I wanted to put down my experience because reading other people's was quite helpful.
Day of Surgery
I had a torn labrum (SLAP) in my left (off hand) shoulder, ~11-1. I underwent surgery on dec 19th in the morning in Delhi. The surgery took about 1 hour under general anesthesia. I got two anchors put in, and the cleaned up a bit of the torn bits of my labrum. Everything else in my shoulder looked good, so they didn't need to shave any bone off or mess around with my rotator cuff, etc.
I woke up freezing after surgery and slept for most of the afternoon. I was released in the late afternoon feeling ok. I didn't have any pain, just a bit of soreness. They gave me a normal sling which wasn't very helpful. The doctor showed me the simple stretching exercises to do for the next month before i start physio.
Sleep was a bit difficult, but i finally got a few hours after some tossing and turning,
Woke up and went back to the hospital for an immobilization sling. Much better support, highly recommended. Ice packs are nice. pain is minimal. Getting dressed is hard, though short sleeve button up shirts are the easiest. the cold weather is a bit of a bummer because putting on sweaters are hard. sponge bath. sleep is better.
Went in to get my dressing removed, just have two waterproof band-aids. had a real shower. Ice packs are still nice. pain is minimal.
Do some stretching 4x a day. Assisted forward and sideways movement of my arm. ice when my shoulder gets tired.
back at work, though typing with one hand is hard. Can't drive because the stick shift is on my left side, so getting around is a hassle. Having my wife around has been really useful for the whole time.
Today. movement has been getting better each day, an inch or two more everyday. I am about 30 deg forward and 35 deg sideways. My shoulder is stiff. Still in the sling. no pain, but my shoulder gets tired after exercise. i can kind of use my left hand for stuff, but nothing major. sleep has been ok, i lay on my right side or back.
generally i am feeling pretty good. the surgery went well and i can see the minor improvements in ROM daily.
I'll be back for more updates when it seems appropriate.
Last Edit: 1 year, 6 months ago by Injured Climber. Reason: Adjust topic title
Things that are hard: opening jars, cutting things, putting on sweaters/tight shirts, putting on elastic sling, typing, walking/feeding dogs, turning pages in books/magazines, tying shoelaces (impossible!), eating food the requires fork and knife/two hands, carrying stuff, flossing (near impossible), straitening the bed,
Things that have been helpful: big pillows, small pillow under my elbow when lying down, good arm on open side of the bed, a small stool next to my bed to put my laptop on, lots of movies, kindle, shirt pockets, ice packs, slip on shoes, taxis, prepared meals.
Last Edit: 1 year, 11 months ago by Injured Climber. Reason: addition
3 week update.
I started physio therapy this morning. We did more passive motion stretching
(the same things I have been doing myself). I am going to about 60 deg forward and sideways now. We also did some hand strength exercises and elbow stretching. I will be starting active movement next week.
I have started at the gym with the stationary bike. It is a great way to get exercise without shaking my shoulder.
Sleep is still a bit uncomfortable-when I like flat, my shoulder blade gets pushed up and make it a bit uncomfortable. I have used a soft pillow to support my whole left side, and that has been nice.
I can use my left arm for more things now. typing, holding things while cutting, etc. Putting on/taking off shirts is still a bit uncomfortable. I haven't tried driving yet, because my stick shift is on my left side, but I might try soon.
7 Week Update
I am almost to the 8 week mark, and thought it was appropriate to come back and share.
My first few weeks (3.5-6) of physio felt slow and frustrating. Were mainly just doing passive stretching, with minor active movements. My PT is conservative, which I didn't mind at first. However, as we continued without much progress in my active and passive ROM, I began to get a bit agitated.
I met with my surgeon again at 6 weeks, and he thought that i was behind on my recovery process. (Front-Passive 90 deg, active 40deg, side-same, outward rotation was VERY painful and limited.)
He felt my biggest issue was the weakening of my scapular muscles-this had caused my shoulder to slump forward, and was making my shoulder blade stick out. This caused me pain while sleeping, was a general annoyance, and was limiting my progress in abduction, extension, and rotation exercises. He said that my shoulder was at a point where a much more aggressive PT (compared to my initial PT) program could begin. He gave me a few exercises to work on, and had a talk with my PT.
To work on my forward extension, I did wall finger climbing and extended passive stretching. For side abduction I did the same. For outward rotation (the movement with the least progress) he gave more structured stretching exercises to work on (Standing up against the wall, using a stick to push my left arm outwards and hold for 10 sec. For active exercises, I was told to use both arms when doing the same exercise, as well as 2 new exercises-hands on head rotate out, and hands on hips, rotate in/out).
For my weakened scapular muscles and shoulder blade issues, i was given 4 exercises by my surgeon, and subsequently 4 more by my PT.
