T Nation

Partial Labrum Tear advice


#1

Hey everyone. This is my first post to this forum, but i've been a long time reader and follower of the website. I'm posting this to see if anyone is in the same situation and could offer some advice. To start, i'm 19 years old, 5'8", and around 210. I'm a rugby player, front row and mostly hooker, and tore my labrum on a tackle. That was roughly a month ago. The tear is only partial, and in the back of my shoulder. Now, i have a full range of motion in my arm and not much regular pain. However, i've never been injured like this before. I've followed the icing and stretching pretty well, but thats all i've been told i can do.

During the first two weeks, before it was a confirmed tear, i was still in the gym and noticed an instability while benching. This is almost completely gone, however i've seen that my strength is not what it was before on presses. Also, oddly enough, I was able to set a deadlift PR post injury. I've been told that deads should hurt the shoulder but i havn't experienced fhag. The doctor has told me to avoid all working out, running, rugby, tackling, everything. the only things i've actually avoided are and excercises that actually brought on pain: shoulder presses, heavy shoulder isolations, and the such.

I know, alot of writing but I'd like to try to paint the whole picture before i ask for specific advice.
My main question is, since the doctor wasn't much help, is the increase in stability and somewhat strength a sign that i'm doing okay recovery wise? And, would it be smart to try and start getting back to my normal, pre injury, workouts? Also, anyone who has been through this, did you ever get back to normal?

if you need any more information, please ask.


#2

Sounds like a Bankart lesion?

You can definitely train to pre-injury levels of strength, you need to focus on developing dynamic stability of your shoulder, and for scrumming and rucking you need static stability too. Its a lot for me to type without actually assessing your shoulder but I would google shoulder stability exercises and play with what comes up. Take it slow, but you can for sure get back.
Your instinct to avoid movements which hurt is very good, continue to do that. You should never have popping, clicking, or pain during your lifts.

All this being said, all it takes is having your arm wrenched back to reaggravate the tear or tear it further. If you are recreational, continue to strengthen and improve stability and strength and if the injury progresses only then consider surgery. If you are high level or on that path you can continue to strengthen over the season, but I would say get the repair done in the offseason. On the off chance someone goes to run through you on a tackle or a scrum collapses or someone is rucking particularly dirty it can tear further and require surgery. As a non-throwing athlete the surgery outcomes are very good and you will be pain-free and on the road back to 100% Of course if youre high level you have team docs to discuss this with!

tl;dr: very possible to strengthen and return to 99.999%


#3

Where is the tear?

I functioned very well with both labrums torn and one rotator cuff torn, but was never 100%. If the tear involves any part of the labrum that connects to the biceps tendon you are going to want to be very careful. Otherwise your increased strength and stability the last couple weeks is a good sign. I wouldn't be in hurry to jump right in to your pre-injury workouts, but there is no reason to think you can't slowly ramp back up to that level.


#4

Tear doesn't sounds too bad. I tore mine and was starting right tackle and D end in football 4 weeks later. 2 months after that the labrum in my right shoulder tore. Before these had happened I benched 275 at 16 my jr year of Highschool. After both injuries and 8 weeks I was able to hit 185for 5 reps. 5 months later I hit 315 for a max. All natural no steroids or anything else. Just keep doing your theraband and rehab exercise. After 3 months I was 100% including ROM and strength and couldn't tell any difference in stability or shoulder functioning between before it happened and afterwards.

I was able to continue doing all exercises including heavy bench pressing and shoulder. Upright rows or dips never hurt or bothered me but it was just too much too risk doing them. P

Partial labrum tears are not that bad. They hurt at first and pretty badly (more than my torn ACL broken thumb at same time) but the shoulder is normal within 12 weeks. If not you have something other than a partial labrum tear, or just don't donyour rehab and train intelligently.

My experience includes a grade 2 SLAP tear in BOTH MY RIGHT AND LEFT shoulders and still being a starter on the football team for 2 years after the injuries.

Don't try throwing a football or baseball or anything for that matter though. To much of a ballistic/fast movement and lots of rotation in the shoulder. BTW I'm 19 also


#5

I've got a partial tear in my right shoulder, no idea how or when I did it, but I do know I can log press and flat bench press good enough. Can also manage dumbell presses too, not much difference in stability. It does catch and click at certain angles or through certain movements. I'd like to get it fixed but surgery is big bucks. I really want to try playing some rugby in the spring next year, I'm 30, so I need to get it in sooner than later, my shoulder be damned. I won't be scrumming but rucks could be an issue. I'm willing to risk it for a little time in the game.

Spend some money on a manual therapist, preferably a sports chiropractor with Active Release Therapy.


#6

Thanks for all of the advice everyone. I met with the doctor, turns out it's a posterior tear. He told me the same as you guys did, continue with rehab and that surgery wouldn't do much to relieve the catching or clicking that occasionally happens.

I've started lifting shoulders again, along with full back and chest workouts. As of right now, the only exercise I positively cannot do is a shoulder press. I've slowly been able to add dips back into my workouts, along with pull ups, low bar squats, and even shoulder isolations. So for now, I'm just going to continue with rehab and slowly building strength back. Thanks again.