Q& A

Irish Independent - Health & Living - - ADVICE -

TI was lift­ing weights in the gym re­cently and sud­denly ex­pe­ri­enced a sharp pain. An MRI showed a torn labrum, which my doc­tor says was the car­ti­lage around the joint. I had surgery to fix it and I feel like my shoul­der has re­turned to nor­mal func­tion — there’s only an oc­ca­sional twinge. My prob­lem is that my GP says that I should stop lift­ing weights as I’ve in­creased the like­li­hood of dis­lo­cat­ing my shoul­der. Surely though weights would only strengthen the joint? I also play a lot of ten­nis and I don’t want to give it up. The sur­geon made no such rec­om­men­da­tions so I’m

won­der­ing if I should just carry on as I was be­fore. What do you think? HE humerus (arm bone) at­taches to the scapula (shoul­der blade) at a place called the glenoid. The labrum is a piece of car­ti­lage found in the shoul­der joint.

It has two main func­tions — namely deep­en­ing the socket, help­ing the ball stay in place, and act­ing as an at­tach­ment for the lig­a­ments the join the ball to the socket. It is an im­por­tant piece of car­ti­lage.

In­juries to the labrum may oc­cur due to a sud­den shoul­der in­jury or due to re­peated episodes of strain. Things like fall­ing onto an out­stretched arm, a di­rect blow to the shoul­der, force­ful over­head mo­tion or sud­den pulling, such as oc­curs when lift­ing a heavy ob­ject, may all tear or dam­age the labrum pulling it off the rim of bone. Tears may oc­cur at the top, mid­dle or bot­tom of the labrum.

More com­pli­cated in­juries may in­volve the bi­ceps ten­don or be as­so­ci­ated with a par­tial or com­plete shoul­der dis­lo­ca­tion.

Mi­nor in­juries may be man­aged with rest, sling­ing and anti-in­flam­ma­to­ries, but more ex­ten­sive in­jury re­quires surgery. The surgery may in­volve re­mov­ing torn car­ti­lage, reat­tach­ing lig­a­ments and re­pair­ing dam­aged ten­dons.

Re­cov­ery from any surgery takes time. The shoul­der is usu­ally in a sling for three to four weeks. The goals in the first few weeks are to en­sure the wound is heal­ing, pro­tect the sur­gi­cal re­pair, con­trol pain and swelling, pre­vent stiff­ness and re­gain a very gen­tle range of mo­tion.

Gen­tle strength­en­ing of the shoul­der joint and in­creas­ing the range of mo­tion can start from week five af­ter surgery. From this time the arm can be used for most nor­mal daily ac­tiv­i­ties.

It is im­por­tant at this stage to still avoid lift­ing any­thing that weighs over one kilo. Force­ful push­ing or pulling, or reach­ing your hand be­hind

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