Understanding and Managing SLAP Lesions

The shoulder, a ball-and-socket joint known anatomically as the gleno-humeral joint, involves two key bony structures: the glenoid cavity, a cup-shaped extension from the shoulder blade, and the head of the humerus, fitting into the socket. The crucial role of the labrum, a cartilaginous rim on the glenoid, becomes apparent in SLAP (Superior Labrum Anterior-Posterior) lesions, where the upper biceps tendon is intricately linked to the humerus head.

 Risk Causes and Factors

Forceful bending and twisting of the arm at the shoulder can act as a lever, tearing the biceps tendon and labrum cartilage from the glenoid bone in an anterior-posterior direction, giving rise to SLAP injuries. Initial trauma, often associated with dislocation or athletic activities such as weightlifting, throwing, or tackling, can result in labral tears, leading to persistent and worsening pain if not properly healed.

Symptoms

Recognizable symptoms include shoulder pain, clicking, and discomfort during overhead activities, with eccentric biceps loading causing distinctive pain. Distinguishing SLAP tears from AC Joint issues is crucial, as the latter typically manifests during specific movements like the end of a shoulder or bench press.

Risk factors

Risk factors for SLAP lesions involve participation in overhead and contact sports, increasing the likelihood of labral tears. Classification of SLAP tears aids in determining the appropriate treatment, ranging from pain management with medications to surgical intervention. Keyhole surgery (arthroscopy) is a common method for repairing SLAP lesions, addressing associated labrum and ligament issues as needed.

Prevention and treatment

Prevention strategies emphasize the importance of strong shoulder muscles as a defense against injuries. Targeted exercises to strengthen these muscles, adequate warm-up before activities, and avoiding high-contact sports contribute to injury prevention, promoting shoulder health and well-being.

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