Managing Expectations When Recovering from a Labral Repair

I have seen many clients with post-operative shoulder labral repairs. It is a frustrating injury that takes time to recover from. Being the recipient of two labral repair surgeries myself, it is my opinion that the key to recovery with a labral injury is managing expectations.

Figure 1. A and B) Uniaxial loading of biceps tendon leading to SLAP lesion in the neutral position (Bey et al. 1998)

The shoulder labrum is a fibrous, or rigid type of cartilage. This type of cartilage is found only around the attachment of the socket. The two main functions of the labrum are to deepen the socket (thus providing added stability) and to be an attachment for other structural tissues such as the biceps tendon around the joint.

The labrum is typically torn from one of the following.

1. Damage to attaching ligaments of the shoulder resulting from repetitive actions or over-use.
2. A subluxation or dislocation of the shoulder, usually occurring from trauma. Dislocation can occur anteriorly or posteriorly.

Figures A and B show the subluxation uniaxial loading seen when holding a dumbbell. Figure two shows a throwing motion: Notice the detachment of the bicep tendon with the labrum. There are four types of SLAP classifications, which can be a factor in the recovery process.

I wanted to touch on how this injury occurs in order to point out the degree of recovery needed. Recovery depends upon many factors, such as lesion location, severity, and the quality of surgical repair. The Johns Hopkins orthopedic surgery website reports with regards to recovery that

Figure 2) during the late cocking phase of throwing (Rodosky et al. 1994).

“It is believed that it takes at least four to six weeks for the labrum to re-attach itself to the rim of the bone, and probably another four to six weeks to get strong. Once the labrum has healed to the rim of the bone, it should see stress very gradually so that it can gather strength. It is important not to re-injure it while it is healing. How much motion and strengthening of the arm is allowed after surgery also depends upon many factors, and it is up to the surgeon to let you know your limitations and how fast to progress. Because of the variability in the injury and the type of repair done, it is difficult to predict how soon someone can to return to activities and to sports after the repair. The type of sport also is important, since contact sports have a greater chance of injuring the labrum repair. However, a vast majority of patients have full function of the shoulder after labrum repair, and most patients can return to their previous level of sports with no or few restrictions.”

The Johns Hopkins orthopedic surgery website does leave recovery time open for interpretation and dependent on each case. I feel that recovery typically takes longer than expected.

The recovery time can be separated into three stages. The first is acute pain stage (difficulty when sleeping), which usually lasts 4-6 weeks. This time usually involves a formal physical therapy process.

The second stage is continued strengthening and stretching with slight discomfort (minimal to no pain). During this stage the patient/client will report “I still feel like I am going to dislocate and have this funny crackling in my shoulder”. This stage can range from 12-16 weeks (therapy to post rehab transitional stage). Don’t be alarmed. The labrum repair tightened the joint and likely causing minor pressure on the repaired tissues that are unfamiliar. This feeling will recede over time.

The final stage is the transition to your “new normal” lifestyle and exercise. This stage varies and could be 6-12 weeks of feeling “normal again”. Realistically, many patients are looking at 9 months to 1 year of total recovery time before they feel “normal” again.

I hope this information helps you when managing expectations. Frustration is common, and patience is key. The time frame may indeed be longer than you may expect, but it is better to manage your expectations and realize that you will have a “new normal”. Do not rush your rehabilitation, as many people find themselves re-injuring their shoulder.

For more information on SLAP repairs http://hopkinsortho.org/labrum_tear.html

By: Phillip Godfrey MES, PFT

Discussion

  1. RJ says

    After many years of lifting and sports, I hurt my shoulder to the point where It hurts whenever I lift, throw, or do anything that requires my arm/hand above my head for a short time. I went to an orthopedic doctor and got an MRI done after 2 months of PT didn’t work. I have a decent labral tear in the front of my shoulder. The doctor said If i get the surgery I might not be as strong as before and less range of motion can be expected. I am 20 and have dealt with the pain for almost a year now. I am afraid to get the surgery because of the side effects (I enjoy lifting and playing sports) and am not sure if I should continue just dealing with the pain? I was advised that the tear more than likely wouldn’t get worse with either decision.

    • says

      RJ it sounds to me like the labral tear is keeping you from doing what you want to do. Since you have tried the conservative route, the next measure could be a cortisone shot? You would need to consult with an orthopedic surgeon about this.

      In terms of having the surgery, I would guess form your age that you would ultimately have a good outcome. It may take 6-12 months for total rehab time however.

  2. Craig says

    I am so glad to have found your article about managing expectations after surgical repair of a SLAP Tear – this is exactly the type of information that I have been looking for. I was particularly intrigued by the fact that the author, himself underwent 2 such surgeries.

    In my case, I am a 49 year-old Chiropractor who will be undergoing surgery in 1 week to repair a slap tear (Type II C). Given that the activities that caused the injury are the very ones that I will be looking to get back to for my occupation, what would your expectation be for the amount of time that I might realistically be looking at before I am able to perform manipulative procedures involving downward thrusting movements such as those involved with manipulating the thoracic and lumbo-pelvic regions?

    Any input that you might have would be appreciated!

    Craig

    • says

      Craig I really do think that you should be able to do all of the manipulative treatments after a labral repair such as one you described. You may have to modify your body positioning for a few things. I would just try to keep all movements below shoulder level (downward thrusting sounds fine).

      In terms of the time frame, I would give it a good eight months of recovery time. You ought to be able to do a lot of work activity before that (maybe by four months??), but eight months is a realistic time to allow for strengthening etc. .

      • Annoyed says

        Hi there I had a slap repair with bicep tendonese done around 7 weeks ago around 2 weeks into healing I was geting sharp pain to the point u couldn’t walk pain was down the arm to relive the pain I had to take it out off slign now this is were the problem lies I fell down and put pressure on that arm and pain was the worse it felt could I have damaged it again

        • says

          I would see the doctor and get the shoulder checked out. You are close to the time where the anchors will have healed well in to place, so it is very possible that you just strained the shoulder significantly.

          • Annoyed says

            Thank u for the reply I did see the dr today he said it has prob pulled the anchors and wants a mri done ASAP I hope his wrong

      • Craig says

        Thanks so much for your reply. You have given me a personalized and therefore realistic time-table around which to align my expectations for the next several months. Thank you for your help!

  3. pranhav says

    Hi Dan,
    I just underwent a shoulder arthroscopic surgery around 2 weeks back I. E. 3rd of July 2015 and had a bankart repair done.

    I also had floating loose bodies in the shoulder joint which were removed.

    It was a tear from 2 o’clock to 5 o’clock position in the labrum but the symptoms of my chronic injury as told by my surgeon were those of dislocation.
    Though the shoulder never actually got totally dislocated, but it was almost there..coming almost out and then again going back in.

    Now, the little issue that occurred which my surgeon told me after surgery was the fact that my cartilage was also damaged and injured.

    He told me that all the repairing work has been done and the loose bodies have been removed but the cartilage is something which cannot be repaired and does not regenerate naturally either.

    Sir, I’m a state level badminton player and being on the court is my LIFE.

    Infact the only reason why I got the surgery done was because I wanted to be back on the court soon.

    I’m following the post operative exercises diligently at home before the actual physical therapy starts in the near future.

    My main worry is that once I have shown a lot of patience for almost a year, done all the exercises and therapies as prescribed and done strict compliance of everything, please let me know how big an issue can the cartilage be in my case as I’m a very High intensity player playing vigorously for at least 2 hours everyday.

    Lastly, please do let me know the chances of recurrence after such an injury and the effect this surgery would have on my game.

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

    Thank you sir

    Best regards,
    Pranhav.

    • says

      If the labrum is repaired and you have adequate recovery time, I think that you ought to be able to get back to playing at a high level. It may take until the end of the year to get back however.

      The cartilage damage may or may not be an issue in the next several years of your career. I would make sure that you receive excellent rehab for this surgery. I think that you will be able to deal with the cartilage issue for your career, but down the road it may lead to more degenerative changes and arthritis. Make sure that you get good rehab and guidance as you go through this.

  4. bader says

    Hi Dan,

    I’ve read your article, superb by all means, so few of them covering SLAP repair, I have a question if you don’t mind, I’ve done SLAP repair back in march “4 months ago” and I started ROM workouts but I feel tightness around 150 degrees and If I push harder with my other hand I start to feel pain, if I’m laying down my elbow reaches just above my forehead when I stretch back, I kinda hit a wall here and I feel desperate, is there hope? will be able to reach 180? or even 170? I’m using hot packs for 10 min before starting.

    Best regards

    • says

      Bader it sounds to me like this is either some residual scar tissue from the surgery, or perhaps some active muscle tightening around the shoulder. Once in a while the connective tissue around the chest area can restrict overhead motion like that as well.

      It might not be a bad idea to get a 90 minute massage to see if that can loosen things up in the shoulder, chest, and upper back. I would find a massage therapist that specializes in that type of work. I would also try doing some stretches immediately afterwards per the recommendation of your PT. Remember to also clear this with the MD!

  5. Wayne Whitehead says

    Hi Dan,

    I had a slap repair a stability op on the 7th July. I have been fine the until the last 4 days. The doctor who performed the op advised I was looking at 6 weeks in a sling. Also no excercises to the side only out in front. This was because he has tightened the tendon across the front of my shoulder. I had my first visit to physio and he gave excerises contradictory to this. I explained what the Doc advised he checked his notes and said there was no evidence of this and his protocol advises otherwise. I started to follow his exercises and found that my shoulder began to catch. I do know If this is a coincidence or that I have damaged my shoulder. Today I have felt a pain in bicep and tingling in hand. Could you please advise what you think I should do. I’m worried and do not see my doc for another 2 days. i have tried to contact doc but haven’t had much luck. Sorry to ramble on I’m just a little worried that’s all.

    Thanks
    Wayne

    • says

      I would go over the exercises, one by one, with the doc and see which ones he does and does not want you doing. Having pain and catching sensations is not uncommon this soon after the surgery. In the mean time I would avoid any of the exercises that you are worried about. The doctor’s opinion legally trumps the opinion of the PT.

  6. J.D. Flores says

    Hi Dan.

    I am roughly seven months post-op recovering from a SLAP tear. This is actually a re-repair since the first one failed last summer. However, I have run into some issues since last month. I am running out of resources and have no idea what to do. Here is my problem.

    Recently, my shoulder has felt very lax. It feels like the humerus droops out of the socket. Whenever I hold onto dumb bells or anything that has weight, a small visible sulcus appears below the acrominion. Even during my walks, occasionally my shoulder feels unstable inferiorly as it glides during the swinging motion. It just feels loose in general.

    The catch, however, is that during physical activity the shoulder feels fine. As far as I can tell, there is no pain or apprehension whenever I do push ups, military presses, or bench press. Bear in mind I still don’t do extreme amounts of weight, but it seems fine. I was even tested with the O’Briens and a few other labrum tests and most didn’t seem to bother me. The only one that caused pain was during the apprehension test. I didn’t feel unstable at all, but the shoulder mildly hurt when put in external rotation. These tests were done recently.

    Maybe I still have a lot of strengthening in the shoulder area to do. I just don’t know if this is a normal complaint for an individual like myself who is getting close to the eight month mark in a few weeks. Any help would greatly be appreciated. Thank you for reading.

    J.D. Flores

    • says

      I would get another opinion from an orthopedist who specializes in shoulders. I would in the mean time try to avoid anything that causes a sulcus sign.

      It probably wouldn’t hurt to re-visit rotator cuff strengthening once the doc checks it out.

  7. John says

    Hi Dan- I underwent my second labral repair on the left side for shoulder instability in late May. Things had been going great up until a couple of days ago. I have 95% motion back already in all motions except external rotation 90 90 position. Previously there has been little to no clicking or popping in the shoulder at all.

    Just this past weekend, the shoulder became very painful in the underarm area. I took it easy on the shoulder and kept it in the sling when I went out as a precaution. The pain eventually subsided but now the shoulder is clicking and popping constantly. The shoulder feels a little loose again too. There were no instances of note where the shoulder was hit or overexerted in anyway. The most intense action my shoulder has went through was stretching at PT. I am freaking out, I can’t get in to see my doc for another couple of weeks. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    • says

      Definitely see the doc. Take it easy for the next few days and let things calm down. If your range is already almost normal, there is no pressing need to chase that. Let your PT know what is going on as well.

      If there is a little bit of inflammation in the joint it can cause the head of the humerus to move in a slightly ratchety pattern. I wouldn’t freak out quite yet, get the docs opinion.

  8. Jennifer says

    This is all very helpful information!

    I have been through a lot of pain with my right shoulder for a couple years (I am right handed.). I am 44/female and healthy and active, but I would not describe myself as athletic, and I have no current goals to be a quarterback or cross-fit champion :) I work out 2-3 times a week (cardio) and I do a lot of hiking, bit I’m not a weight trainer. I have a desk job, or rather, a laptop job.

    Due to severe pain in shoukder and bicep, and restricted ROM 2 years ago (cause unknown) I had an MRI which showed “maybe” a tiny labral tear, but inconclusive. I most definitely had frozen shoulder at that time and almost zero ROM, so since then I have had 3 cortisone shots in 2 years, and about 10 weeks total of PT in two separate series. As of late, since it’s been about 4 months since last shot, the constant burning pain between top of shoulder down bicep is back. My ROM is currently good, but this pain is like a constant migraine, in my arm! Doc ordered another MRI last week which now clearly shows a decent, but not huge, labral tear., with edema and lots of inflammation. The doc said that he is very confident in his surgical skills and success to repair this surgically, but he quite fairly explained the recovery is long and tough. So, we are going conservative; for one more round of PT and reassessing in 6 weeks. And, we are avoiding any more cortisone shots, unless the shoulder freezes again.

    basically, I am struggling with the decision how to move forward. Unfortunately I am so worn out from the constant pain that keeps resurfacing, that I have low expectations for this 3rd round of PT. I don’t *want* surgery, and I can’t imagine the discomfort and inconvenience of the recovery. but I also don’t want to get 10-15 years down the road when I’m older and perhaps weaker and then find surgery is really mandated. I have seen advice to others that if their lifestyle is not restricted by their tear (as in, if they’re not an athlete, etc), then surgery could or should be avoided as its so challenging to recuperate. I have not seen many comments from people here who simply have and don’t want chronic pain (like me). Again, I am grateful to have good ROM now and maintaining that with home PT exercises, but Is it possible that a third round of PT could really, truly eradicate or drastically reduce the pain? In your experience, have you witnessed many people like me, who don’t have major immobility or a huge tear decide to get surgery and ultimately regret it? Or, conversely, can tears get bigger and worse by avoiding surgery? I just feel like I’m in such a grey area, but with pain in the red area.

    Thank you!

    • says

      Jennifer I would do the PT, but get it from somebody new. Sometimes it helps to get a fresh set of eyes on the problem. Ask around and find out who the best shoulder PT in your area is.

      If you are still having the same pain after that, I would consider the surgery.

  9. Rachel says

    So questions…I dislocated/injured my shoulder May 19th. Torn labrum & bony bankart break as well as fractured humerous and frayed bicep.
    #1 is it normal to make someone wait 1 or 2 months before having surgery? (I had surgery June 30, lucked out with a cancellation or I’d still be waiting)
    #2 after injury ortho #1 sent me home in an immobilizer and told me to wear it for 6 weeks only to be removed during bathing. I wore it for about 2 days it made my shoulder burn to wear it. I did use a sling for a couple of weeks. never mind my point is I had a lot of scar tissue build up. When I finally saw the surgeon he said I should have been moving it and needed to do drastic PT. I’ve since been told and through reading that the older you are the less sling time you should do especially for women. I was/am a very active 52 female. I’d like to know your thoughts on that. I’m just curious as it is water under the bridge now.
    #3 I’m 3 weeks out from surgery and have chosen to only wear the sling the first week, after that I’ve worn it only when the arm was really tired. It feels better I’ve been very careful, I’ve been doing PT on my own, I did see a PT once he spent a whole of 15 min with me. I want to know if it’s okay if I just let my body guide me with pain etc on how much I can work the arm. I am very fearful of the scar tissue coming back. I can feel it tightening up.
    #4 Have you heard of Serrapeptase? (enzyme from silkworms supposed to dissolve scar tissue) do you have any thoughts on that?
    #5 how soon can I start massage A.R.T? and accupuncture?
    Thank you so much for any information you can give me. I’ve feel like I’ve gone through this completely alone, DR’s & PT are so busy their time is stretched too thin.
    Thanks,
    Rachel

    • says

      Waiting a month for the surgery would not necessarily be a bad thing.

      The sling is a necessary evil. It protects the labral anchors. Once they are healed in to place, I think that the sling can be “weened off”. Scar tissue formation is going to happen, you really can’t avoid that. In my opinion it is better to have the anchors healed with stiff scar tissue rather than damaged anchors from too much range of motion too early.

      Don’t let your body guide you, at the very least make sure that you have a written protocol form the doctor that outlines what you can do and when you can do it.

      I have never heard of Serrapeptase. Sorry.

      You could probably start acupuncture now, but run it by the doc. A.R.T. is a form of stretching and is probably also a good idea, but once again ask the doc as to when it would be okay to start.

