Diagnosis and management of superior labrum anterior posterior lesions in overhead athletes

Br J Sports Med. 2010 Apr;44(5):311-8. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2009.070458.


Shoulder pain is a common complaint in overhead athletes, and superior labrum anterior posterior (SLAP) lesions are a common cause of this pain. The pathological cascade which results in the SLAP lesion consists of a combination of posterior inferior capsular tightness and scapular dyskinesis, resulting in a 'peel back' phenomenon at the biceps anchor and leading to the SLAP tear. Physical exam tests vary in their sensitivity and specificity in detecting SLAP lesions, so MRI is helpful in demonstrating the anatomical alteration. Treatment can be conservative, with posterior inferior capsular stretching and scapular open and closed chain exercises. Many SLAP lesions in overhead athletes require surgical treatment that involves repair of the labrum back to the glenoid. Treatment of concomitant injuries such as rotator cuff tears and Bankart lesions in conjunction with the SLAP repair may be necessary.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroscopy / methods
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Medical History Taking
  • Physical Examination / methods
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Rotator Cuff / surgery
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries*
  • Shoulder Injuries*
  • Shoulder Pain / etiology