Rehab Time for Shoulder Labrum Surgery

Your rehab time after surgery for a torn labrum is likely to range from three to six months, depending on the extent of the damage. If the surgeon finds there is no damage to the tendon and the shoulder is still stable, rehab should only take about three or four months before your shoulder is healed. However, if the biceps tendon is damaged or detached, the surgeon will need to repair or reattach it, and the rehab process might take as long as six months.

Woman doing physical therapy for her shoulder
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Shoulder Labrum

The three bones in your shoulder joint are the shoulder blade, collarbone and upper arm bone. As the American Association of Orthopedics website explains, the head of the upper arm bone rests in a shallow socket. The socket is the glenoid. Your upper arm bone is larger than the socket, so a soft fibrous rim of tissue, the labrum, surrounds the socket and helps stabilize the joint. A tear of the labrum can be caused by an acute trauma, such as a direct blow to the shoulder or a sudden pull when you try to lift a heavy object. Athletes such as baseball pitchers and weightlifters are at risk of tearing a labrum due to overuse.


After surgery, you likely will have your shoulder in a sling for three to four weeks. A physical therapist probably will prescribe some gentle range-of-motion exercises, since it is important to get the shoulder moving again after surgery. After the sling is removed, your rehab will consist of motion or flexibility exercises. If your shoulder was stable, you might be able to start sports-specific exercises about six weeks after surgery. In this situation, your shoulder should be fully healed in three or four months. If the surgery was more extensive and your shoulder was unstable, if may take up to six months before it is healed.

Kentucky Shoulder Center

As the Orthogate website explains, surgical treatment for labrum tears is still in its infancy, as is rehab for shoulder injuries. The Shoulder Center of Kentucky has a thorough rehab program for labrum tears. It begins five to seven days after surgery and is described as a functional approach, placing the body in functional positions to stabilize and strengthen your shoulder joint. The program is an aggressive one, and its duration depends on how quickly you can progress without suffering too much pain.


If you have an injury that is not too severe, you may be able to avoid surgery. Even so, a labrum injury will require rehab to restore full strength and flexibility to the rotor cuff and muscles of the shoulder blade, as well as to keep the top of the humerus in the glenoid. Non-surgical rehab should take from four to six weeks.

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