Many people suffer injuries where there are several treatment options, and the patient must decide what is best for him or her. In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I discuss a specific injury in which surgery isn’t always the only treatment option – a SLAP tear, or superior labral tear, of the shoulder.

Nick asks:
What do you think about an athlete that has a labrum tear of his shoulder? Would you suggest to a player to have the surgery, or is rehab a better option? It seems that the opinions I receive are mixed.

The labrum is the cartilage bumper along the rim of the glenoid, or the socket, of the shoulder. It helps to provide stability to the shoulder. It can be injured when a young athlete suffers a shoulder dislocation. Pitchers and other overhead athletes often injure the superior labrum as well.

SLAP tears are also common findings in adults that have shoulder pain. Sometimes these labral tears can cause pain or catching deep within the shoulder. Other times, they are incidental findings. MRI can demonstrate a SLAP tear of the shoulder, but as I discuss in this video, these can be common findings in adults with no shoulder pain at all. Therefore, a trial of physical therapy can often be a good first step for many patients with shoulder pain.

Also read:
Ask Dr. Geier: Return to sports after SLAP repair
5 signs your shoulder injury could be serious

Athletic trainer helping with shoulder pain from SLAP tear

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