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Recovery & Support for Shoulder Labral Tears

NYU Langone doctors and rehabilitation specialists use immobilization, pain management, and physical and occupational therapy to help you heal from shoulder labral tear surgery.

Postsurgical Care

After surgery, you typically need to wear a sling for four to six weeks to immobilize the shoulder, helping it to rest and heal. About 7 to 10 days after your procedure, your doctor checks to make sure your incisions are healing properly and to remove any sutures. Your doctor also assesses the range of motion in your shoulder. After the first in-person appointment, most postoperative visits can be performed via a video doctor visit.

You may need pain medication for a day or two after surgery to manage discomfort after your nerve block from surgery wears off. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help reduce swelling and relieve pain.

Icing the shoulder for a few days after surgery can also reduce pain and swelling. Your doctor may recommend applying ice packs for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, 3 to 4 times a day.

Physical or Occupational Therapy

While you are wearing a sling, you can start a therapy program with rehabilitation specialists at NYU Langone Orthopedic Center to rebuild range of motion and flexibility in the shoulder. After several weeks, you can begin strengthening the muscles in your shoulder, back, and arm, which helps to decrease stress placed on the joint.

Therapists teach you how to safely perform daily activities such as lifting laundry baskets or putting away the groceries, so you do not place stress on the biceps tendon, which is attached to the labrum, and other structures in the shoulder joint.

Most people can participate in sports-specific training about three months after surgery, with a full return to sports at four to six months. Rehabilitation specialists at our Sports Performance Center can help refine your movements to prevent future shoulder injuries.

Our Research and Education in Shoulder Labral Tears

Learn more about our research and professional education opportunities.