T Nation

Torn Supraspinatus


So, according to my MRI, I have torn my supraspinatus completely in my right shoulder. I cannot go in for surgery for another 4 months. Obviously I still want to train. I was wondering if you all could give me some insight of what I could still do without putting too much stress on the other tendons/ligaments/muscles of my shoulder that are still functioning and healthy. This injury happened two weeks ago, and as of today I have a little pain with all ranges of motion but can move my arm all around except for behind my lower back (hence the action of the supraspinatus?). I really want to start squatting again, but is there risk of further injury to other tendons, muscles etc. from the pressure of 400+ pounds resting on my back/shoulders? And is this movement too much of a full body movement to risk? Is there any upper body work that I can do at all? This is going to kill me mentally, but I don't want to put any undue stress on the surrounding/supporting tissue. I would appreciate feedback especially if you have experience with this injury and training until surgery, and/or are a medical professional. Thanks.


So I couldn't find an introductory area, and I see that my post has had 45 views with no response. This may be because I am a new member and I didn't put any background info in my post. Here are my stats:

5'10", 225lbs, approximately 14%bf, 34 y/o. I've been lifting for about 20 years, and I consider myself intermediate level weightlifter with experience with supplementation of all types. I am knowledgeable about bodybuilding/weightlifting and nutrition, but unfortunately didn't study much on tendons and ligaments and the upkeep/recovery of these areas. I recently started Wendler's 5/3/1 in an attempt to regain my strength, improve mobility and conditioning and I would like to compete in powerlifting competitions. My lifts before my injury were, 405lb sq, 335lb bench, 445lb dl. I have lifted heavier than that (especially bench) in the past but I took about 3 years off and was basically starting over. I have been doing 5/3/1 for three months.


Okay. I'll bite. While warming up my bench at a powerlifting meet, I tore my supraspinatus off the bone in March 2010. Had surgery in May 2010. Five anchors to reattach it. Between the time that I tore it and my surgery (about six weeks), I squatted and DLed heavy. But heavy is a relative term. I'm 110 lb. and maybe squatted up to 150 and DLed up to 210 raw. I did no benching and very little upper body work, as I recall. After the fact, I was told that DLing heavy was a bit dangerous because the supraspinatus provides counter-tension to the downward pull of the arm and pulling too much weight could have caused the shoulder to dislocate.

I hesitated to answer your questions because I'm not a medical professional and can only speak from personal experience. I'm glad to respond to any inquiries about rehab. What I could do when, etc. Although recovery from shoulder surgery is very unique, my surgeon told me.


Thank you for your response. I like to hear stuff from people who have actually experienced it...responses from a medical professional is just a bonus. I'm not the type of person that takes information from one source. I like to collect from different sources and make my own hypothesis on what is best for me based on facts that I've collected. So between responses from those of you that have had the injury, trained with it, had the surgery and recovered from it and responses from those educated and experienced in the medical profession I should be able to prevent further injury and have a smooth recovery when I can actually get surgery.

I'll be honest, the 5 anchors intimidates me a little. I'll need to get the read out of my MRI because I think mine has been torn from the humerus or near it. I have a feeling that if it has been torn from the bone that I'll need the anchors as well. I want to do some heavy leg work to keep my hormone levels up and keep muscle mass healthy. I'm hoping that will help me with recovery as well. I started doing adhesive capsulitis work as well so that I don't get a frozen shoulder in the mean time.

It really sucks being injured.....


With the shoulder its simple. If it doesn't hurt doing the exercise, it's ok to do it. I lifted for a year with a torn labrum, just avoiding the exercises that hurt. I'm no professional but I know how mentally taxing it is to lay low. So just program around it. Remember if it doesn't hurt it's most likely ok. If you get any discomfort during the exercise avoid it


That makes sense to me, and just the way I like it....Simple. I know that squatting will indirectly assist in building strength and muscle in the rest of my body even with minimal training of other body parts so I'm hoping that I can do that without pain. Based on the range of motion that I can get now without pain, I should be good to go. I know one thing, I should have some freakishly monstrous looking wheels by the time I have surgery!! Good on me! Thanks for your feedback.


So the more that I study up on full tears, the more worried I am about the time period that I have to wait for surgery. I'm really concerned about atrophy of the muscle/tendon. It seems that the longer you wait the more atrophy and the less chance of the tendon being reattached because lack of "give" of the tendon to stretch for the surgeon to reattach. I will be back from my deployment in 4 months, but I may not be able to get surgery until 6 months from now. Have any of you had full tears that have had to wait 6 months or so for surgery? If so was it successful? Was recovery difficult and what is your percentage of normalcy in your shoulder ROM/strength?