Labral (SLAP) Tear of the Shoulder

A Labral (SLAP) Tear is a specific type of injury to the shoulder joint. The labrum is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the socket of the shoulder joint. A SLAP (Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior) tear occurs at the point where the tendon of the bicep muscle inserts on the labrum.


Common symptoms of a Labral (SLAP) tear may include:

  • A catching sensation or popping sound in the shoulder
  • Pain when moving the shoulder or holding it in specific positions
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Shoulder weakness
  • Sensation of instability in the shoulder


Diagnosing a Labral (SLAP) tear typically involves:

  • Physical exam: A doctor will move your arm in different directions to check for pain or weakness.
  • Imaging tests: MRI or CT scans provide detailed images of the shoulder bones and soft tissues and can detect any labral tears.


To prevent a Labral (SLAP) tear, strategies can include:

  • Regular strength training: Strengthening the shoulder muscles can help maintain joint stability.
  • Use of proper techniques: Correct techniques should be used when performing activities involving shoulder movements to reduce joint strain.


Treatment plans for Labral (SLAP) tear depend on various individual factors, including the patient’s age, general health, lifestyle, and severity of symptoms. The main types of treatment are:

  • Non-Surgical Treatments: These may involve rest, physiotherapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and corticosteroid injections to manage pain and inflammation.
  • Shoulder brace: A shoulder brace may be recommended to support the shoulder and prevent further injuries.
  • Surgical Treatments: If non-surgical treatments do not alleviate symptoms, surgical options may be considered. This often involves an arthroscopic procedure to either repair or debride the torn part of the labrum.
  • Rehabilitation: Following surgery, a rehabilitation program involving physiotherapy will usually be required to strengthen the shoulder and enhance its flexibility.

Each treatment approach aims to alleviate pain, restore shoulder function, and prevent future shoulder instability. The best treatment plan often depends on individual factors and should be discussed thoroughly with a healthcare provider.