T Nation

Minor Labrum Tear


Hey guys, about a week ago, I tweaked my shoulder at football practice, and the trainer and our team doctor said it may just be a small labrum tear. Could anyone give some kind of time frame for a full recovery? I haven't lifted at all since it happened, heck, I didn't even lift for a solid 3 weeks before that because of a strained bicep tendon.

Thing is, I'm wanting to hop back into the gym in the next week or so cause I no longer have any pain in my shoulder with normal range of motion/hitting in football.

Any information on the general topic of shoulder injuries are welcome, as I have recently tweaked both of them. -Thanks


That probably wouldn't be a good idea. Cartilage takes a long time to heal. Up to 12 weeks. Can be even longer in the shoulder since there's poor blood flow. Have you done anything to rehab it (and the biceps tendon)? Stretching, rotator cuff stuff?


Just for future reference, the bicep tendon issue is in my right shoulder, and the labrum is in my left. Anyways, for the bicep issue, I took a 2 or 3 days off before I started to try and do anything for it besides ice. I talked to my teams trainer then started to do a wee bit of work using one of the lighter bands just to test the waters and get some blood into there.

Like those rotator movements that you see people warming up for bench with. I iced twice a day for 2 weeks though I still have kind of a swollen lump type deal goin' on. After a week of no bench, I just tried 135 for 1 (My max was 300 before) and felt an awful popping/pain. So about a month after the bicep tendon, I started actually benching again. Went 245x6 for my last set and felt great.

The same day I benched, I ended up tearing my labrum at practice which was very frustrating. I haven't done anything for this besides ice it a couple times, and just move my arm around to see where any pain is and to kind of stretch it out. The lefty got hurt on the 25th or 26th of August, I believe. So not too long ago. I am seeing a doctor in a couple weeks though. It's my senior year, so it's hard for me to give up my starting spot cause of this.


There's no way to confirm you tore your labrum without an MRI. The labrum is very unlikely to heal itself, so if you really did tear it the only options are to hope it's not bothersome and live with it, try to rehab to a point where it's not bothersome, or have surgery.

Does it still hurt; feel unstable; or click, pop, or catch? Do you have a full range of motion?

You most likely just had a mild strain if everything feels normal already, but a small tear is still possible. If it feels at full strength now then you probably aren't any more likely to reinjure now than you would be if you waited a couple more weeks, so my advice would be to just make sure you are being honest with yourself when you say you feel fine.

I played through way too much pain just to stay on the field in HS, and I'm paying the price now. Unless you have a future in football, play it safe.


I have pretty much all the range of motion, and no pain with the movement. Though if I put my arm back, for example to hold the bar on my back for squats, I have a feeling of strain in the back of my shoulder, like something is about to pop.


Where at in the back? If the top of your shoulder was 12 o'clock and the middle of the joint in the back was 9, where would the pop be?


About where the 'X' is in this photo.


Why did the trainer think it was a labrum tear? The symptoms can be similar, but you seem to be describing a minor rotator cuff injury. The popping feeling would be explained by the supraspinatus tendon rubbing against the acromion, which is called shoulder impingement if you've heard that term. It would probably be best to get it looked at. In this case an x-ray can actually give you a lot of information as it will show the shape of your acromion.

"Hooked" type 3 acromions are more likely to cause impingement and RC issues. The good news here is that the location of the pain indicates any injury was likely in the muscle and not at the tendon insertion point where you would worry about a tear. Impingement can frequently be treated with therapy if it continues to be an issue.


The trainer is giving me a brace for my left shoulder to wear during practice/games to try and prevent further damage. I haven't felt any kind of discomfort or popping in my left shoulder for 2 days now. However, I am going to get it checked out and start PT before the month is over for both shoulders.