SLAP Tears Are Common in Athletes

Get relief from your pain with spinal decompression.

One of the most common injuries sustained by athletes is a SLAP tear, which is short for superior labrum, anterior to posterior injuries. It is the area encompassing the socket of the shoulders and is made up of cartilage.

Athletes who require frequent use of the shoulders are more prone to SLAP tears. Consider swimmers or baseball pros, for example. The sport doesn’t require high or frequent impacts for players to sustain injuries. Fortunately, physical therapy treatment can help alleviate the pain and get the pros off the bench and into the game once more.

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A SLAP tear can cause severe shoulder pain.


Besides recurrent pushes and shoves during sports or simple overuse of the shoulders, other patients may be affected by this pain. SLAP tears can also be caused by accidents, moving the shoulders too fast and too hard or in situations when the shoulder has been displaced.

SLAP Tear Symptoms

Some of the most common telltale signs a SLAP tear is present are:

  • Extreme pain in the shoulder and joint
  • A snapping sound when the shoulder moves
  • Shooting pain with strenuous activities
  • Lethargy in the shoulders
  • Lowered ability to move the shoulders fast

As seen, SLAP tears can significantly decrease performance in athletes, as well as their overall quality of life. An x-ray can be used to identify if this is truly the diagnosis, followed by appropriate care options.

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Physical therapy can help heal SLAP tears.

How Physical Therapy Can Help

One of the most prominent and non-invasive ways to amend a SLAP tear is with physical therapy treatment. This therapy may be combined with NSAIDS to give patients relief while it gradually builds up the strength in muscles and joints over time. Therapists will instruct patients on safe and measurable exercises that will:

Reestablish Movement – Athletes rely on quick, reliable movements to get the job done.
Improve Elasticity – Exercises recondition the cartilage and improve on the flexibility and speed of shoulders.
Alleviate Pain – Get much-needed pain relief with proven techniques provided by physical therapy.
Strengthen Muscles – Ward off any future injuries during playtime.

Therapy for SLAP tears typically last between 12 and 24 weeks. Scarsdale Physical Therapy works with athletes to restore good function to muscles and joints. We have a well-trained team of therapists who will map out a plan of action to get you back in the game. Contact us for help with SLAP legio, rotator cuff injuries, knee sprains and other injuries.