatment is non-surgical. Medication like ibuprofen is prescribed to reduce inflammation and manage pain. Physical therapy is also common. A therapist will focus on specific exercises to strengthen the muscles and improve range of motion.
Arthroscopic surgery is sometimes necessary, however, after more conservative measures have been tried and failed.
Our free service helps people find the right attorney for their case. We know lawyers that have successfully handled many SLAP tear cases. They have secured workers compensation settlements to pay for their clients’ medical care and lost wages from time off of work. If you would like our help, please call us any time at 312-346-5320. We cover all of Illinois.