Non-surgical treatment of common shoulder injury may increase chances of return-to-play

July 12, 2012

Surgically repairing a painful shoulder injury in baseball players known as a SLAP tear (superior labral) varies widely and often doesn't allow for return to play at the same level as before the injury. However, researchers presenting their findings at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland suggest that nonsurgical treatment may be more beneficial.

"Our research showed that nonsurgical treatment of SLAP tears was more often successful than surgery, and in position players more frequently than for pitchers," said David Lintner, MD, lead researcher from Methodist Center for in Houston, Texas. "We need more research to determine why the nonsurgical treatment was more beneficial to one population than the other, but our findings did illustrate that nonsurgical treatment should be preferred."

Lintner and his team performed a retrospective review of a 119 professional baseball players within a single organization who had persistent that limited their ability to compete. Sixty-eight patients had MRI-documented SLAP lesions and had failed initial physical therapy. All patients were initially treated non-surgically according to an algorithm focused on correcting the scapular dyskinesia and posterior capsular tightness. Of the 68 subjects with confirmed SLAP , 45 were pitchers. Return to competition appeared to occur at a higher rate for position players than (73% vs. 40%).

"Returning to the same level of competition as before the injury, is almost always difficult for an athlete, and surgery is often thought of as the best avenue. With additional research, orthopaedists are finding different routes to treat some of the most common throwing injuries," said Lintner.

Explore further: Keep youth baseball players safe on the field

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Sustaining biomedical research: Med school deans speak out

May 27, 2015

Cuts in federal support and unreliable funding streams are creating a hostile work environment for scientists, jeopardizing the future of research efforts and ultimately clinical medicine, according to leaders of the nation's ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.