T Nation

Total Supraspinatus Tear


Great. I totally ripped my supraspinatus off the bone at the shoulder in an accident wholly unrelated to lifting. This means I get an RC repair as soon as I can get to the right specialists. In the mean time, what can I do to stay active aside from pistols? Pressing of any sort is a no-no, that much I can tell since I can barely get my arm in front of me.

I love deads. Are they out?

Any and all advice is welcomed. If you've had this please let me here how you dealt with this, including surgeries and rehab. Looks like I'll be out of action for up to 6 months on any upper body work. This really suxx. And it hurts too...

Thanks in Advance!

-- jj


I tore my supra and infra off completely back in Sept of 2012. I was misdiagnosed and didn't find out what was wrong until march of this year. I trained after the injury but never got back to 100% (clearly) but I was able to do a lot of activities. Modified of course. I had the re-attachment surgery on April 15th. I am now 14 weeks post op and way ahead of the curve for ROM and strength. I recommend you get it fixed asap.. With a complete rupture and retraction your tendon will atrophy quickly and become infiltrated with fat.. Once this process begins it is more difficult to get it back to the original position and a full recovery is less likely. Just my 2 cents


That's a crazy injury to come back from, good for you. The problem with waiting is that the re-attachment point is not quite factory. Most times at the worst you'll lose some symmetry.



Swolle – thanks for the advice.

And now for the rest of the story… I had surgery Aug. 29, 2013 to re-attach what was diagnosed (with an MRI) as a partial supra tear. There is an object lesson here, because one he get in there I had ripped off 3 of the 4 RC muscles (only teres minor attached) as well as the long head of the biceps (which does function as a shoulder stabilizer too, albeit weakly). 5 hours of surgery later, I was fixed. Rehab sucked because any movement to rehab one muscle ran the real risk of tearing some other newly fixed muscle. Slow going.

At the surgery, since I was pretty damn pushy about getting it fixed asap, the muscles, while torn, were apparently in great shape, to the point that the doctor referred to it as “puzzling”. Given the extend of the tears he expected alot more damage, but apparently everything could be stitched back together ok. So the shoulder surgery was a success. I was able to go back and do (front) squats and dead post shoulder surgery without much issue. This is a Good Thing.

Now I had an ACL repair Feb. 14, 1984 (sucky way to spend Valentine’s Day). I had been managing it with lots of training (squats and deads fix everything). Joints position the body so the muscles can take the loads. Consistent training (and being a fanatic about proper body mechanics) meant that I was managing my knee issues reasonably well. The reason I bring this up is that when the shoulder got damaged, it was nearly 6 months before I could resume any training. Remember that zero load through the upper body means most serious lower body lifts are impossible. I deconditioned. Then I went back and without constant training, suddenly the knee was going completely bad. Mostly the bones were shifting and arthritic changes had drastically accelerated. I did find I needed a new knee and got the replaced last month (Dec. 8, 2015). Just saying that bad injuries can have weird fallout.

The shoulder, however, is doing great.

– jj