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Rehabilitating Slap Tears with Physiotherapy: Effective Strategies for Athletes



Rehabilitating Slap Tears with Physiotherapy: Effective Strategies for Athletes

SLAP tears, or Superior Labral tears from Anterior to Posterior, are a common shoulder injury among athletes. They often result from acute trauma or repetitive shoulder movements. To effectively manage and rehabilitate these injuries, many athletes turn to sports physiotherapy in Edmonton. This specialized form of physiotherapy focuses on restoring strength, flexibility, and overall shoulder function, which is crucial for athletes looking to return to their peak performance levels. This targeted approach ensures that athletes can recover effectively, reducing downtime and enhancing their ability to compete safely and successfully.

Sports physiotherapists in Edmonton utilize various techniques designed to rehabilitate this type of shoulder injury effectively.


Taping is a common practice used to stabilize the shoulder joint and reduce the load on injured tissues.

  • Application: Kinesiology taping is often applied to provide dynamic support, enhancing proprioceptive feedback without restricting the full range of motion.
  • This technique can help manage pain, reduce inflammation, and support the muscles around the shoulder during the healing process. It also allows athletes to participate in light training activities by providing additional support and confidence during movement.

Bracing for Stability

Braces are used more restrictively to immobilize or limit the movement of the shoulder during certain phases of recovery.

  • Usage: Post-injury or surgery, a brace may be employed to keep the shoulder in an optimal healing position. As recovery progresses, adjustable braces can be used to gradually increase the range of motion.
  • Braces ensure that the shoulder does not undergo excessive strain during the early stages of rehabilitation. They help in maintaining joint alignment and reducing the risk of further damage during daily activities and light exercises.


Splints may also be used as part of the rehabilitation process, particularly when there is a need to immobilize the shoulder completely or when precise positioning is required.

  • Implementation: Splints are typically custom-fitted and used in specific cases where the shoulder must remain immobile for healing, especially after surgical interventions.
  • Splinting provides the strictest level of protection, significantly limiting movement to facilitate the recovery of the labrum without interference.

These are other key components used in sports physiotherapy in Edmonton to support the healing of SLAP tears.

Manual Therapy

Manual therapy is a cornerstone treatment modality used by sports physiotherapists to manage the pain and mobility issues associated with SLAP tears.


  • Soft Tissue Mobilization: This technique involves gentle manipulation of the muscles and ligaments near the shoulder to alleviate tightness and enhance tissue quality.
  • Joint Manipulation: Sports physiotherapists carefully manipulate the shoulder joint to improve alignment and motion, which can significantly reduce discomfort and increase range of motion.


  • Reduction of Inflammation: Manual therapy techniques help decrease inflammation around the injured labrum, promoting a conducive environment for healing.
  • Enhanced Shoulder Functionality: By improving mobility and reducing pain, manual therapy helps restore shoulder function, which is crucial for athletes aiming to return to their sport at high-performance levels.

Therapeutic Exercises

Customized exercise programs are critical in the rehabilitation process for SLAP tears to strengthen the shoulder and prevent future injuries.

Specific Exercises

  • Isometric Exercises: These exercises involve contracting the shoulder muscles without actual movement of the joint, which helps in strengthening the muscles around the shoulder without placing stress on the labrum.
  • Dynamic Exercises: As recovery progresses, dynamic exercises are introduced. These may include shoulder rotations, arm raises, and exercises specifically targeting the strengthening of the rotator cuff.

How to Perform

  • Technique: Exercises are performed under the strict supervision of a sports physiotherapist who ensures that each movement is executed with the correct form. The therapist guides the athlete through each exercise, providing cues and adjustments as needed.
  • Progression: The intensity and complexity of exercises are gradually increased based on the athlete’s recovery rate and pain tolerance. This methodical progression helps to ensure that the shoulder is not overloaded too soon, which could potentially aggravate the injury.


  • Enhanced Shoulder Stability and Function: Strengthening the muscles around the shoulder joint is crucial for enhancing stability and function. Improved muscle strength supports the joint and reduces the likelihood of future injuries.
  • Improved Athletic Performance: As the shoulder regains strength and stability, athletes can return to their pre-injury performance levels with a reduced risk of recurrence.

Neuromuscular Reeducation

Neuromuscular reeducation is crucial for restoring functional movements and proprioceptive feedback after a shoulder injury such as a SLAP tear.


  • Movement Reintegration: This technique involves training the shoulder to smoothly coordinate its actions through activities that mimic the athlete’s specific sports movements. For instance, a baseball pitcher would practice throwing motions, while a swimmer might focus on stroke techniques.
  • Proprioceptive Training: Activities that enhance proprioception, such as exercises on unstable surfaces or using proprioceptive aids like balance boards, are also integrated into the rehabilitation process.


  • Restored Joint Stability and Muscle Coordination: These exercises are critical for helping to reestablish the normal function of the shoulder joint and the coordination of the muscles surrounding it.
  • Prevention of Future Injuries: By improving proprioceptive awareness and muscle response, athletes can better manage the demands of their sports, potentially reducing the risk of future injuries.

Sports physiotherapy in Edmonton provides comprehensive rehabilitation services that address both the immediate impacts of SLAP tears and the long-term health of the shoulder.

Return to Play with Confidence and Strength

At Turning Point Physiotherapy in Edmonton, our dedicated team offers sports physiotherapy with a strong focus on rehabilitating athletes suffering from SLAP tears. We understand the challenges that come with this type of shoulder injury and are committed to providing tailored treatment strategies that facilitate a quick and effective return to sports.

Utilizing the recent sports injury physiotherapy techniques, we aim to restore full shoulder function while strengthening the area to prevent future injuries. If you’re an athlete dealing with a SLAP tear and looking for expert care, consider Turning Point Physiotherapy in Edmonton. Reach out to us to schedule a consultation and start your journey back to peak performance.