Shoulder Labral Tears
Posted in Physiotherapy on Apr 9, 2019.
Shoulder Labral Tears (SLAP Tears)
What is it?
A ring of flexible, fibrous connective tissue, known as the glenohumeral labrum, surrounds the shoulder joint. This labrum increases the stability of the shoulder while allowing for the required flexibility of one of the bodies’ most sophisticated joints. One well-known muscle of the arm, the biceps, has an attachment directly into the labrum and is a common site of injury. A tear of the labrum can occur in many locations, however the most common is at the point where the biceps tendon attaches to the labrum. Usually, this tear follows a typical pattern and is referred to as a superior labrum tear, anterior to posterior (SLAP tear).
SLAP tears can be caused by trauma such as a fall onto an outstretched hand or a dislocated shoulder. Tears can also develop over time with repeated throwing actions or overhead activities as the labrum is weakened and eventually injured. Traumatic tears are more likely to be symptomatic than tears that develop slowly.
What are the symptoms?
As mentioned, SLAP tears can occur suddenly, through trauma or develop slowly through repeated stress. Often if the injury develops over time, patients can be unaware they have sustained a tear and the injury doesn’t have a significant impact on their pain or function. Preexisting SLAP tears can however, place more tension on the long head of biceps tendon, leading to overuse disorders as a secondary complication.
When the tear occurs through a sudden action or trauma, symptoms can be more marked. Sufferers often notice pain deep in the shoulder joint with overhead shoulder movements, a feeling of weakness, loss of power and/or accuracy with throwing activities. Some people may notice a popping or clicking sensation and occasionally the shoulder may give way. In severe tears, the shoulder might feel unstable and even be at increased risk of dislocation.
How can Physiotherapy help?
Your Victoria Selbourne Physiotherapist is able to help diagnose a suspected SLAP tear and send you for further imaging if needed. SLAP tears are often graded by severity from I to IV as a way to guide treatment. Physiotherapy is usually recommended as a trial for all tears before considering surgical repair and in many cases can effectively help patients return to their previous activities, symptom-free. Read an article by one of our Physiotherapists on SLAP Tears.
If physiotherapy is unsuccessful, surgical repair with a full rehabilitation program is recommended. Surgery will usually either repair the tear or reattach the biceps tendon to the humerus (tenodesis). Following surgery, a period of rest in a sling is required before rehabilitation can begin.
None of the information in this newsletter is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your individual injury.
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Our 3 Victoria Physiotherapy clinics are modern and provide a relaxed healing atmosphere with private rooms available. Many Physiotherapy clinics in Victoria work out of a single room or a basement that does not offer the equipment, resources or space to help you recover properly. Our convenient locations make our clinics easy to access from all the neighbourhoods of Victoria, Saanich, Esquimalt and Oak Bay such as Dockside Physiotherapy Green, Fairfield, James Bay, Oaklands, Fernwood, Harris Green, Jubilee, Hillside Quadra, Gonzales, Rockland, Gordon Head, Cadboro Bay, Uplands, Downtown Victoria, Cordova Bay, Arbutus, Camosun College Lansdowne Campus and the Songhees. We offer appointment times ranging from 7:00AM to 7:00PM for your convenience.Our Multidisciplinary Health Clinic is located right across the street from the Hillside Shopping Centre. we share a building with the Shelbourne Medical Centre which has a walk in clinic and many great General Practitioners.
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Our experienced and dedicated Health Care Professionals include Victoria & Saanich Physiotherapists Penny Salmas, Jennifer Kolot, Mark Gottfried, Nicole Gill, Jenna Peters, Brad Curry, Andrew Mills, Meena Sran, Phil Lawrence, Jessica Shave, Kim Lobb, Kathy Murdoch, Laura Werner, Rosie Chamberlin, Ruan Le Roux, Nina Bai, Seung Bai, Eimear Brogan, Faralay Vander Schilden, Kira Crover, Sarah Hubbs, Mary-Anne Levson, Alex Thompson , Victoria Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Miriam Haistein, Hilary Beck and Blair Braz. Our experienced Victoria BC Kinesiologists include Kira Crover, Heidi Nottelman, Larry Muir, Radek Wiechecki, Lindsey Tabish and Madeline Juba. Our experienced Victoria & Saanich BC Registered Massage Therapists include Taryn Krizan, Selena Curvelo, Jennifer Koebernick, Kathy Pantalon, T'airah Bowker RMT, Molly Scott, Jessica Bundy RMT and Rebekah Neubert. Our Certified Victoria Pilates and Yoga Instructors include Sharon McAuley, Dana Carter, Chris Csak, Alex Thompson, Amanda Rosts, Holly Newton, Regina Flueck, Rhiannon King and Jenny Stewart.
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