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Glenoid Shoulder Labrum SLAP Tear: Prevention & Treatment

A SLAP tear is common in athletes who make a lot of overhead arm motions similar to throwing. It is a tear in the top part of the cartilage tissue, mostly of the glenoid labrum that surrounds the shoulder socket.


Superior (top of shoulder)
Labral tear (type of tissue)
Anterior (from front)
Posterior (to back)

A repetitive strain often injures the shoulder by pulling the long head of the biceps tendon. This tendon, which attaches to the labrum from supraglenoid tubercle or short head of the biceps and the coracoid process of the shoulder blade bone, is tearing the labrum. It usually ends as partially detached biceps tendon with a torn labrum. The torn labrum is a severe injury and can take you out of the game for several months.

Prevention is better than cure


So, prevention is better than cure, and you should do the following to prevent labrum tears. As SLAP tear is an overuse injury it is always advised to:

Limit your pitches:  for example, if you are a high school student, the recommendation is to limit your pitch count to no more than 100 per week. If you play as part of the team, your coach will advise you on your pitch limit mainly based on your age and other factors.

Stretch and Shoulder Exercise and Warm-Up

Stretching should be done daily. While stretching, one must focus on stretching the shoulder capsule and strengthening of the upper back and shoulder muscles. Often recommended exercises are:

  • The sleeper stretch
  • Lying dumbbell press
  • Weight lifting
  • Plyometric exercises such as throwing a medicine ball with maximum force against a wall.

Practise a Proper Technique:

It is essential to practise and learn proper pitching mechanics to avoid overuse injuries like SLAP tear. For example, while throwing, let say a ball don’t just throw with your arm but use the entire body.

What is the conventional treatment for Labral Tear?

The conventional treatment for labral tear usually includes:
  • rest,
  • physiotherapy, and
  • painkillers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines such as Neurofen, Ibuprofen or Voltarol
  • Some doctors advise cortisone injections.

Or surgical option:

If the above treatment does not help, then shoulder surgery was previously considered as the only option for the treatment of labral tear. For torn labrum or a labral tear shoulder surgery nowadays is performed using arthroscopic surgery or key-hole surgery. In both cases, an arthroscope is used. It involves the insertion of the camera along with few surgical tools through small holes cut into the skin around the joint. Although torn labrum arthroscopic surgery does not involve large incision, still it usually takes around up to twelve to eighteen months to resume activities like playing sports. A patient can experience restricted movement in some cases, even after the labral tear shoulder surgery. Pain and stiffness can also be very persistent six months after the surgery with sometimes severe loss of the range of motion.

Have you heard of Regenerative therapy for a SLAP tear?

Are you looking for an alternative to surgery that not only improves the symptoms of a labral tear treatment but also promotes healing and repair of a SLAP tear?

If the answer is yes, then try Regenerative treatment. The Regenerative therapy has been proven to work successfully for injured tendons, ligaments and sprained muscles. With Regenerative treatment, the injuries heal faster without undergoing any painful procedure like surgery. Regenerative therapy ensures faster recovery after treatment for SLAP tear injury with no downtime being struck with an injury.

We, at Medica Stem Cells, use Regenerative treatments like Enhanced PRP (Enhanced Platelet Rich Plasma) and/ or Stromal Vascular Fraction Therapy and Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate to help you to recover faster from a SLAP tear. Regenerative therapies help to repair the injury by regenerating new tissue which allows you to regain strength and confidence to participate in sports again after a minimal downtime period. You can get back to playing the sports much faster than compared to surgery, and use your joints without any restriction in their movement. 

A combination of  procedure may be the treatment protocol. For some patients, the treatment is an administration of a series of injections over several treatment sessions. The choice of the treatment protocol is at the discretion of the consultant, which primarily depends on your case.

So, what are the benefits of Regenerative Treatment?

With so many different treatment options available for labrum tear, including shoulder surgery, it is evident for you to think why you should choose Regenerative Treatment. Regenerative Treatments are non-surgical, minimally invasive and same-day procedures with no risk of rejection, minimal recovery time and worry. You are fully awake during the procedure. And you can travel home the same day within a few hours after administration of the injections in the affected area.   A summary of the benefits of Regenerative Treatment for SLAP repair include:  
  • Minimal-invasive procedure.
  • Same day procedure.
  • Joints become less painful within a few days after the Regenerative Treatment.
  • No ugly post-operative scars.
  • Prolonged rehabilitation of joints is not required, unlike after a labrum tear surgery.

What to expect after the Regenerative procedure?

Regenerative therapy is an orthobiological treatment; thus, it requires some time to initiate repair of the damaged or injured tissue in the affected area. The effect of the treatment is not instant. It requires around a month for the patient to experience early signs of improvement such as reduced pain or increase in function of the shoulder joint or sometimes both.

Shortly after the procedure, some patient’s might experience mild discomfort at the site of treatment which can last for a day or two. Generally, the pain or ache is eased by rest and sometimes if needed, simple painkillers may be prescribed.

The Regenerative treatment has a strong anti-inflammatory effect, mostly due to the release of Cytokines and growth factors. The anti-inflammatory effect lasts for around two to three months, thus reducing inflammation around the shoulder. Continued improvement is seen as the tissues begin to heal around the torn labrum. It is always advisable to wait for 3-4 months for the effects of the treatment to become apparent.

Patients attend follow up consultations up to six months post-treatment, usually at 3 and 6 months mark. The review sessions provide an opportunity for the patients so that they can explain their progress. During these reviews, the consultant compares the improvement with the previous medical records before the procedure started, to see the overall progress. 

The outcome of the Regenerative procedures varies for every patient, which mainly depends on factors like age, lifestyle, type and severity of the condition and other factors.

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