What is a SLAP tear?

Do You Have a SLAP Tear?

When you have a torn piece of cartilage on the inner area of your shoulder joint, it is referred to as a SLAP tear. The ring of cartilage around your shoulder socket is known as the shoulder labrum. It stabilizes your upper arm bone. A SLAP tear happens when you damage the top of your labrum. SLAP is an acronym. It stands for Superior Labrum tear from your Anterior or front to your Posterior or back where your bicep tendon is attached.



There are different types of SLAP tear in Dallas TX.

Type I – Fraying of the top rim of the labrum. It is often the result of a person getting older.

Type II – This is when the labrum and biceps detach from the glenoid.

Type III – This is a bucket-handle tear. The torn labrum may droop the shoulder joint. The biceps and tends are still intact.

Type IV – This is a bucket-handle tear from the top of the labrum and extends into the biceps tendon at different degrees.



There are various symptoms associated with a SLAP tear.
Discomfort when lifting any item. It is especially uncomfortable when lifting an item overhead.
Pain is experienced when moving the shoulder or keeping it in certain positions. Shoulder activities such as hitting a tennis ball or throwing a ball can cause pain. Pain is also experienced with stretching the arm behind the head and more.
Individuals experience a decreased range of shoulder motion. Reaching movements are difficult.
A person’s sports performance declines. They could experience a decrease in their shoulder power and have a “dead arm” sensation.


Nonsurgical Treatment

Depending on the type of SLAP tear, nonsurgical treatment is usually recommended when a person has one for the first time. Nonsurgical treatments may also be the best option in other situations.

Physical Therapy Exercises – A physician or physical therapist recommends exercises designed to strengthen your shoulder muscles as well as improve shoulder motion. This can be achieved with stretching and more.

Termination of Throwing Activities – It is common for SLAP tears to happen to athletes participating in throwing activities. One of the first recommendations is to eliminate doing these activities.

Anti-inflammatory medication – These are medications such as ibuprofen. They help decrease pain and swelling.


Surgical Treatment

The surgical technique used will be determined by the severity of the SLAP tear.

Arthroscopic Surgery – One of the most common surgical techniques to treat a SLAP tear is arthroscopic surgery. During this procedure, sutures will be used to reattach the torn labrum to the shoulder socket bone.

Debridement – During this procedure, a surgeon will shave away the portion of the labrum that is torn. This leaves a smooth edge. This is only effective for minor tears where the bicep tendons are not involved.

Biceps Tenodesis – During this procedure, the biceps tendon is removed from where it is attached to the labrum and reinserted to another area. The reduces the pull on the slap region.

A SLAP tear in Dallas TX is a condition that can be successfully treated. Plano Orthopedic & Sports Medicine knows how to treat all types of SLAP tears. They have 11 board-certified orthopedic surgeons as well as rehabilitation and physical medicine physicians. If you believe you have a SLAP tear, it is important to contact them immediately.

Call POSMC today!

If you are experiencing shoulder pain in the Dallas, TX area call POSMC today!

To schedule an appointment with one our specialists, contact our scheduling department at 972-250-5700 or request an appointment online.

POSMC is a full-service medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. The practice is led by a group of 12 board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. Contact us today!