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What is a SLAP Tear?
SLAP stands for Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior. In simple terms, the labrum refers to the border of the cavity of the scapula called the glenoid in which sits the head of the humerus bone. It forms the shoulder joint along with other structures such as the muscles, blood vessels and nerves. The word superior refers to the topmost point of the labrum. Anterior means front and posterior means back. The topmost point of the labrum is where the tendon of the biceps is attached. Injury to this point and the front and back of it constitutes SLAP.
What causes a SLAP Tear?
There are a number of reasons why SLAP tears occur. This can include the normal aging process, direct trauma due to a road traffic accident, dislocation of the shoulder or even a fall onto an outstretched arm. Certain sporting activities that overstress the shoulder joint can also cause this injury.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Symptoms of a SLAP tear may vary depending on the severity of the injury. Often, symptoms include pain during movement of the arm, particularly throwing movements. You may also feel a sensation like something is catching in the shoulder.
How is a SLAP Tear treated?
Conservative treatment options like rest, medication to reduce inflammation, cortisone injections, and physical therapy often may prove beneficial. If these treatments produce no benefits or if the condition is very severe, your doctor may recommend surgery.