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Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior (SLAP) Lesion Tear


This is a shoulder injury. It’s a tear of the labrum. That’s a ring of cartilage that surrounds the shoulder socket and helps hold the head of the humerus in place. This type of tear happens where the biceps tendon attaches to the labrum.


Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior (SLAP) Lesion Tear

Causes & Triggers

A SLAP tear can be caused by trauma to the shoulder. It can happen because of a road accident or a fall onto an outstretched arm. It can be caused by a forceful overhead motion, or when you try to catch something heavy. It can also be caused by repetitive motions. Throwing athletes and weightlifters can be injured this way.

  • Acute trauma
  • Aging
  • Fall (especially on outstretched arm)
  • Forceful pull
  • Motor vehicle accident
  • Overuse
  • Repetitive motion
  • Throwing injury

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms may include pain and loss of strength. You may not have your full range of motion. You may have popping, grinding or catching sensations when you move your arm. Your shoulder may feel unstable. And, it may be hard for you to lift and to throw.

  • Catching
  • Grinding
  • Instability
  • Limited range of motion
  • Locking
  • Pain
  • Popping
  • Weakness

Tips & Treatment

Treatment depends on your needs. Your shoulder may heal with rest, medications and physical therapy. Or, you may need surgery. Your healthcare provider will create a plan that’s right for you.

  • This injury is common among athletes and weight lifters who engage in repetitive overhead motion.
  • Some SLAP tears result from age-related wear and tear.
  • Non-surgical treatment includes rest, ice, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication and/or physical therapy.
  • If non-operative treatment does not resolve the condition, surgical intervention may be necessary.

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