SLAP Lesions

Sydney Stevens, Period 3

What is a SLAP Lesion?

SLAP stands for Superior Labrum, Anterior to Posterior. It is a sports injury in the shoulder that causes the biceps tendon and labrum cartilage to be torn from the glenoid bone. The tear is done in a front-to-back direction, giving the tear its name. This injury arises from sports that cause the arm to be forcefully bent inward as twist at the shoulder. For example, weight-lifters, baseball players, and tackle football players are at risk for this injury due to the activities their sport includes. Other common ways this injury occurs is by falling onto an outstretched arm or directly onto the shoulder.

Types of SLAP Lesions

Type 4

A tear in the labrum continues into the biceps tendon.


Someone who suffers a SLAP Lesion may experience:

  • Aching pain in an unspecified location [the patient is unable to pin-point exactly where the pain is occurring]
  • Clicking, popping, or catching in the shoulder
  • Pain when moving the shoulder overhead, such as throwing a baseball or football


Once diagnosed, SLAP Tears are treated through pain medication and rehabilitation if necessary. The therapist will instruct the patient to do certain exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding the shoulder, gently stretch the back of the shoulder, as well as exercises that can be used to avoid the pain. After the patient has learned the necessary stretches and exercises, the rehabilitation may be done in the comfort of their own home. In addition to these, the patient may also apply heat or cold to the tear for about 15 to 20 minutes to ease the pain.


SLAP Tears can be very painful and difficult to play through. However, they can be prevented through simple exercises prior to starting a workout. These include stretching before a workout along with a proper warm up, doing exercises to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint (especially the rotator cuffs), and avoiding slippery surfaces in order to decrease the likelihood of falling. One should also learn the proper way to fall if their sport requires it often (i.e. volleyball and football).

Works Cited

Prevent S.L.A.P. shoulder injury. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from

Shoulder SLAP Tear: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Diagnosis. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from

SLAP Lesions. (2015, February 12). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from

Types of SLAP Tears. (2015, February 12). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from