Climbing injury rates are on the rise. If you climb long enough, chances are you’re going to deal with an injury at some point. However, this doesn’t mean we should just be sitting back waiting for injuries to happen. Most climbing injuries are the result of overuse. This means that with the proper knowledge and a disciplined approach to managing climbing/training volume most climbing injuries are also preventable.

To help arm you with more injury prevention knowledge, here’s an article from The Climbing Doctor Blog by Doctor of Physical Therapy Karen Hsu that examines SLAP tear shoulder injuries in climbers.

“In recent years, rock climbing as a sport has experienced a large increase in popularity. As more people have started climbing, so have injury rates grown. Today, the nature of these injuries are mostly due to overuse and mostly affect the upper limbs. With increased safety awareness and the advent of technologies that keep us safer, overuse injuries now account for 65% of climbing injuries versus acute trauma due to a fall. 90% of these injuries affect the upper limb—namely the hand/wrist, followed by the elbow, and then the shoulder 10, 2. Shoulder injuries make up about 17% of all rock climbing injuries, and chronic pain has been reported in 33% of elite climbers 4.”

“There are a myriad of upper extremity injuries that we can discuss, but we are going to focus on one shoulder injury here—the SLAP tear. A SLAP tear is an injury in which the top of the cartilaginous ring surrounding your shoulder joint is torn (see below for further details). SLAP tears have not been discussed a whole lot, even though it’s often associated with commonly occurring climbing injuries to the shoulder.” – Karen Hsu

Shoulder Injuries – The SLAP Tear

This is a really in-depth article that doesn’t just give you a couple exercises to add to your injury prevention routine. Instead, Dr. Hsu talks you through everything from the shoulder anatomy involved in exactly what SLAP tear injuries are to prevention strategies that will help climbers manage the stresses of our sport. Specifically, she covers:

  • Why the shoulder joint is at risk
  • What causes a SLAP tear
  • Slap tear symptoms
  • Prevention strategies

Click through below to read the full article. I can’t stress enough how valuable this kind of in-depth quality information is. Our goal should always be to prevent injuries before they happen. Having the appropriate knowledge is the first step.

Full Article: The Climbing Doctor – Shoulder Injuries


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