Labral Tears in Gymnasts

Labral tears (sometimes known as SLAP lesions or tears) are common injuries in athletes who use their shoulders predominantly. Gymnasts are no exception.

The firm tissue around your shoulder socket is called the labrum – this gasket helps keep your arm bone in the shoulder socket. Labral tears can occur with sudden trauma or with repetitive, overhead activities.

Ring and bar specialists are especially vulnerable to this condition. Because these gymnastic events require excessive weight bearing activities to the arms and shoulders, damage is more likely to occur either suddenly or over time.

Labral tears most commonly present themselves with pain in the shoulder that initially resolves but tends to recur with continued play. The gymnast may experience shoulder popping with weight bearing activity on the hands.

Your doctor will perform a series of movement tests to see which motions cause you pain. An MRI can also help diagnose labral tears. Treatment may involve nonsurgical options, such as pain medications and rehabilitation. For some, the condition must be treated with arthroscopic surgery, which simultaneously looks closely at the injury and also performs repairs.

If you believe you have a labral tear and seek diagnosis and treatment, please contact the Bone & Joint Center today.