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Common Shoulder Sports Injuries

What is a SLAP Tear?

A SLAP tear is also referred to as a labral tear, or a tear or lesion to the labrum. This injury tends to develop over time due to repetitive movements. It can also result from acute trauma or age.

There are several types of SLAP tears:

  • Type I SLAP tear involves the fraying of the top rim of the labrum, but it is still attached to the glenoid. This injury is due to the aging process, and commonly found in middle-aged or older patients where symptoms may not be present.1These tears could be treated without surgery.2

  • Type II SLAP tear is the most prevalent type of SLAP tear. In this injury, the labrum and biceps tendon detach from the top of the glenoid. Type II tears can be further categorized as anterior (at the front), posterior (at the back) or a blend of the two. Arthroscopic surgery is normally performed.

  • Type III SLAP tear consists of a bucket-handle tear, where the torn labrum could droop into the shoulder joint.3 The biceps tendon remains intact. Arthroscopic surgery is often needed to remove the bucket-handle segment.

  • Type IV Slap tear is a bucket-handle tear to the top of the labrum, extending into the biceps tendon to varying degrees.3 Involvement of the biceps tendon differentiates this injury from a type III SLAP tear. Treatment options could depend on the extent the biceps tendon is involved.

Labral tears can also occur in the hip, since the labrum surrounds the hip socket, but this is not referred to as a SLAP tear.

Rotator Cuff Injuries: Symptoms

The most common symptoms of rotator cuff injuries are stiffness, weakness, loss of range of motion, and—most notably—shoulder pain.

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  • Shoulder pain. People with rotator cuff injuries complain about pain, especially at night. Pain may also be felt during over-the-head motions or reaching behind the back.

  • Stiffness. The shoulder may feel most stiff when getting out of bed in the morning.

  • Muscle weakness. Lifting the arm overhead or holding the arm away from the body may be difficult. The muscles at the back of the shoulder may appear smaller on the injured side than on the unaffected side.

  • Loss of active range of motion. A person with an injured rotator cuff may not be able to move the arm through a normal range of motion. However, sometimes the arm can still be passively moved, meaning that someone else can lift the affected arm and rotate it through a complete range of motion.

  • Swelling and tenderness. The front of the shoulder is often swollen and tender.

  • Crepitus (shoulder popping). Cracking and popping sensations in the shoulder are also common, and may indicate the shoulder’s ball and socket joint is not tracking properly.

*All Information provided by The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

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