You may feel pain in your shoulder, or that your shoulder is unstable. This can be particularly noticeable when you’re throwing a ball, either when your arm is cocked or once you’ve thrown the ball. The chances are you’ll hear a clicking sound when you try and throw a ball too. You might also feel pain in your shoulder when you lift heavy objects.
SLAP lesions normally affect younger people after they’ve fallen on their arm. People who do a lot of throwing may also be affected. The labrum is a rim of tissue attached to a bone in the shoulder, which is also attached to the biceps tendon. It’s possible to pull the labrum and the tendon off the bone, which causes the problem.
Your shoulder specialist will chat through the symptoms and examine your shoulder. They may also want to take an MRI scan, particularly to rule out any other diagnoses. An arthroscopy may also help, which is a type of endoscope inserted into the joint through a small incision.
Most people aren’t aware of the exact moment when the lesion happens, so there isn’t really any way of treating it instantly. However, RICE is a standard procedure to bring down swelling – i.e. Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
Physiotherapy may help to strengthen and balance your shoulder muscles, but it can’t treat the lesion itself. If your symptoms persist then you’ll need an arthroscopy to repair the lesion. The shoulder specialist will attach the torn tissue back onto the bone using small stitches and fixatives known as ‘suture anchors’. If they can’t attach the lesion then they may remove the tissue to stop the pain.