Many workers need to do heavy lifting and carrying as part of their jobs. The construction industry, trucking jobs and manufacturing workplaces are a few examples of occupations that require such labor. With this kind of activity comes the risk of seriously injuring a shoulder, which can put a worker on the mend for months. It may even require the worker to seek a new job after recovery.
One troublesome injury is a labrum tear. As Healthline explains, the labrum is cartilage that connects the upper arm bone with the socket-shaped joint that is part of the shoulder. This allows for the shoulder to move. When an injury tears the labrum, it can produce a serious injury that requires surgery to repair.
Sometimes people suffer labrum tears because of repetitive motion of their upper arms. This may happen because of performing the same tasks at work over a long period of time. However, a worker may suffer a more severe and painful labrum tear because of a sudden accident.
To take a few examples, a worker may suffer a direct hit to the shoulder. Sometimes a sudden pull on the arm is enough to tear the labrum. Workers that reach out to grab something may trip and fall on their outstretched arm. Some workers tear their labrum by suffering a harsh blow while trying to reach an object above their head.
A torn labrum is hard to ignore. It typically generates a lot of pain and makes it hard to perform even ordinary activities. People with torn labrums may feel like their injured shoulder joint is popping or grinding. A loss of strength and motion may also accompany a labral tear. Additionally, people with torn labrums may have other shoulder injuries like a dislocated shoulder or a rotator cuff injury.
As explained by John Hopkins, recovering from labrum surgery will depend on many different factors. If doctors need to reattach the labrum to the bone, it may take four to six weeks for the labrum to secure onto the bone, with another four to six weeks for the bond to strengthen. Doctors may require limited activity during or after this period so that the labrum does not suffer a new injury.
Predicting when a worker may regain full use of a shoulder is difficult. Some injuries are so severe that a worker might have to seek a new career or risk injuring the shoulder again. Given the pain a labrum tear can generate and the time and expense needed for recovery, reinjuring a shoulder is something to avoid.