Rotator Cuff Surgery and Return to Riding...

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

  1. katoom400

    katoom400 Adventurer

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    don't worry about your choice...death valley, or camping...it was gonna happen sooner or later. That is what I have come to learn. A small tear may heal on it's own, but a large tear does not and it just gets larger over time.

    I met with my doc for my 6 week post op Wednesday and got all of the details of my surgery. There was even more damage than the MRI showed and he said it had been going on for some time...possibly 10 yrs or longer. My repair was Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, extensive Labrum repair/debridement, Bicept Tenodomy/Tenodisis (not really sure which), and acromion decompression as well has some shaving of the humeral head/glenoid socket, I think he said 4 bone anchors for the rotator cuff, and 1 for the bicep

    Now over those 10 yrs there were times I knew I did something to it, but it got better on it's own without too much drama or excessive pain.....so I didn't think much of it and got on with my life (riding and weight lifting) until the last tear...I knew something was bad, but even then I was relatively pain free, but couldn't ride or lift so I finally went to the doc. I expected the MRI to report a small tear and for him to recommend more PT. I was blown away when he said I had a "massive" tear since I had full range of motion with very little pain (and I don't consider myself a tough guy in the pain dept).

    because my tear was chronic and retracted he was able to repair ~80% which he says is way better than what I had.

    but the good news....I got out of the sling early this week and I starting to live like a human again! I'm 6.5 weeks post op and he says I have great range of motion for just getting out of the sling 4 days ago. He says I'm way ahead of where they want me at the 6 week mark. He actually wants me to slow down and even wrote a new physical therapy order to let the therapist know to back off a bit for the next 6 weeks.

    I really didn't think I was going to progress so fast after being in the sling for 6 weeks and I'm 47 not 17! I'm really happy with were I'm at right now and looking forward to SLOWLY making continued progress. Every day it gets a little bit better...today on my way into work, I was able to drink out of my coffee mug with my involved (right) arm...which seemed months away just a few days ago...so it does progress faster than you imagine. My struggle is going to be making sure I don't ruin the repair by trying too much too fast.

    Good luck to you and keep us informed.
    #81
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  2. FoxenTec

    FoxenTec Not going to Live to Die

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    Thank you Katoom400 for the thoughts. You sound like one tough dude to go through all that and come out so well after 6.5 weeks!


    #82
  3. CoatsEast

    CoatsEast 1999 R1100GS, 2007 G650X

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    Good luck FT:
    I'm at 7 weeks post surgery and its coming along nicely. Its like renovating a house, the recovery starts pretty fast but the last parts seem to drag out. I'm thinking 5 more weeks and I'll be back on the bike, playing golf, rafting, running, etc.

    . I'm fully committed to PT so my shoulder is good for another 100K miles (that's 50 in people years... i turned 50 last year). I can do a lot now... swing a hammer, work in the yard, but certain motions are painful and there is a big risk of re tearing it if I take on more than I should and fall/slip etc. So patience, it will be over faster than you know.
    #83
  4. katoom400

    katoom400 Adventurer

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    wow, swinging a hammer at 7 weeks, you are tough! I'm 4 days out of the sling and happy to be able to drink a beer with my involved arm....

    but be careful....I'm told it takes a long time for the repair to heal down to the bone, but feels pretty good way before that time. It sounds like you are doing great at 7 weeks!
    #84
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  5. bomose

    bomose Long timer Supporter

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    I'm going to see the doc Tuesday. I'm praying it's not too bad. I injured my shoulder in October. It got better for a while, then worse. I have a street bike trip planned for mid May and hope I'll be able to make it. A few of us are planning on doing a trip to commemorate a trip we did 40 years ago. Should would hate to miss it, but I haven't been able to get a full night's sleep for a while. I'm 62, so don't heal as quickly as I used to. You guys are a wealth of info.
    #85
  6. LudemJo

