T Nation

Two Torn Labrums & a Torn Rotator Cuff

Long story short I’ve been battling shoulder issues for over half my life. I first injured my left rotator cuff when I was 14. It took over a year for the doctor then to realize I had anything more than a strain and I had the “smooth and move” done when I was 15, but probably should have had an RTC repair at that time as I reinjured it just 8 months later.

Fast forward through 15 more years of shoulder pain, a handful of doctor’s visits and even a couple of MRI’s, and I decided this year to see a reputable surgeon. He pretty much had me diagnosed without the MRI’s, but of course ordered one for each shoulder anyways. Diagnosis: Right SLAP tear, right posterior labrum tear, left SLAP tear, and left rotator cuff tear.

I had surgery on the right one at the end of January. The posterior tear was from 7 to 9, but it turned out I didn’t have a SLAP tear after all. The top of my labrum is kind of wrinkled, which looked like a tear on the MRI, but he said it was otherwise in fine shape. I did have some slight RTC fraying so he did a debridement as well. As of today I have full range of motion except for internal rotation, although I still have some pain at the end of all motions. Doc’s happy with my progress but said he doesn’t want me lifting weights until I’m five or six months out. He wasn’t too happy when I told him I’ve been doing pushups. Anyways, weightlifting right now is probably a non-issue as I think I’m going to get the left one done later this month.

We are hoping that my labrum turns out to be in good shape and that I just have the same wrinkling on the top that resembles a SLAP tear. I think there’s a good chance this is the case as my pain symptoms don’t really match a labrum tear on that side. Unfortunately, there is little doubt that my infraspinatus tendon is significantly torn as I have quite a bit of atrophy in that muscle. Doc estimates it’s about 85% torn. The supraspinatus tendon also likely has a decent tear in it.

My question for you all is what is a reasonable recovery for the remainder of my right posterior labrum tear rehab, and what kind of recovery am I looking at for the RTC repair? I tried lifting with one arm for a while (my left shoulder is still functional), but there’s only so much you can do and I wasn’t enjoying it. I’m itching to get back into it soon. Obviously it’s going to take some time, but he’s telling me to plan on a year for a full recovery. I want to be back in the gym in the fall.

Also, how long do you expect to be immobilized for the RTC repair? I was only in the sling full time for the first two weeks for the labrum repair, and after the third week only using it at night. Doc initially said up to 6 weeks for the left one, and my PT had been telling me 4-6 completely immobilized, but when I saw the doctor last week he said depending on the damage he might let me start using it a bit earlier to regain strength and prevent stiffness.

Post- Surgery Update: Maybe I’ll get a response this time.

The supraspinatus tendon was literally holding on by a couple strands. The surgeon had to detach it completely to repair it. Also, the SLAP tear certainly did exist and was longer than anticipated. Sounds like I have a long road ahead of me. I’ll have more details when I see the doctor again next week.

Recovery can be anywhere from 4-8+ months dude. All depends on the work you put in and the previous damage. As for immobilization your surgeon has control of that, no use asking an internet weightlifting forum.

Thats rough, gonna be while until youre back. Just keep working.

[quote]dzmendon wrote:
Recovery can be anywhere from 4-8+ months dude. All depends on the work you put in and the previous damage. As for immobilization your surgeon has control of that, no use asking an internet weightlifting forum.[/quote]

Just looking to compare to others’ experiences.

I have shoulder pain too. They always crack and my ROM is not the best but not horrible. I was thinking of seeing the ortho and seeing if they can go in and clear it out with arthroscopic surgery. But I did not realize the recovery was so long. I mean to put it into perspective I was able to rep 120 lb db on incline with little pain. But I do not like being hesitant and scared to go hard out of fear to hurt my shoulder more which is what I have now.

Also do you know if you have this procedure done will you be able to go back to heavy lifting?

When did you realize your shoulders were jacked up? Also how old are you?

[quote]A-rod wrote:
Also do you know if you have this procedure done will you be able to go back to heavy lifting?

When did you realize your shoulders were jacked up? Also how old are you?[/quote]

I followed up with him yesterday. I’ll be able to start some lifting on the right one this month. It will be 5 or 6 months before I can lift with the left, but he said I do not need to be completely immobilized. I’m allowed to take the sling off when I’m sitting and as soon as I’m comfortable won’t need to wear it except for sleeping and if I happen to be in a crowd as long as I don’t raise my arm at all or externally rotate. If it’s anything like the last time I’ll start weaning myself off of it next week.

There’s no reason to think I can’t go back to heavy lifting, but obviously that’s going to be far longer than 4-6 months away. I did buy a safety squat bar and hope to start using that in a couple weeks.

I was only 14 when I initially tore my left rotator cuff. It was the first day in pads my freshman year of football. I played through the season as nobody believed it was anything more than a strain. I tried to play again my Sophomore year, I think I made it to the second or third day in pads before I woke up one morning and couldn’t move my arm. The doctor finally ordered an MRI then and I had the surgery (debridement only) a little later just before I turned 16. It really only felt good for a few months before I hurt it again. I can’t pinpoint a single incident that hurt the right one, but it started around 17. I’m 30 now.