An Overview on Shoulder Labral Tears and SLAP Tears
As a ball and socket joint, the shoulder is quite mobile and allows a smooth gliding surface when the arm is in motion. Shoulder pain and instability can occur if the labrum becomes damaged and tears from a fall or from degeneration. The labrum plays an important role in the shoulder’s anatomy by acting as an attachment site for a number of ligaments and tendons, as well as deepening the shoulder socket so the joint stays in position. Specializing in shoulder labral tears and SLAP (Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior) tears, Dr. Mark Getelman is a highly recommended orthopedic shoulder specialist assisting patients in the Van Nuys, Thousand Oaks and Los Angeles, California area.
A shoulder labral tear is a common injury sustained after a fall on an outstretched hand, from a sports injury or from natural degeneration of the labrum. Throwing and other overhead athletes are prone to this shoulder injury because of the repetitive shoulder movements involved. A SLAP tear, a tear that occurs in the top part of the labrum where the biceps tendon attaches, is often the result of labrum degeneration over time.
Shoulder labral tears can cause severe shoulder symptoms if the labrum becomes completely torn away from the bone after a shoulder dislocation, subluxation or other serious injury. Older patients may experience a tear within the structure of the actual labrum related to degeneration. This is generally caused by gradual wear and tear and leaves a rough, unsmooth edge.
Labral and SLAP Tear Symptoms
A shoulder labral tear and SLAP tear causes symptoms associated with a variety of other shoulder injuries, including shoulder pain, decrease in strength, decrease in range of motion and a feeling the shoulder joint may pop out of place. Shoulder pain is typically experienced when lifting objects, moving the shoulder and holding the shoulder in certain positions.
Labral and SLAP Tear Diagnosis
Dr. Getelman will review a patient’s medical history and perform a thorough physical examination to diagnose a tear. During the examination, he will check the injured shoulder’s stability, strength and range of motion with a variety of specific tests. A series of X-rays will be obtained and an MRI may also be performed to obtain a clear and detailed view of the soft tissues and bones.