    LudemJo Iron Butt Dreamer

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    OK, so now I'm wondering if I should be concerned. I took a fall on the ice mid-December, landing on my wrist, shoulder, and ribs apparently. My wrist hurt the worse by far. I rode to work the entire next week, but my wrist continued hurting pretty bad, and wasn't getting better so I went to the doctor and ended up getting a cast for 4 weeks. I had mentioned my shoulder and ribs, but honestly, I was more concerned with my wrist, thinking the shoulder and ribs would just get better over time. My ribs are healed 100% at this point. However, my shoulder is still pretty sore. I seem to have pretty good range of motion, but it hurts when I move it different ways. I am still lifting, but climbing out from under the racked bar after doing squats is painful. I can still do bench press and overhead presses, so I'm not sure how much damage I may have. Sleeping in any but just a few positions is also uncomfortable. The pain is never severe, just enough to get your attention. I am fully functional, just experiencing some pain with certain movements.

    I am worried about asking a question, because I fear the answer. How long should I wait hoping that it will heal on its own? It has been almost two months at this point. The good news is that I have an orthopedic doctor that I trust.

    John
    #86
  7. bomose

    bomose Long timer Supporter

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    #87
  8. DMCaton

    DMCaton Been here awhile

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    I think your best option is to talk to your doctor and see what they think. It's worth whatever your copay is to get the expert's opinion.

    My personal experience (torn labrum/Bankart lesion/Hill-Sachs lesion as a result of 2 dislocations, no rotator cuff damage) was that pre-op my shoulder rarely ever hurt and I was able to do the things you listed (bench and overhead presses) with no issue most of the time. If I did anything really heavy overhead (I did Crossfit and snatches were the main culprit, but also overhead press and jerks to a lesser extent) I got a feeling like my shoulder was going to dislocate again. No pain, just that weird feeling that something was "off." Being that you have pain in certain positions I would say your injury is different than mine and probably has something to do with the rotator cuff.

    Take this advice with a grain of salt, I am not a doctor and am just speaking from my own experience/research.
    #88
  9. katoom400

    katoom400 Adventurer

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    The only real way to know what is going on in there is for a doc to see with his own eys via the scope.

    that being said, a MRI is a good diagnostic tool along with a good physical exam by a competent orthopedic surgeon should yield a pretty good diagnosis. The physical exam will give the doc a good idea if a tear exists, and the MRI will give a better idea to the extent of the tear. Either way the doc is your starting point whether you need surgery or just physical therapy.
    #89
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  10. FoxenTec

    FoxenTec Not going to Live to Die

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    Visited the Ortho doctor today. Finally!!!!

    MRI and Xray showed two large Tendon tears and a bone spur. The Supraspinatus Tendon was almost torn completely and the Infraspinatus Tendon had a large tear. The doctor said the only course for me would be a 2.5 hr surgery to anchor the tears. I was happy to hear that he said I would be put out for the procedure. Indicating 6 weeks in a shoulder brace, 4 weeks at home doing some exercises and then 8 weeks of PT. I also have to wait for a opening in the surgery center and need a physical before surgery.

    My motorcycle has a whopping 600 miles on her. Now it sits alone with a battery tender. Oh the pain. Would you guys recommend maybe a fuel stabilizer since it has already sat for a month and it may be 4 - 6 months before I get to ride again? Why you ask? My wife told me that if I get on the bike during recovery, she will de-ball me. That sounds more painful then the surgery and PT!!!

    Appreciate you all listening to this stuff.


    #90
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  11. katoom400

    katoom400 Adventurer

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    Sorry for the bad news. But I suspect you were prepared for the worst. There is no surprise on the bone spur, most likely on the under side of the Acromion(sp?) which slowly chews away at the supra and infra over the years...

    It will not hurt to treat the fuel. My new Beta has 250 miles on it and is waiting patiently for me...

    I don't think anyone would go through this without being put out, although with the nerve block I guess you wouldn't feel it...but who wants to be awake for hours of surgery?