My surgeon: Laying face down on the bed, lift your arms upwards from 3 positions (T, Y, and W positions with your arms). I was able to kind of do the 'T' to start, but Y and W were out of the questions. After 2 weeks I can do the T and Y, while the W is still quite difficult due to outward rotation. The final exercise was standing with my elbows at my side and pushing backwards against resistance.
My PT has started the "Throwers Ten" program to a limited degree.
We are doing about 7 of the 15 exercises without wieghts (Why do the call it 10? there are many more than 10...). I am pushing myself twice a day, and have started noticing improvements in the last 2 weeks. My scapular muscles are getting stronger, but my shoulder blade still sticks out when I don't actively focus on pulling back my shoulder to straighten it out.
Today, at about 8 week mark I feel like I am over a minor hump. I can open doors, type without pain, cook, and generally use both hands for minor tasks. My range of movement has improved-Front extension 180 deg passive, 120+ active, side abduciton 150 deg passive (though my shoulder gets pulled up much earlier than my good arm) 90+ active, outward rotation passive 75 deg, active ~60 deg.
I still cannot fully operate my stick shift (driving is a one handed adventure), or pick up heavy things, hold my dogs leash with my left hand, etc The depression I had earlier about my shoulder is mostly gone, and I can go back to dreaming about Rock Climbing while I watch the new Reel Rock film.
I do have a few questions about PT. What exercises did people find useful when trying to improve their abduction, outward rotation, and strengthen their scapular muscles? Were people at similar stages at ~8 weeks into recovery? Thanks.
Today is the 11 week mark.
things have been going ok. My ROM is pretty good, though I feel like I have a few issues.
With my arms at my side, my external rotation is limited to about 75 deg. I cannot seem to go beyond this. It is very frustrating. My good arm is 90 deg.
At 90deg abduction, internal rotation is stuck at 160 deg (good arm 180 deg)
I can go all the way to 180 deg, but after 90 deg, my shoulder get pulled backwards and then hunches upwards as my arm goes up.
170 deg. (Good arm 200deg) After 90 deg, lots of hunching of my shoulder as well. Also, I am unable to get the last 30 deg. Doing exercises to stretch this last bit has been a bummer. I just feel stuck.
About 60 deg (good arm 75).
Generally I feel like I am stuck at this last bit of movement. My shoulder just moves in weird directions. My shoulder hunches, gets pulled back, clicks, and generally can't rotate in the right way. My scapular muscles are still weak, though I am doing exercises with the theraband now.
My recovery plan said I should have full ROM at 10-12 weeks, and I just feel far away from that. These last few inches feel like miles. My shoulder just isn't rotating properly in any direction.
I am meeting my doc on saturday, so hopefully I'll have some answers soon.
Hello there. I really found your posts informative as I am 28 years old and had a SLAP tear repaired 5 weeks ago. One of the tear sites was near my bicep. Two anchors to fix with no surprises and everything went well. About a week after surgery the velcro on my sling snapped and my arm swung down firing my bicep muscle. Since then I have had the sharpest pains in the front of my should while doing PT and tingling in my pinky and ring finger. This has set me back quite a bit. My range of motion keeps progressing however and I do not have a frozen shoulder. I can do wall crawls but when I reach a certain point I get stabbing pains throughout my shoulder, about shoulder lenghth, which I am guessing is passing over the repair site. My Doc says I should be able to lift my arm without pain. Maybe stiffness but not pain like this. The pain feels like it did before surgery in the same spot but ten times worse. I was given a cortisone shot to see if it is just inflammation, but if that doesn't help, my doc might want to scope me again and maybe repair anything that was damaged with my incident. I wish I read your post about buying an immobilizer because I will def get one if I need to go under again.
I was curious if you experienced pain like this near your repair sites during your PT recovery around 5 weeks? Do you ever feel like it is worse now then it was before surgery? I am hoping I am just inflamed and aggravated my Bicep, but this pain just doesn't feel right.
I am able to type, almost can start my car without pain and get my arm up there. Can't really open doors yet. I tend to favor my arm still and hold it to my side and guard it a lot. External rotation is the worst one I heard to accomplish. When I do external rotations with the cane at PT, It hurts so badly and get sharp pains through my shoulder. Not sure if this is normal. My external is about 40-45 deg I think (external I am hoping is with your shoulder down and elbow up at 90 degrees and moving your hand out to the side? not too good at the technical terms) Forward rotation, I am not sure what the degree is but I can only lift my arm out in front at about shoulder length until I feel bad pain. When I lean forward I get really bad pain so I can't lay flat on my stomach because my shoulder moves forward and it HURTS.
I appreciate your posts and any response you have and good luck with getting your range of motion back. Keep at it and I am sure you will get there. My doc told me before going into this surgery that it can take up to a year to start to feel normal again so hang in there.