T Nation

SLAP Tear/Lesion


So today I was diagnosed with SLAP tears in both of my shoulders (the right one is more severe). Tomorrow I'm gonna be X-rayed just to see if there's something wrong with the bones. Later I'll have to take an MRI to assess the severity of the tears.

Does anyone have any experience with SLAP tear? If yes, what's your story?

BTW my shoulders have been developing pain since I started to train the Jerk. Snatching is never painful to me.


i have the same problem as you!!! Do you feel that your shoulders are about to pop out in the overhead position?
i was diagnosed with a SLAP tear and anterior shoulder dislocation on my left shoulder after being under a MRI. Had that problem since i caught a snatch slightly too far behind my head. what kind of pain is yours?


I'm glad that there's someone like me, although I wish that it wasn't the case!

Apparently yours is probably worse than mine because I don't experience any kind of popping sensation, just pain when jerking (actually snatching is OK). I can't really describe the pain other than that it's located on top of the shoulders. I suspect that jerking is the culprit of my injury. I'd say that my injury is chronic.

I'm still waiting to get an MRI done. I wonder if I would be able to continue lifting...? Though I read that with SLAP repair, the shoulder can return to 100%.

I hope that you (and me) will get better soon!


Actually i was scheduled to have an surgery to repair my labrum, but i turned it down and was able to go back to training slowly because i went to rehab it. DO NOT GO FOR AN OPERATION!!! The surgeon will overtigten your shoulder!!meaning that you are not able to external rotate to the position you used to be able to!! You will also lose muscle mass and strength and mobility. My advise for you would be to try to rehab it. For me my rehab is very special, no countless reps of rotator cuff work!! Focus on overhead stuff such as kettlebell turkish getup, windmill and handstands against the wall. It helped me significantly!!! Inverted rows and pullups also help.

So for your pain, you do not feel any instability in the overhead position? Thats unlikely for a person with slap tear?


The doctor said that it's most likely to be a SLAP tear based on his assessment but I think we have to wait for an MRI to be sure.

What you say about operation contradicts what I've read on the net but I welcome any kind of advice! BTW who rehabs your shoulder(s)? A PT?


Many times articles written on the net were written by pencil-necks whom the heaviest thing they lifted their whole life is a pencil.i am sure you are aware that shoulder mobility is very important in olympic lifting, when you undergo an operation to the shoulder for the labrum, most of the time they will overtighten the shoulder to ensure that this problem does not surface again. When you are well and ready to return to the sport, you may feel that you cannot go the point where you are unable to bring the bar to the balance position in snatches and jerks which is above the scapular as you shoulder may not be able to externally rotate to that position. This was told by my orthopaedic surgeon. However, i may be proven wrong, and you should of course ask your doctor about this problem.

For my rehab, a physio from the clinic told me to try that out, turns out he is really spot on and i feel my shoulder becoming a lot more stable.


Actually what I've read aren't just articles but posts on various boards. IIRC some people said that they returned to 100% after an op. I've to ask my doc about this issue but I'll have to get an MRI first....

Oh yeah, did you by any chance have any shoulder discomfort after being MRI'ed? Did you have to assume some uncomfortable position while in the machine? I read that the contrast injection (fluid) combined with prolonged uncomfortable position that your arm(s) must assume while being scanned can cause (shoulder) problem that spans days for some people.


really??not too sure about that though...
for me, i did not take an injection and was in the machine for about 45mins??you are in a isolated position though



re: the MRI

if you're having an MRarthrogram this is where you will have a dye injected into your shoulder, if its just an MRI you will not - some consultants may request an image of the shoulder for which you have to be scanned with your hand behind your head, this may be uncomfortable & if it is excruciating they will obviously stop the scan.

re: the tightening guoren mentioned don't worry about it too much, while the surgeon is likely to tighten the capsule slightly - natural laxity generally returns within a year to 18 months, particularly if you stretch & get ART on the capsule itself.



Thank you about the information, JRugby!


Paperclip: Do your research but the most important part is choosing the right surgeon. A good surgeon will do a good job that will allow you to return to training in 8-12 months. I had a Bankart Repair to correct a torn labrum at the 5 o'clock position due to multiple dislocations. After surgery I was able to start training hard and have gone from 165lbs, post surgery, to 212lbs. There are certain movements that you will not be able to do, namely dips and anything decline bench. I went for two surgical consultations, one surgeon1 said of surgeon2, go with surgeon2, I'm good but he is better, his recover will be 2-3 months shorter then mine.


