Shoulder Joint Tear (Glenoid Labrum Tear): Symptoms & Prevention

The shoulder joint is composed of three different types of bones: the shoulder blade, upper arm bone and collarbone. This type of joint is a ball and socket joint, allowing for extreme flexibility and wide range of motion. The upper arm bone acts like a ball and is securely inside the shoulder blade socket. For stabilization purposes, the upper arm bone is slightly larger than the socket, ensuring that the fit is tight. To further enhance the stability, there is a layer of soft tissue called the labrum. Injuries to the labrum is the cause of a shoulder joint tear. In this article, we will look at some of the symptoms and preventive measures.

Symptoms of Glenoid Labrum tears are difficult to be diagnosed. The pain is unable to be localized to the exact location and pain is severely increased when actions involving the injured shoulder is attempted. Such actions can include stretching the arm or raising a hand. As time passes, the shoulder will be weaker and instability will start to set in.

Shoulder joint tears are often caused by a sudden trauma to the shoulder blade. These can include falling on an outstretched arm or a direct blow to the shoulder. In order to prevent this, protective measures should be taken:

Warm-ups and stretching

Have you ever taken a rubber band and pulled it suddenly? The rubber band will end up breaking immediately. This is the same for our muscles and it is the reason why warm ups and stretching are extremely important. Warming up will loosen the muscles and enable the tendons and ligaments to stretch. This will allow them to function properly and hold the shoulder joint together.

Protective gears

Shoulder joint tears are also much more common in players engaging in high impact sports such as rugby and baseball. Players often wear protective paddings designed for the shoulder. These cushioning pads are able to cushion and absorb shocks to a certain extent. Some are even able to prevent fractures and dislocations.

Build strong muscles

Building up strength in the shoulders will increase the ability of tendons, ligaments and muscles to withstand the impact experienced by the shoulder. Strong muscles will hold the shoulder together and prevent any muscular tears during an impact.

Shoulder joint tears are extremely painful and affects our daily lifestyle. Players who participate in high impact or repetitive sports shoulder consider investing in good protective gears and ensure that proper warm ups are performed prior to the start of their activity.

SLAP Tears: Cause & Symptoms

A slap tear is an injury to the shoulder. SLAP stands for “superior labrum, anterior to posterior”.  This means that the top portion of the labrum is injured from the front to the back. The labrum is a ring of tissue located around the shoulder socket and it is there to stabilize the shoulder due to the extensive amount of movement associated with it. So what exactly causes a SLAP tear and what are the symptoms? This article will help to answer some of these questions.

Our shoulder is made of a ball and socket joint consisting of three different bones. The bones are the upper arm bone, the shoulder blade and the collarbone. The head of the upper arm bone is designed to fit nicely into the socket in the shoulder blade. Each person’s ball and socket joint is unique to him only. The labrum is a thick and strong fibrous tissue that helps to deepen the socket and promote stability to the shoulder joint. It also helps to attach the ligaments and tendons in the area.

A SLAP tear will occur from the area just in front or behind the biceps tendon. SLAP injuries were first observed in baseball players due to the nature of the game. SLAP tears are often due to repeated usage of the shoulder joint. It can also be due to sudden trauma to the shoulder such as a traction force or a pull on the arm. An attempt to break a fall using the shoulder can also be responsible.

The most accurate symptom of a SLAP tear is pain. However, almost everything can cause pain! Almost every movement associated with the shoulder joint will result in pain for the patient. There will also be a decrease in shoulder strength and a feeling of instability. The range of motion will also be significantly decreased. Baseball players may also observe a decrease in the velocity of their throw after pitching.

A trained medical specialist should only diagnose SLAP tears. There are several tests such as the O’Brien’s test, Apprehension Sign and Jobe Relocation Test that are highly reliable when used together as a whole package. This can be aided by a MRI scan which will help to identify the presence of a SLAP tear and the exact location.

A SLAP tear is a challenging medical injury and the treatment must be done in a timely manner due to the many ptifalls in the diagnosis and management of such injury.

3 Common Procedures Performed By Orthopaedic Surgeons

Orthopaedic surgeries are surgeries that involve the musculoskeletal system including our hands, shoulders, foot and knees. It is one of the most established arm of surgery and one of the most important. At one point or another in our lives, we will definitely require orthopaedic surgery to deal with issues such as sports injuries, musculoskeletal injuries or degenerative diseases. What are some common procedures performed by orthopaedic surgeons?

Total joint replacement

Due to ageing or diseases, a healthy joint can be damaged and rendered almost useless. In order to regain the full range of motion of a good quality lifestyle, total joint replacement will need to be performed on patients using man-made materials called biomaterials. These biomaterials are biocompatible and will mimic the actions of the actual joint. However, they cannot fully replicate the functions of the original one to a full extent. Wear and tear over a period of time can cause the cartilage to wear off, causing stiffness and pain due to the lack of synovium which helps to reduce friction.

