6850 W. Centennial Drive, Tinley Park, IL 60477
Phone (708) 429-3455 /  Fax (708) 429-3422

Specialties: Arthroscopic SLAP Repair Treatment Options

Nonsurgical Treatment

Your doctor's first goal will be to control your pain and inflammation. Initial treatment for pain control is usually rest and anti-inflammatory medication, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Your doctor may suggest a cortisone injection if you have trouble getting your pain under control. Cortisone is a strong anti-inflammatory medication. It can provide good relief, although its effects are temporary.

Your doctor will probably have a physical or occupational therapist direct your rehabilitation program. Your first therapy treatments will try to ease pain and inflammation by using such treatments as heat or ice. Hands-on treatment and various types of exercises are used to improve the range of motion in your shoulder and the nearby joints and muscles.

Later, you will do strengthening exercises to improve the strength and control of the rotator cuff and shoulder blade muscles. Your therapist will help you retrain these muscles to keep the ball of the humerus in the glenoid. This will improve the stability of your shoulder and help it move smoothly during all your activities.

You may need therapy treatments for four to six weeks. Most patients are able to get back to their activities with full use of their arm within this amount of time.


If your symptoms don't go away, you may need surgery.

Labral Debridement

The arthroscope can be used to treat many labral tears. If the tear is small and is mostly getting caught as you move the shoulder, simply removing the frayed edges and any loose parts of the labrum may get rid of your symptoms. This is called labral debridement.

Labral Repair

If the tear is larger, the shoulder may also be unstable. If this is the case, the labral tear may need to be repaired, rather than simply removed. Several new techniques allow surgeons to place small anchors into the labrum through an arthroscope. The anchors attach the labrum to the bone of the glenoid.

Open Repair

If the tear is too large to repair through the arthroscope, the surgeon will need to make an in the front of the shoulder. The main drawback of making the larger incision is that it will probably take you longer to recover from surgery.

Nonsurgical Rehabilitation

Even nonsurgical treatment requires a rehabilitation program. Some evidence suggests that shoulder instability may eventually make labral tears worse. The goal of therapy will be to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles to make the shoulder more stable. At first you will do exercises with the therapist. Eventually you will be put on a home program of exercise to keep the muscles strong and flexible. This should help you avoid future problems.

Surgical Rehabilitation

Getting the shoulder moving as soon as possible is important. However, this must be balanced with the need to protect the healing tissues. The first few therapy treatments will focus on controlling the pain and swelling from surgery. Ice and electrical stimulation treatments may help. Your therapist may also use massage and other types of hands-on treatments to ease muscle spasm and pain.

Therapy proceeds quickly after a simple arthroscopic surgery to clean up the frayed edges or loose parts of the labrum. Sessions start with range-of-motion exercises and gradually work into active stretching and strengthening. Overhand athletes start their sports gradually within four to six weeks. They can usually return to competition within three months.

After surgery to repair the labrum, therapists usually begin with passive exercises. In passive exercises, the shoulder joint is moved, but your muscles stay relaxed. Your therapist gently moves your joint and gradually stretches your arm. You may also be taught how to do passive exercises at home.

Active therapy starts about six weeks after repair surgery. Active range-of-motion exercises help you regain shoulder movement using your own muscle power. Light isometric strengthening exercises are started about this time. These exercises work the muscles without straining the healing joint.

By about the tenth week, you will start more active strengthening. Exercises will focus on improving strength and control of the rotator cuff muscles. They help tighten the ball of the humerus in the glenoid socket and can improve the stability of the shoulder. A stronger and more stable shoulder helps keep the ball of the humerus centered in the socket during all your activities.

Some of the exercises you will do are designed get your shoulder working in ways that are similar to your work tasks and sport activities. Your therapist will help you find ways to do your tasks that don't put too much stress on your shoulder. Before your therapy sessions end, your therapist will teach you a number of ways to avoid future problems.

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Last Modified: April 20, 2018