What is CrossFit?

CrossFit was developed in 2000 by Greg Glassman as a form of fitness training that focuses on performing functional movements at high intensity. These movements include gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more. As with any sport, CrossFit shoulder injuries can occur in young CrossFit athletes. Dr. Mark Getelman is available to treat CrossFit athletes in Van Nuys, Thousand Oaks and Greater Los Angeles communities who have sustain a SLAP lesion.

CrossFit Injuries

As one of the most mobile joints in the body, the shoulder anatomy is designed as a largely non-weight bearing joint. CrossFit movements commonly involve various exercises that utilize the shoulder. These include:

  • Thrusters
  • Overhead Squats
  • Snatches
  • Push Presses
  • Push Jerks
  • Handstand walks and pushups

When performing these overhead and gymnastic movements, increased force is placed on the shoulder joint. This additional stress on the joint, particularly at points of fatigue when proper technique can change or break down, a shoulder injury can occur sidelining a CrossFit athlete.

SLAP Lesion Anatomy

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. The shoulder socket is called the glenoid. Surrounding the outside edge of the glenoid is a rim of strong, fibrous tissue called the labrum. The labrum helps deepen the socket and stabilize the shoulder joint. The term SLAP stands for Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior. In a SLAP tear, the top (superior) of the labrum is injured extending from the ,front (anterior) and back (posterior)

SLAP Tears in CrossFit Athletes

CrossFit Injuries involving the labrum can be caused by repetitive overhead movements, or acute trauma. Forceful pulling on the arm, like trying to catch a heavy object, or rapid forceful movements of the arm when it is above the level of the shoulder are common causes of a SLAP lesion. CrossFit athletes that perform high repetitions or apply heavy loads with overhead movements such as a snatch, or push jerk are susceptible to a SLAP lesion. In some cases, SLAP tears occur over time with repetitive stress and as a result develop tearing or fraying of the superior labrum. In younger CrossFit athletes, acute SLAP tears are more likely to occur.

SLAP Lesion Symptoms

When SLAP tears occur, CrossFit athletes will typically experience pain when reaching overhead, a decrease in shoulder strength and range of motion. Some athletes describe a sensation of locking, popping or catching in the shoulder joint.

Shoulder Injury Treatment Options

When an athlete experiences pain following a CrossFit injury that may be due to a SLAP lesion, Dr. Getelman encourages him or her to discontinue the painful exercise until a thorough physical exam has been performed by a trained physician and a treatment plan is prescribed.

In many cases, non-surgical treatment such as rest, activity modification, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy can help relieve pain and improve overall shoulder function. If non-operative treatment techniques do not alleviate symptoms, arthroscopic surgical repair may be recommended for these CrossFit injuries.

Have you experienced a SLAP tear during CrossFit? Do you need advice on how to recover? Do you want more information on preventing Crossfit knee injuries? Leave a comment below!

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