Today we will revisit the glenohumeral joint. There are strong and fibrous tissues surrounding the rim of the outer edge of the glenoid. We referred to that as the labrum. It helps deepen the socket which makes it a better fit for the humerus, and thus, contributes to the stability of the shoulder complex. It also serves as an attachment point for many ligaments of the shoulder, including the biceps tendon that attaches to the superior part of the labrum.
The term SLAP is a short form for superior-labrum-anterior-posterior. SLAP lesion is a type of shoulder defect in the superior labrum that begins posteriorly and extends anteriorly impacting the attachment of the long head of the biceps. The severity increases with different types of tears, ranging from partial detachment to major detachment.
SLAP lesion can result from FOOSH or repetitive stress, especially for overhead movement during sports or work. It is more common to be due to wear and tear. The symptoms of SLAP lesion can include pain in the front of the shoulder, and limited range of motion. When patients are doing any shoulder movement, they may notice aching pain and clicking/popping in the shoulder.
Therapists will perform some provocative tests during the assessment if they are suspicious for SLAP lesion. Yergason’s or Speed’s test identifies the presence of a pathology involving the biceps tendon or glenoid labrum. However, there are many possible complications with SLAP lesion. Patients may require MRI for a clear diagnosis. Depending on the patients’ conditions, there can be surgeries for repair or conservative treatment which involves strengthening the shoulder and rotator cuff muscles to restore the range of motion.