Anyone have SLAP tear surgery? UPDATE: 5 months post-surgery

Hi! I did a quick search and found a few older posts on SLAP tears but none of them seemed to have updates on how the recovery went.

I had two horse-related shoulder injuries in a row (one in 2016 when I was hand walking a horse on stall rest and he reared up and jerked my arm back, one last October when a different horse tripped and fell down with me and I caught my elbow on his neck when I fell). I went to PT the first time with no true diagnosis, just pain, and that seemed to help. Second time I went straight to Urgent Care, where they X-rayed me and said it was probably a rotator cuff sprain and referred me to four weeks of PT again.

Well, a year later the shoulder is still very painful and has been causing me a lot of trouble. I finally talked my PCP into ordering me an MRI and whaddaya know, SLAP tear. Some anterior damage but mostly posterior. I just got out of a consultation with a surgeon who specializes in the shoulder and also happens to ride, and she said at my age (late 20s) and activity level she would definitely recommend surgery.

Perfect timing, because my horse is coming off a year lease on Thursday. :rolleyes: Luckily I have a part-lease set up through the summer anyway, but I was really looking forward to riding him regularly again. Doc said 6 months before I can compete to mitigate risk of re-injury, but she seemed to think I’d probably be able to futz around a bit at some point before that.

Anybody else have experience with riding after labrum surgery? How long til you swung a leg over? Or jumped? My horse is older so I’m worried about missing out on yet another of his good years.

I did this! Surgery Nov 2016. I was caring for my horses full time again by hmmmm, February? And forgetting I had surgery by the 5-6 month mark. We moved across the country in December, which really held up my PT…I think recovery would have been faster if that had been consistent.

But overall, no regrets, really happy with the repair and recovery was waaaaaaaaaaay easier than my hip labrum reconstruction.

Well that’s good to hear!! I just wish I’d pushed for the MRI in the spring, when I was barely riding once a month, but c’est la vie. Thanks for the encouragement!

I waited about a year, too.

If you have misgivings, don’t go to surgery. Try steroid injections. Try PRP. I wish I’d gone conservatively on my hip, and something I’ve taken from that is you can’t go back once you’ve gone to the OR.

I didn’t do those things for my shoulder, but probably would have if we’d stayed in Minnesota. We were moving and I figured I better jump on it if I wanted to take advantage of that super experienced shoulder surgeon before we left. After such hell with my hip, there was certainly a moment of “WTF AM I DOING” as they were prepping me for surgery. :lol:

I will say that a good sports or medical massage therapist will be super helpful. That unstable shoulder puts a boatload of stress on the supporting muscles, and the immobilizer they put you in following surgery also does a number. A good massage guy makes a huuuuuuuuge difference.

Just wanted to give an update for anyone reading who’s facing a similar surgery. I got arthroscopic surgery on my right shoulder end of November 2018, and they put in 10 anchors on two separate tears. Spent four weeks totally immobilized in a sling, another two weaning myself off. Started twice a week PT at the end of week 4, mostly just stretching it out and massage for the first few weeks and gradually adding in strength training.

I rode for the first time on January 20 (8 weeks out) with my surgeon’s blessing and spent about a month just hacking once a week. Getting on/off was the hardest part, along with tacking up (my horse is a smidge under 17h so it’s a long way up!) and sweeping lol. Got cleared to jump at the end of February. The first couple times I felt a little iffy about the shoulder, mostly because my horse can jump kinda hard and my core strength was down, so I was relying on my crest release for balance. But now (5 months out from surgery) I feel pretty much back to normal while I’m riding. Fitness is still down a bit but that’s more from only being able to ride twice a week vs. 5x a week previously (outside factors, not surgery-related). Currying with my affected arm is a bit tough still especially now that it’s shedding season, but my PT thinks it’s a great exercise for me :lol: Planning to show for the first time in June but I feel good enough to compete now if I wanted to.

It’s been a faster recovery than my surgeon predicted, which I chalk up to being relatively young/fit at the time of surgery, sticking with my PT exercises at home, and adding in private Pilates to supplement (they include it with my PT sessions and bill my insurance, woo!). I’m dropping down to 1x a week PT in May, and probably down to every other week starting in June. I’m mostly at the point now where I don’t think about my shoulder at all during day-to-day life. Occasionally notice some stiffness when I sleep on it funny, and doing up my bra behind can still be a bit of a struggle, but overall I feel fantastic and I’m so glad I went through with it!


That’s awesome, congratulations!

I totally agree on the currying :lol: It does get better!

Good for you! I’m glad the recovery is going well!
It’s amazing how weak the arm feels for several months afterwards, but before you know it, you won’t have to protect it anymore.

I had a slap tear repair/biceps tenodesis in April 2014. I started hacking at about 5-6 weeks post op, and was jumping maybe 2-3 weeks after that. I did the baby greens with a new horse in late June and was pretty much over feeling cautious about it by then. Tacking up was tough and for awhile I did need a stool and/or some help.
Getting on/off was okay since the barn had a picnic table near the ring. I just got all the way up on the table surface and stepped over onto the horse.
I do still have pain in that shoulder. I have trouble getting off a horse unless I am getting off onto a moderately tall mounting block. I can tack up okay (I use a stool with the tall one), and it doesn’t bother me to ride, but any household chores that require that right arm to be over my head is moderately painful. And any strengthening exercises with free weights make it so angry that I can’t move it for the next few days.
I followed Dr instructions, did PT as prescribed, so I’m not sure what the lingering issue is. I’ve had subsequent MRIs and they say the repair looks good. Just unlucky I guess…

I am so happy to find this thread! I had the “full treatment” (rotator cuff repair, bicep reattachment, acromial decompression including bone spur removal & clavical excision & labrum cleanup/trim) 7 weeks ago. I am getting on a (very quiet) horse tomorrow with my trainer’s help (tacking up & grooming). I won’t ride with any contact and expect to just walk for a little while. BUT. Everything I’ve read elsewhere is very scare-mongery, and I know getting on will help me feel better and motivate me to keep going with PT (I’ve had a lot of days of dull aching and discomfort/pain that is hard to endure when it just doesn’t ease :frowning_face: ). So reading that some of you were back on pretty soon, I feel better about it (wasn’t gonna stop me, but still…). Thanks!