Rotator cuff repair

Rotator cuff repair is performed to repair injured or torn tendons in the shoulder. There is a group of muscles in the shoulder joint forming a cuff, resulting in the name rotator cuff. Our shoulder offers superb flexibility and range of motion but this causes the shoulder joint to be extremely unstable. A slight impact can cause the shoulder “ball” to pop out of the “socket”, resulting in a dislocation. The presence of the tendons will hold the shoulder muscles to the shoulder, preventing any accidental popping out action. Due to injuries or overuse, the tendons can become weak and will not hold as well. Surgery may be performed either as a traditional open surgery or a more modern arthroscopy depending on the extent of the tear. The surgery will fix back the tendon to the shoulder and it will be held together by self-vanishing sutures.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament reconstruction

There are 4 major ligaments in our knee and one of the most important one is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The ACL is responsible for the overall stability and even surface stress distribution across the knee. It limits the rotational capability of the knee as well as prevents excessive forward motion of the tibia to the femur. The ACL is frequently torn during sporting activities involving high impact and sudden jerks. For example during rugby, the long metal studs from the boots can be still stuck in the soft grass field and an attempt to make a directional change results in the twisting of the knee, instantly tearing the ACL. ACL reconstruction is performed either by open surgery or arthroscopic.  The surgeon will remove a tendon from the hamstring and use it as a replacement for the ACL.

Above are 3 of the most common orthopaedic surgeries performed by orthopaedic surgeons worldwide. No matter what surgery you are about to undergo, we wish you a speedy recovery.

4 Habits to Help Reduce Risk of Orthopaedic Conditions

In sunny Singapore, we tend to engage in sporting activities throughout the year. As the amount of sports activities increases, the risk of orthopaedic injuries will increase likewise. Studies have concluded that 80% of orthopaedic conditions involved the upper extremities such as the arm, shoulders and elbows whereas 20% of them involved the lower extremities such as the knee and ankle. Injuries will prevent us from continuing to be involved in our favourite activity for a period of time and this can be frustrating. What are some good habits to help you reduce the risk of orthopaedic injuries? What are some precautions you should take?

Warming up

Our body is not in the most ideal state for action most of the time. If you do a sudden sprint, you can expect to pull your hamstring and cause pain and discomfort. Therefore, proper warming up is crucial to reduce the risk of injuries. You need to prepare your body for an intense activity but doing an action that is less intensive for a few minutes to allow your body to adapt. Warming up provides heat to the body which will help to loosen up the tissues in your body such as the ligaments and tendons.

Wearing protective gears

Contact sports often require the usage of protective gears to protect you. For example, soccer requires the compulsory usage of shin guards. Although shin guards can hinder running movements and cause discomfort to players, they are useful in preventing injuries to the shin. Also, rugby players wear uniform with padding at the shoulder region to prevent injuries when they are tackled down. While players are better off without these protective gears, they know that they cannot do without them.

Knowing when to stop

Knowing when to stop is the difficult thing for most athletes out there. There is only a thin line between stupidity and bravery. Some players think that they can finish the game despite being injured via the usage of pain relieving sprays. However, the exact extent of injury is unknown and it could be a serious one which will cause more serious complications if further aggravated.

Cooling down

Cooling down sessions help to decrease the heart rate in a controlled manner and relax the muscles. Exercising causes the body’s temperature to be increased and a proper cool down session will revert back to the normal body temperature down and prevent the building up of lactic acid which will cause muscle soreness.

Knowing when to stop is probably the most difficult yet important decision you should make. Observe the 4 habits mentioned above and you will definitely have your risk of injuries significantly decreased.

Stiff Neck – An Underlying Spine Disorder?

Stiff neck causes pain and discomfort when attempting to move your neck. It is often due to injury to the soft tissues and ligaments at the neck region. It is usually accompanied by pain and soreness in the neck, shoulder and arm. Symptoms can last for quite a fair bit of time and it can be relieved using medication or a warm compress. For cases whereby the symptoms go away in a couple of days, there isn’t much of an underlying issue. Stiff neck can occur when you wake up after having slept in an awkward position for a long time. Sometimes, stiff neck can be an indication of an underlying spinal disorder.

We must first know the basic anatomy of our neck. Our neck is divided into 2 regions namely the anterior and posterior. There is a part of our spine that moves through our neck and that is the cervical spine which is effectively made up of 7 vertebrae. Any slight problems in our spine can ultimately lead to neck pain since they are interlinked. There are 2 common spinal disorders which are Cervical Herniated Disc and Neck Arthritis.

Cervical herniated disc is one of the leading causes for neck pain and indicates an injury to the cervical spine. Pain in the neck is caused by the disc pinching onto the cervical nerve, causing pain to flow down the nerve pathway down to the neck. Some patients may also experience numbness at the neck region.

Another common cause is due to cervical osteoarthritis which is a degenerative joint disease or otherwise known as neck arthritis. Cervical osteoarthritis are characterised by the presence of bone spurs which may impinge onto a nerve. When impingement happens, the pain will radiate down the nerve onto the neck region, creating in neck pain similar to the cervical herniated disc.

It can also be due to cervical spondylosis which is another degenerative disease that is increased by previous injuries. Cervical spondylosis can result in neck pain and stiffness and is due to the wear and tear of the cartilage and bones of the cervical vertebrae.

There are many causes for stiff neck and it could indicate an underlying spinal disorder due to the mechanism for both neck arthritis and cervical herniated disc. The best way would be to seek a doctor immediately if you frequently encounter a stiff neck.