Slap tear - Any advice?

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Joined: Mon May 30, 2016 12:59 pm

Slap tear - Any advice?

Post by jabiru » Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:14 am

About 5 weeks ago I hurt my shoulder while climbing at CityRock. I felt a pain in my shoulder joint on the drive home from CR and the shoulder made a clicking/popping noise when moving the arm the next day. I immediately made an appointment to see a physiotherapist. Long story short, I was diagnosed with a mild SLAP tear by a orthopedic surgeon last week. I understood from him that it is quite difficult to diagnose a SLAP tear without having an MRI, so he suggested 4 weeks of rest to see whether it improves.

Has anyone on the forum had a SLAP tear? If so, did you opt for conservative treatment (physical therapy) or did you have surgery to have the tear fixed? Also, how long was the recovery period to get back to the level you were climbing at before the injury?

If anyone on the forum is either a physiotherapist or a orthopedic surgeon and has any experience with SLAP tears, I'd greatly appreciate your input as well.

Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:11 pm

Re: Slap tear - Any advice?

Post by stingrei » Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:40 pm

Hey. I had a slap tear in 1994 or so, which went through 8 months of (old school) physio treatment where it would settle, I’d climb to about grade 22-23 and it would flare up again. Eventually an orthroposcy to ‘clean up loose tissue’ turned into a op to sink two 6mm bolts and sew it back on. After 3-4 months in a sling and some (old school) physio it was still poor: ie limited range, flared up badly with any lockoffs or end of range stresses. After 7 yrs where I climbed in little spurts it started to come right-ish when I started yoga. Fast forward another decade and a half; I found an amazing physio in Iain Sykes ( in Vredehoek who treats pro athletes and climbers; over a year or two I know exactly what to do, how to manage it, and what caused it. And how to do antagonistic and shoulder stability trainings. And most importantly how to warm up properly (this is so critical) and how to stretch after properly. Managing shoulders needs a well rounded holistic approach to stability training, good
Movement and technique and form, treatment and foam rolling, stretching and you need to want to do as much research (kindle books, google l, podcasts, a great physio) and take total charge of yourself. I’m back to about 26+ now and feel great. Not 29 like when I hurt it, but a far healthier shoulder and no pain anywhere. Go check out Iain and start from there, but the kindle books, and google, and build it up. Good luck

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Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:51 pm
Real Name: Francie Buhrmann

Re: Slap tear - Any advice?

Post by francie » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:09 pm

Hi Jaiburu
As a physiotherapist and a climber I have often treated climbers who tested positive for SLAP lesions. Some type of SLAP lesions (especially Type 1) can do very well with the correct rehab exercises. Very often the patients who tested positive initially for a labrum tear improved with correctly chosen rehabilitation exercises that will definitely be individual specific. It is important to look carefully at how the shoulder moves and where the bio mechanics are not optimal. If the humerus head depressors are weak or the posterior capsule is tight it can irritate the torn or irritated labrum or biceps tendon more. Many of the climbers I have seen over the years have had very limited internal rotation and tight posterior capsules. Over years this drives the humerus forward and can predispose you to labrum or biceps long head injuries. In non climbers a labrum tear often occurs due to a fall on an outstretched arm. In climbers it usually occurs from and unexpected foot slipping off your foothold and when you manage to hold on, the force of your body weight pulling on your shoulder might cause a labrum tear, especially if poor shoulder biomechanics and positioning of the humerus head in the socket has predisposed you to such an injury. I think it is definitely worth a few sessions of rehab with a good physio and only if that doesn't work you could consider MRI and surgery. Good luck with your shoulder!
Francie Buhrmann

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