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Anatomy of the Shoulder

The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint. A ball at the top of the upper arm bone (humerus) fits neatly into a socket, called the glenoid, which is part of the shoulder blade (scapula). The glenoid is surrounded by a ring of fibrous cartilage called the labrum for stabilisation of the shoulder joint. The biceps tendon attaches inside the shoulder joint at the superior labrum of the shoulder joint. It is a long cord-like structure that attaches the biceps muscle to the shoulder and helps to stabilise the joint.

What are SLAP Tears?

The term SLAP (superior –labrum anterior-posterior) lesion or SLAP tear refers to an injury of the superior labrum of the shoulder.

What are the Causes of SLAP Tears? 

The most common causes include falling on an outstretched arm, repetitive overhead actions such as throwing and lifting a heavy object. Overhead and contact sports may put you at a greater risk of developing SLAP tears.

What are the Symptoms of SLAP Tears?

The most common symptom is pain at the top of the shoulder joint. In addition, a catching sensation and pain most often with activities such as throwing may also occur.

How are SLAP Tears Diagnosed?

Diagnosis is made based on the symptoms and a physical examination. A regular MRI scan may not indicate a SLAP tear and therefore an MRI with a contrast dye injected into the shoulder is usually ordered. The contrast dye helps to highlight SLAP tears.

What are the Treatment Options for SLAP Tears?

  • Your doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory medications to control pain. In athletes who want to continue their sports, arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder may be recommended.
  • Depending on the severity of the lesion, some SLAP tears may simply require debridement while others need to be repaired. A SLAP repair can be performed using arthroscopic techniques that require only two or three small incisions.
  • Regular exercises that make the shoulder muscles strong should be done. Adequate warm-up exercises before activities and avoiding high contact sports can help prevent injuries that cause instability.
  • NHS
  • The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
  • 
British Elbow & Shoulder Society
  • University of Warwick
  • Swor and D

Hospitals Attended

  • Stratford Hospital

    South Warwickshire
    NHS Foundation Trust
    Arden St, Stratford-upon-Avon,
    CV37 6NX
    Driving Directions


    Ext 4798
  • Nuffield Health
    Warwickshire Hospital

    The Chase, Old Milverton Lane
    Leamington Spa
    CV32 6RW
    Driving Directions


  • Warwick Hospital

    South Warwickshire
    NHS Foundation Trust
    Lakin Road, Warwick,
    CV34 5BW
    Driving Directions


    Ext 4798
  • The Grafton Suite,
    Building One

    Stratford Hospital, Arden Street
    Stratford-upon-Avon
    CV37 6NX
    Driving Directions


  • South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust
  • Nuffield Health
  • 
The Grafton Suite - South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust