Dealing with a torn labrum can be challenging, especially for athletes and active individuals. This painful injury causes pain in the shoulder joint, affecting its range of motion. You may also experience a grinding sensation and localized discomfort.
The labrum is a piece of cartilage that lines the shoulder joint and hip joint socket. Certain health conditions and injuries can damage this tissue, leading to reduced mobility and body aches. The risk of injury to the labrum is highest for gym-goers, athletes, and individuals who perform repetitive movements.
A torn labrum may require surgery, depending on its severity. In mild cases, the labrum can heal with conservative treatment, such as cortisone shots or physical therapy. However, labrum repair surgery is often the only option for those with severe injuries.
If you need shoulder surgery, you may be wondering what to expect post-op. How soon can you resume your workouts and everyday activities? Is it necessary to wear a sling or brace?
Let’s find out!
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Get Adequate Rest
Any type of surgery requires proper rest. For example, hernia surgeons usually recommend at least one or two weeks of rest, but you may need to be able to return to sports earlier than four to six weeks post-op.
The same goes for shoulder labrum repair surgery. While you may be able to go home the same day, you’ll need plenty of rest following the procedure. Ideally, ask a friend or family member to stay with you for a couple of days.
Note that you may not be allowed to travel by plane earlier than two or three weeks post-op. Most patients can return to work within three weeks or so, but they must wait at least four to six months to resume weight training and other sports.
Physical Therapy Is a Must for a Torn Labrum
Physical therapy is a must for those undergoing torn labrum surgery. Its role is to restore shoulder mobility and prevent muscle atrophy. A typical session will include stretching and strengthening exercises, such as the pendulum and isometric movements.
The physical therapist will show you how to safely move your shoulder and arm, how to reduce stiffness, and more. You’ll start with passive motion exercises and progress to more challenging movements over the next few weeks.
Wear a Sling at All Times
Be prepared to wear a shoulder sling 24/7 for at least three weeks after surgery. You will remove the sling when taking a bath or shower, but you must wear it during sleep.
Some patients may prefer to sleep in a recliner to avoid putting pressure on the shoulder joint. Alternatively, you can place two or more pillows under your head and sleep on the back.
Apart from that, you may need to take anti-inflammatory medications and other drugs. Ice therapy can be helpful, too. Your surgeon and physical therapist will monitor your progress and decide on the best course of action.
Regain Your Flexibility and Range of Motion
A torn labrum can pose challenges for those with an active lifestyle, making it difficult to move your arm. Sometimes, surgery is the only option. On the positive side, the recovery process shouldn’t take longer than four months.
What matters most is to follow your doctor’s instructions. Find an experienced physical therapist, take your meds as directed, and avoid doing too much, too soon.
Meanwhile, see the rest of our blog for other tips. We’ll show you how to exercise safely, when to see a doctor for shoulder pain, and much more!