Rotator Cuff Surgery and Return to Riding...

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Mike M, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. robtharalson

    robtharalson Old, bold rider

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
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    Santa Maria
    January of 2007 I dislocated my left shoulder in a hiking / rock climbing fall so badly the head of the Humerus was wedged under the collarbone. That was a most unpleasant hike 1/2 mile back to the trailhead! Went to the E.R. and they finally managed to put it back in place and immediately scheduled an MRI. The shopping list of damage was really impressive, and the doctor scheduled me for wide open surgery the next week. Nine days after the accident I got back on the bike and took an experimental ride which turned into a three hundred mile weekend on every twisty road I could find. You should have seen the look on the doctor's face when I walked into his office for the pre op exam carrying my helmet! After the exam he said "Damn. There goes the next payment on my Ferrari!" and he cancelled surgery, gave me a Cortisone shot that hurt more than the original injury, and scheduled lots of PT. Just before I left I surprised him again by handing back the unopened bottle of Vicodin he gave me. That's right -- not only did I not take them, I hadn't taken so much as a Aspirin the whole time. If you want to learn my pain control techniques let me know. Four months later I had full ROM and was largely pain free, and it hasn't given me any trouble since. By the way, I was 53 at the time of the accident but in excellent condition, and I'm sure this was a contributing factor in my recovery.

    Rob
    #21
  2. Gitana

    Gitana A work in progress

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
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    It's my turn to go under the knife on the 31st. I biffed and fell on my left arm/elbow pretty hard. Even though I was wearing a pressure suit, I thought I had broken my arm. After spending way too many hours in the emergency room, the x-rays showed I hadn't broken it. I knew something wasn't right, but I had to pack and move over the course of the next few weeks. And as time went on, it got worse and worse.

    Did my research and went to see Dr. Joanne Halbrecht in Boulder. An arthrogram and an MRI later, I have a diagnosis of a torn supraspinatus tendon and will also need a subacromial decompression to let the bursa heal. I'm getting a nerve block, a nerve catheter with infusion pump for 3 days after surgery, a mondo-huge ice pack that I'll be wearing when I come to and will have percocet for 5 or six days after. Surgery is on Wednesday; I plan to be back at work on Tuesday. I have a desk job, and if I'm still on Percocet, I can walk to work if I have to. My boyfriend is going to take me to surgery, bring me home and will stay with me for several days.

    What I am least looking forward to is the PT following surgery. In June of 2011, I had another getoff that resulted in a right dislocated shoulder, a partially torn labrum, a partially torn rotator cuff and a fractured humerus. I didn't need surgery, surprisingly enough. But the rehab had me in tears at times. It took a year, but I have full range of motion. I was riding again (street) about six or seven months after the injury. Unfortunately, I know what to expect with regard to PT, and I'm dreading it.

    I love riding with a passion. But these two shoulder injuries have given me pause. And a few ideas for designing a better pressure suit. The suspension on my bike is being softened. I'm going to be doing some intensive lessons with a friend who is a champion trials rider come Spring. And I'm hoping I can get my head back in the game, 'cause right now the thought of another shoulder injury makes me cringe.

    So, if anyone has any words of advice or thoughts over and above what's already been posted, please share. Thanks!
    #22
  3. Lorretto

    Lorretto City Dweller Crushperado

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
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    Washington, DC
    Nice find on the old post.

    I had bad experience with a Lincoln resulting full thickness tears, torn labrum & separated shoulder.

    Have your Doc write the pain & muscle relaxer Rxs before the surgery so you can pick everything up while you are in good shape. Stopping on the way home is not the best choice don't ask me how I know.

    Check at the pharmacy for one of the freezer belts for shoulders. If it gets cold enough you forget about some of the pain. Sleeping the first three days was tough but the cold helped knock the edge off. Take the pain pills do not tough it out as said by others. Same with muscle relaxers, they work.

    PT is key. If you do your home exercises from the get go and stretch, stretch some more and if your eyes aren't watering up you doing something wrong. Swearing profusely seems to help as well: I liked SOB you miserable Fn whore; experiment see what works for you. Technique matters, if you do the PT half hearted or cheat you will pay on the back side with range of motion and power.

    I work for myself, so no option on not going back to work at a desk job. Very doable even on day 2 if your instrument is a keyboard or phone.

    The bike is doable after 8- 10 weeks if you are careful and have your head on straight. My Doc took pity on me, 54 at the time, when I explained that I love my wife but having her drive me everywhere was taking it's toll plus I felt safer on the bike. PT wasn't happy but I was.

    Two years down stream no pain and range of motion is as good as it ever was. No regrets here.

    Good luck with the surgery.
    #23
  4. corndog67

    corndog67 Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
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    Location:
    Santa Maria, CA
    I got mine cut on several years ago, torn rotator cuff, bone spurs.

    I was riding the next week, no sling or anything after the first couple days, started PT almost immediately, maybe 3 or 4 days after surgery. Something fused back together, and they had to knock me out and "manually manipulate" my shoulder, which consisted of spinning my arm around like Pete Townsend on the guitar. My whole shoulder was blue/yellow when I woke up, and it was sore.

    Here it is, several years later, it's about 80% of what it used to be before it was screwed up, I guess that's the way it's going to stay.
    #24
  5. shelion

    shelion Goddess of Fire

    Joined:
    May 19, 2011
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    Too damn long in the vicinity of Wash, DC
    Screw the icepack. Have them give you something even better:
    [​IMG] Linky

    You fill the cooler with ice and water and a pump circulates the water through the pack on your body part. They are available for shoulders because the doc that did my surgery sent one home with me. I wouldn't have been able to function without it for the first week after the cutting. The pain relief was almost instantaneous once it got turned on and I ran it until the water got warm. :D But if you do get one, leave the sleeve part on your shoulder for the first day or so, rather than taking it off and on. It's easier and less painful that way.