Here is my take on it, from having had both shoulders done, the latest my left for a SLAP tear, distal clavicle resection, and subacromial resection. BTW, the bit above about picking the right doctor is spot on.

If you can train around it or eliminate the pain by dropping snatches, do that. I couldn't sleep at night so I needed the surgery. The surgery takes a really long time to recover from. I just finished formal therapy at 7 months, and I had frozen shoulder in there which is really painful, restricts ROM, and also required supplemental Active Release Therapy at the end so I could get released from PT. Of course my whole body comp has changed (no treadmill work is allowed, no elliptical with upper body--although lower body is ok) and no weight training is allowed while in PT, except with legs. So...I have a long way to go to get back into shape.

The doctor knows that I like to lift heavy, we talked about using heavy anchors and knots(there is a choice), he does pro athletes, but his advice to me was to drop benching and anything with joint compression (e.g., presses, nosebusters, inclines, etc). He said that my chest workout should be pec deck, lateral raises for delts, curls for bis, pushdowns for tris, no chins (which I did weighted) but that pulldowns are ok (not sure how that works since if I am 170 lbs using 250 on pulldown, isn't that tantamount to the stress of doing heavy chins in some way?), and rowing machine is ok. Other that that, I am jeopardizing the labrum.

Apparently I will never be 100%. By definition, how could I be? Once you cut, you reduce the integrity of the tissue. Scar tissue is not the same as original tissue. Could I push it more than what he says? Sure, I think that he is being too conservative. Will I? Probably not much. Once you go through this operation, you won't want to do it again. Having my right rotator cuff done and my hernated disk were a walk in the park compared to the labrum SLAP repair.

Hopefully this helps you decide whether it is worth dropping the snatch or not. I wasn't so lucky, my damage was done. But if I could go back, I would have chosen a more intelligent exercise selection. Good luck either way.


Thank you for sharing your valuable experience, dukidy and Pittsburghfan! I'm sure that it'll be useful for me sometime in the future. As for now, I think my body (shoulder) has adapted to the injury and the symptoms are almost, if not practically, gone. Sometimes my shoulders click though but beside that, there's nothing painful.

I should first say that I haven't had a surgery done and I haven't even taken an MRI because of the cost. So my "SLAP tear" is only based on the shoulder physical examination performed by the doc. With that being said, I've resumed Olympic lifting and modified my clean & jerk technique (squat jerk instead of split jerk), hoping that my shoulder will be OK.... Oh yeah, snatches are never painful, only the jerks....


I had a pretty big tear in my labrum as well. It went a little more than 180 degrees around the socket and I had a a few screws thrown in. Even after 3 months of rehab it has been extremely rough getting to move it around and do 'normal' things. I can only do wall pushups and curl something dumb like 15 pounds with the bad arm

I would definitely recommend staying extremely diligent about rehab, even if you don't get surgery. I put off the surgery for as long as possible (around 2 years) but I wasn't very good about keeping up with my rehab. That, coupled with a few bad dislocations, ended up making it a lot worse. I can't stress enough how much the surgery sucks and if you can help fix it without surgery (cortisone shots, rehab, etc) you should definitely do it. Just be smart about everything and you'll be fine


hello sir,I was wondering why your so against the surgery ? I have a SLAP tear also..I had a labral repair 10 yrs ago,and to the guy who said it makes it TO TIGHT hes right,I cant throw a baseball 20 feet..lol so Im thinking this surgery would be just as bad ?
its in the same shoulder.. thanks guys.


I had a pretty bad experience with the surgery and after tons of time thinking about it (a lot of it may have been drug induced) but I would never do the surgery ever again. It put me in a very very bad place physically and mentally. I can't do dang near anything that I used to do and as a result of that it has absolutely wrecked my outlook on everything. If there are any other options, I would absolutely exhaust them before even thinking about surgury. The toll it took on me was too great to even consider doingit again


In truth the larbal repair I already had I agree,I cant throw a rock 20 feet,still bugs me when I sleep