At University of Maryland Orthopaedics, our specialists are experts in surgical and non-surgical treatment of SLAP tears.

What Is a SLAP Tear?

A SLAP (superior labrum, from anterior to posterior) tear is an injury that occurs when part of the labrum is injured (or torn). The labrum is a ring of firm tissue around the shoulder socket that helps keep your arm bone in the shoulder socket.

What Causes a SLAP Tear?

A SLAP tear may be the result of:

  • Falling on your outstretched arm
  • Falling on your shoulder
  • Having participated in throwing sports or being an overhead athlete (such as a volleyball or tennis player)
  • Being a swimmer
  • Lifting heavy objects repeatedly or too suddenly
  • Trying to suddenly catch a heavy falling object with an outstretched hand


Symptoms of a SLAP tear include:

  • Popping, clicking or catching in the shoulder
  • Pain when you move your arm over your head or throw a ball
  • A feeling of weakness or instability in the shoulder
  • Aching pain


Treatment for a SLAP tear can include medicine, icing or applying heat to the affected area, or rehabilitation to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles and to gently stretch the back of the shoulder.

However, for many people, surgery is necessary. With arthroscopic surgery, the doctor can get a close look at the injury and repair the labral tear if needed.

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment with one of our shoulder surgeons or to learn more about our services, centers and treatment options, please call 410-448-6400 or schedule an appointment online.

If You Have a Broken Bone...

Our fracture specialists can assess and treat your injury. And we'll see you within one business day.