    For the first couple weeks or so of PT, take a pain pill before you go. My PT recommended this to me and it was a great suggestion. Turned the PT from a screaming painfest into an annoying achefest. Also, look into pool PT. It's way better than being in an office and being tortured.

    And it pays to find a good PT. Mine was absolutely awesome and I think that's why I only had to do 4.5 months of PT after the surgery. I also invested in a pulley (they're less than $20) that I used at home a lot. Definitely do your home exercises-it makes a big difference.

    I wish you speedy healing.
    #25
  6. Gitana

    Gitana A work in progress

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    Had my surgery. Final tally: left shoulder arthroscopy, arthroscopic repair of the supraspinatus, subacromial bursectomy, depridement of type 1 SLAP lesion, chondroplasty glenoid. I had a Moog Auto Infuser dispensing Ropivacaine at the surgery site for three days. It made an unbelievable difference in terms of pain management rather than just a nerve block the day of the surgery. I was petrified about the nerve block, and needn't have been. I must have been awake enough to help the anesthesiologist identify proper placement, but I don't remember a thing about it.

    Surgery took about 2 hours. I had both IV and gas anesthetic, as well as being intubated. I awoke to a very sore throat, and feeling very woozy. I don't remember a whole lot about the rest of the day. I took percocet for the breakthrough pain and am now only on it in the evening. During the day, ibuprofen is sufficient. I ice every four hours or so. Oh, and be sure to take lots of stool softeners and/or laxatives. Geez, Percocet is an effective plug.

    I start PT on Thursday, one week after surgery. It won't be a lot, but it will keep my shoulder from freezing. I'm in a SuperSling for 30 days. Assuming all goes as planned, I'll be full rehabbed in time for spring riding in Moab. In the meantime, it's a pain to get dressed, drive and shower. Not bad, considering.
    #26
  7. baldrick

    baldrick Moto-Geezer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    400
    What Shelion said. I had my rotator cuff repaired arthroscopically in late July, and that machine was worth its weight in gold.

    I had a 3 1/2 cm tear; Milo Sewards at Temple Sports Medicine in Philadelphia repaired the tear, ground off a bone spur. I told the anesthesiologist I'd wait and see on the nerve block; that was a mistake. I woke up in bad pain, thrashing around with nurses holding me down. They gave me the spinal block and it all went away, no more pain.

    I went into the surgery in good shape (I'm in the gym 4 - 5 times a week) and that helps a lot with the eventual outcome. I did the PT at Temple Sports Medicine, and 14 weeks postop I've pretty much got full mobility in the shoulder, and the strength is returning pretty fast. I'm 62 years old; I think being in really good shape going into the surgery makes a huge difference in the outcome. If you need this surgery, hit the gym hard for a few weeks beforehand and get into good overall physical condition. You'll be glad you did.
    #27
  8. Gitana

    Gitana A work in progress

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    My surgeon won't use the active ice machines. She's had patients that have developed burns from improper use. I was given a shoulder ice cuff with two ice packs. The thing is huge, but I'm able to get ice exactly where I need it and it's worked beautifully.

    I'm two weeks out post-surgery and down to ibuprofen for the pain, except after PT. Those nights, I need to take a Percocet to be able to sleep. I expect to taper off it completely in the next week or so. I've been getting therapeutic massage to deal with the strain of wearing the sling and to relax very sore muscles. I expect to make a full recovery. I am, however, looking at options for more shoulder padding to go under my Rockgardn pressure suit.
    #28
  9. Wobbleside

    Wobbleside Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2011
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    South Bay, SF Bay Area, California
    Don't skip on the PT.
    In Dec of 05 I had 2cm of my right clavical removed because I had no cartilage left in my right AC joint. They ended up having to cut the top of my shoulder open to get the bone chunk out then found my bicep tendon was detached at the shoulder and all the connective tissue in the back was free floating. 80 internal stitches later I woke up after a 45 minute 'scope job turned into 4 hours of major surgery. To this day I can't lift shit, in varying degrees of pain (nerve damage from bone on bone contact), I have 95% of my range of motion back which was more than the surgeons expected. Driving still hurts enough to be uncomfortable but riding in a standard, sport touring or adventure riding position is completely pain free.
    For the record I was driving and riding my bicycle after a month but at the time I was 18 and 240lbs of power lifting, jogging 5 miles a day in way under an hour teenage idiot.
    Not a lot of people know that's one of the reasons I choose to ride year round. I could ride my monster for about 4 hours before I needed to stretch, 8 hours before I was done (but not from shoulder pain). The Multistrada? Barring my ass getting sore I can ride all damn day. I can't drive for more than an hour before I'm squirming and needing to get out of the drivers seat. :wink:

    Worst part was sleeping in a damn chair for 3 months, sleeping seated sucks. I actually went to a salon to get my hair washed because I couldn't lift my arm above my head for a month. That was almost orgasmic.
    :evil
    #29
  10. Mike M

    Mike M On the Left Coast...

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    SoCal
    Since someone revived my old post, I'll add that my right shoulder has rehabbed fine. I was diligent with my PT and I have great flexibility, strength and range of motion. Only issue is that now at 54, the left shoulder is starting to give me some problems (similar pain as the first one that needed repairs).

    Ah, the pleasures of getting older!!
    #30