  10. Doug says

    I was diagnosed with a Slap tear and have been dealing with it for a couple years. I am heavy into lifting but have never been able to do any shoulder lifts at all without pain/popping. Recently injured it further at work and was diagnosed with it again, therapy for 2 months only regained ROM. The decision of surgery is up to me and I am supposed to decide this week. I am a 21yr old male and work construction. Will I ever be able to get back into my weight lifting and continue growing and gaining strength if I have surgery? Or should I learn to deal with the pain and never do shoulder exercises? Also could I tear it more if I don’t get it fixed. And will I risk another surgery for my shoulder if I get it repaired?

    • says

      If you are having tons of pain that is interfering with work I would consider having the work done to the shoulder. The rehab will take at least a good six months, and you would probably be able to get back to weight lifting. I would just avoid the aggressive overhead exercises once everything is healed. You are going to have to be super patient about this if you decide to have surgery.

  11. Benjamin Cotton says

    Good morning!

    I have appreciated this resource since having my SLAP tear repaired 10 months ago. Everything has been going well — albeit a bit slower than advertised — and for the past several months I have experienced excellent ROM with little to no pain. Thought I was in the clear! Then a few days ago, I started to feel pain associated with certain movements — particularly at the furthest limits of my motion, but also with certain more subtle movements. It’s not unbearable, but it’s a problem with sports and exercise. I’ve been playing tennis again for a couple of months, as well as paddleboarding, swimming, push-ups, and pull-ups, but there has been no clear trauma or single incident involving pain.

    Just curious if this is a common bump in the road to recovery, and wondering if physical activity is bad for my shoulder while in this state. Any advice is welcome!

    Thanks again for the resource.
    Ben

    • says

      I would ditch anything that involves overhead motion for two weeks and let the shoulder heal. I would also make sure that the strength around the shoulder blade is ideal. It might not be a bad idea to do a follow up visit with a PT to get an idea if any muscles in particular need work. This sounds to me like a repetitive action irritation.

  12. Jess S. says

    Dan,

    I am so thankful for this article. It’s helped put a lot of things in perspective for me. I was hoping for guidance on the issue I’m currently dealing with.

    I am a very loose-jointed person. After a fall last year, it appears to have thrown my left shoulder more out of whack. Feels loose, achy / painfulespecially at the end of the day, difficult to hold heavier things for very long, running causes pain, can’t road bike, no core work without angering the shoulder, etc. As an active person, it’s been difficult to deal with!

    I have had a few opinions. One doc, post arthrogram with contrast, says I have a labrum tear and recommended surgery with debridement / maybe an anchor. Scheduled me for surgery on 8/11. My second ortho (he had the same images) said maybe or maybe not a tear, would say if I wanted to have surgery, could improve it by general tightening in surgery with 3-4 anchors. With that information, I felt a bit lost, and decided to go for a third opinion, thinking I’d get some average of the two. No such luck. He said no surgery, and head back into PT for six months then re-assess.

    Feeling a bit lost right now on what my best course of action is. While I am hopeful to get past the pain, etc., I’m not sure on the right way to do that. I get worried that I’m having surgery because it’s the next logical thing, whereas maybe I’m just stuck with it as a loose-jointed person. I could absolutely wait longer and see how things play out, but my husband and I are thinking about having kids before too long. So I’m thinking shorter term as opposed to longer.

    I appreciate your help.

    Jess

    • says

      That is a tough one Jess. It does sound to me like your shoulder is unstable. The accident probably exacerbated that. Another issue to consider here, pregnancy will probably make your joints even more loose (hormonal changes).

      I would try to rehab it for a few months and see if that helps. You should know within 8 weeks if it is going to be helpful or not. If you don’t get anywhere with it, having the shoulder surgically stabilized might be a good alternative.

      • Jess says

        Thanks Dan. I worked with a therapist from April until June. A lot of deep tissue work and exercises against gravity / rotator cuff stabilization exercises. We worked under the idea of, “do the exercises day 1, if on day 2 you feel more pain than day 1 hold off, otherwise do them again.” I was usually to day 3-5 before I was doing them again / until it had in-angered, for lack of a better term.

        It seems calmer now sans PT. Will still flare when I sleep on my bad shoulder side (something that is hard to convince myself NOT to do while sleeping unfortunately), while running (burning across top of my shoulder), etc. Based on this, do you think more PT could still help?

        What you said re: pregnancy echoes what my ortho said as well. Could pregnancy negate the positive effects of the tightening from the surgery?

