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SLAP surgery versus physiotherapy?

Hi there!

I have been diagnosed with a SLAP tear in my shoulder, and the surgeon at the time strongly recommended surgery. But, as a professional rider taking 6 months off of riding is fairly daunting. My question is, for people who have had the surgery, was it worth it, and did it actually take the full 6 months of physiotherapy to get back to full riding duties? The other option would be to do only physiotherapy. Has anyone done just the physio route for a torn labrum, and if so what was your experience?

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Following with interest. I have a massive RT tear and a torn bicep. I too find the prospect of surgery daunting, and wonder about the efficacy of other non-surgical treatments, such as cortisone injections or hyaluronic acid injections.

I tried PT and the shoulder remained unstable and painful. Went to surgery. Yeah, it does take six months to come back. But it’s been my most successful orthopedic surgery, and by about a year out, I was forgetting there was ever an issue.

If you want to explore all conservative options, I’d hit up your local Regenexx practitioner for some PRP.

Also, get a few surgical opinions, and find the absolute best surgeon you can. Skill matters a lot.


Did you try injections, Simkie? any luck?

I didn’t think I did. I was going to do PRP, but the surgery date lined up and I went that direction instead. I had a narrow window of availability before a cross country move, so it was kind of a peculiar situation.

Faced with something similar today, I’d likely go straight to my Regenexx guy and really explore that avenue before signing up for surgery.

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For all of us who are clueless, what does SLAP mean? Google is letting me down. Regardless, I wish you speedy healing.



Okay thanks a lot! That’s helpful to hear, I’ll look into Regenexx

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I had a biceps tenodesis /slap tear repair in 2014. I did all the PT and gained strength and ROM as things healed, but it never really stopped hurting. I was back flatting maybe 3 months later. The healing took forever and it was a good year before I realized it was what it was. The post surgical pain was significant, and losing the use of that arm for months was inconvenient. I would not choose to do it again.

message me if you want to compare notes. I had exact same injury as you, now 8 mos out of surgery.

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Thank you, @hallie2. Sending message.

I had an inconclusive MRI, so the surgeon didn’t recommend surgery. At the time, I was working too much and couldn’t afford horses, and following PT it hurt to ride anything that was strong on the left rein for quite some time. Wound up turning down some pro riding opportunities that presented in the following couple of years, because I wasn’t sure my shoulder would hold up. I also had to put kinesiotape on it a lot for a long time. Even to do road cycling races (sprinting was hard). I still cannot do several deltoid targeting weight training movements at enough weight to do anything because the range of motion continues to be a bit off and pretty crunchy. If I try anyway, I’ve got pain for days in the joint. But I can ride just fine now. Didn’t really give it a go for many years though. And clearly I have some permanent limitations. Nothing life altering with my amateur riding and my desk job, but I couldn’t even sleep on that side for years, and now I can but not for long. If I were you, I’d lean towards getting the repair.

Superior labrum- anterior to posterior. It’s a labral tear. It usually will not resolve without surgery.