SLAP Tears

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The labrum is a ring of firm tissue around the shoulder socket that helps keep your arm bone in the shoulder socket. A SLAP tear, which stands for "superior labrum, anterior to posterior," is when part of the labrum is injured or torn.

You may get a SLAP tear if you:

  • Fall on your outstretched arm.
  • Fall on your shoulder.
  • Participate in throwing sports, or are an overhead athlete, such as a volleyball or tennis player
  • Swimmers can also develop SLAP tears
  • Lift heavy objects repeatedly or too suddenly.
  • Try to suddenly catch a heavy falling object with an outstretched hand.

Symptoms of a SLAP tear include:

  • Popping, clicking or catching in the shoulder.
  • Pain when you move your arm over your head or throw a ball.
  • A feeling of weakness or instability in the shoulder.
  • Aching pain.


Treatment for a SLAP Tear can include medicine, icing or applying heat to the area, or rehabilitation to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles and to gently stretch the back of the shoulder.

However, for many people, surgery is necessary. With arthroscopic surgery, the doctor can get a close look at the injury and also repair the labral tear if needed.

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