        Thanks again. I really appreciate what you’re doing with this site. It’s such a gray issue and the “we won’t know really until we get in there” can be nerve wracking for those of us with first time surgeries. Good to know there are active resources out there — THANK YOU!!!

  13. Richard says

    Thanks for all of the information. These are frustrating injuries. I tore my labrum (I believe) multiple times, the first time being when I was 19 and overhead weight lifting. It eventually got to where I could do everything again without much trouble, but I hurt it again while throwing an overhand punch when boxing a couple of years later. It got better in a couple months, and then gave out while bench pressing. The final straw was wrestling, I felt it and knew it was messed up and decided at the age of 24 I’d finallyget it looked at.

    After an mri I was told that it was torn, and knowing that I wouldn’t be happy not being able to do the things that I enjoy, I had the surgery on January 29th when I turned 25.

    It’s been six months now and the shoulder feels pretty good most of the time. As long as I stretch, my ROM is pretty good. I get lots of cracks and pops still, but was told not to worry about them when I was in PT. I have recently started trying to strengthen it, and I do seated Rows and I bench press with just the bar. I can only do it a few times, and it hurts, but I assume this is normal.

    It’s been feeling pretty good and more normal lately, so I decided to try shooting my new gun, a 30-30. I was apprehensive, as I wasn’t sure if the recoil could re injure my shoulder. After shooting a round, it wasn’t too bad so I shot about five more. Afterward, it’s feeling a bit different, maybe extra poppy, a bit sore or tender, and slightly burning. I suffer from OCD,and I can’t stop thinking about it, so I wondered what your thoughts are, and if shooting a gun could cause reinjury this far along, if at all. Thanks for your time.

    • says

      Richard unless if you are firing a bazooka I do not think that you could have dislodged anchors given that your surgery was in January. Admittedly I do not know what a 30-30 is, I am assuming that it is a hand gun that is less powerful than a 44?

      Let the shoulder rest for a week and see how the soreness is. It might be sore for a few weeks. You can also run it by the doctor if it doesn’t get better.

      • Richard says

        Thanks, I appreciate the response. Is a lever action rifle, typical for deer hunting. It feels pretty normal today, but I’m glad to hear I cam shoot without messing anything up. Is the repair pretty sturdy? I’ve always wondered how easy/hard it is to reinjure after the surgery. Also, is it still normal to have pops and occasional minor pains when using it at this stage?

        • says

          After 6+ weeks the repair is typically sturdy, but there are always a slew of other variables to consider Richard. If the shoulder is weak you need to be careful with the recoil motion of the rifle. Listen to what your body is telling you, if it gets painful I would stop using the rifle for a bit and talk to your PT or doc about it. Pops and pain btw are very common for up to a year.

  14. stephen says

    I had labral repair surgery on my right shoulder exactly 4 months ago by a reputable surgeon in Brisbane, Australia. At the same time the surgeon performed decompression of the bone, he suggested both of these procedures were necessary in order to ensure the pain I was experiencing would be healed. My labrum had torn and leaked fluid and caused cysts etc. After surgery the surgeon was confident everything went well.
    My concern is that I am now 4 months into recovery and have 95% range back after what was a very stiff shoulder however I am experiencing more pain now in various locations around my right shoulder than prior to surgery, especially when my arm is bent 90 degrees and rotated, but I have some pain also behind my right shoulder blade, around my shoulder and in my bicep now, I’m really worried that I have more issues which have not been addressed. I see my physio every week and he remains optimistic but I’m not seeing any progress in pain reduction ????!!!

    • says

      Stephen in my humble opinion it is way too early for you to be worried like that. Give it another 4-6 months of slow and gradual strengthening under the supervision of a good physio. It sounds like the scapular control and rotator cuff strength are not there yet, which is totally to be expected. The acromion decompression adds a bit of time to the rehab as well.

  15. says

    Hi, I am three weeks post op, having had SLAP repair to my right shoulder. I have had three anchors put in and had my bicep tightened and bone shaved. The first two and a half weeks post op were okay, I had something pain but nothing unexpected. However, the last few days I have experienced excruciating pain and feellike my shoulder is going to pop out every time I take the sling off to do my exercises. I would just like to know if this is a normal part of recovery as I haven’t done anything to damage it, or is it a sign of something being wrong? Thanks.

    • says

      Kieran what you describe is very common for this stage. The sling is a necessary evil that will protect your surgery, but at the same time it often places the shoulder in a position the facilitates pain. I would back off the exercises a bit and talk to the MD and PT about it as well.

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