Shoulder pain is a common symptom among the overhead athlete where throwing athletes will generally complain of dead arm, defined as a condition which restricts them from throwing at pre-injury speeds or control. SLAP, or superior labrum anterior-posterior, lesions are common causes of this type of dysfunction.
A SLAP tear occurs on the glenoid labrum from the anterior to posterior angle of the long head of the biceps tendon. The glenoid labrum is a wedge-shaped fibrous tissue structure that is attached to the edge of the glenoid, functioning to deepen the glenoid cavity to improve stability as well as implement muscular control and proprioception. The anatomy of the proximal long head bicep tendon may actually vary but, in a majority of cases, it originates from the posterior superior labrum and it is broader and innervated more sensory fibres than the distal tendon.
There are four main subgroups of SLAP lesions: type 1, where the connection between the labrum and the glenoid remains intact while degeneration and some shredding has occurred. It’s believed this may not be a cause of many symptoms; type 2, the most common type of SLAP lesion which causes a majority of the symptoms and may require surgery to heal, involves the detachment of the superior labrum and the long head of the biceps tendon from the glenoid rim; type 3, where the meniscoid superior labrum tears and is removed from the joint but the connection between the tendon and the labral rim remains intact; and type 4, where the tear of the superior labrum extends into the tendon, partially removed from the joint along the superior labrum.
Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C.,C.C.S.T’s insight:
Shoulder pain is a common symptom among the overhead athlete where throwing athletes will generally report the presence of a condition where they are restricted from throwing at pre-injury speeds or control. SLAP lesions are common causes of this type of dysfunction and there are various types of complications. For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at (915) 850-0900.
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