    The nerve block is your friend! if possible ask for the pump that keeps it coming for an extended period. I did not have that but have heard of it. I got lucky and my nerve block lasted around 30hrs. and extra 12 would have really helped!

    get it done soon so you can get back in the saddle for the nice spring weather!

    I know everyone is different, but I was really scared about the pain involved with this surgery after reading so many stories on the net...and knock wood...so far at 7.5 weeks post op and only out of the sling for 1.5 weeks I'm doing my day to day living with almost no limitations...granted I have a desk job..

    good luck to you and feel free to ask anything about it...I know way too much now!
    #91
  12. DMCaton

    DMCaton Been here awhile

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    I think I may be the only one who feels this way, but I personally didn't like the nerve block at all. It was great to not be able to feel my shoulder, but the block also numbed my entire arm which I couldn't stand! I would have gladly traded a little shoulder pain (masked by a strong painkiller of course) for the ability to feel/move my hand. Mine wore off after about 12-14 hours and I was happy it was done.

    Completely agree with the rest of your post though, overall the pain hasn't been nearly as bad as I was expecting. Sure there was some soreness the first week after surgery, but I only really felt it when the painkillers were starting to wear off. I was back to work (desk job) 9 days post-op but could have gone back sooner if needed. Haven't had much pain at all since getting out of the sling 5 weeks post-op except for during PT when working on improving my range of motion. Even then, the physical therapist said it doesn't do any good to push to the point of pain. From the beginning he told me not to take any painkillers (even Tylenol, Advil, etc) before coming in so he would be aware of when it started to hurt. The goal is to just slowly stretch it out.
    #92
  13. accumack

    accumack Adventurer

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    I had SLAP(anchors) surgery on my right shoulder July 2011 the worse thing was learning to wipe my butt with my left hand as with the anchors you can't fire up the muscle for 4 to 6 weeks. The make sure you do the PT. I was motivated and it went well. I had some slight residual pain for about a year. Now it's as good as new or better.
    #93
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  14. katoom400

    katoom400 Adventurer

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    yes, I agree that the block numbs the entire arm which was "weird" feeling but to me it's worth it...you walk out of the surgery center in no pain. Yes pain pills do work but I personally can't stand the way they make me feel. I know some people like them...not me. If I had a nerve block that lasted longer I don't think I would have taken any pills. I guess if you don't mind the pills then you could skip the block....but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

    I have a giant jar of pills and plenty of buddies asking for them, so I guess those guys would have foregone the block.

    I agree completely about the PT, my guy told me we only go as far as the body tells us and SLOWLY ratchet it up. If you take pain meds before PT you body isn't accurately telling you where that point is.

    The other thing about the recovery is that the older and larger the tear/repair the longer it takes the tendons to scar down to the humeral head. so while you feel pretty good fairly soon, it's really not ready to take a large stress for some time. I think that's why there is a higher failure rate with larger tears. I certainly don't feel like I'm ready to ride, but I could see feeling that good in a month or so....and I know that would be too soon to put a big stress on the repair.
    #94
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  15. katoom400

    katoom400 Adventurer

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    I agree totally...very weird at first, but you do get used to it and develop a technique...lol you learn to do a lot with your other arm.
    #95
  16. FoxenTec

    FoxenTec Not going to Live to Die

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    Have my surgery next week. I am a bit anxious for it. I had to stop taking ibuprofen for my current pain as they said that during my pre-op physical, my kidneys were not filtering properly. They attributed it to taking all the NSAID (ibuprofen) these past four weeks. If not one thing........

    Wondered if you guys would share any help for post op recovery? I have a new recliner but sleeping in it now is only good for an hour before back pain. I think my back hurts now because I have not slept in a bed since the injury a month ago. Anything that really helped you guys? Bed propped up, recliner or couch? What helped boredom? Any advice would be much appreciated!
    #96
  17. katoom400

    katoom400 Adventurer

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    It sounds like you are getting well prepared for the surgery. I too got a new recliner for mine, and I don't know if yours is "fully adjustable" electric reclining, but I found I could not be all the way reclined on mine and sleep for long. I spend about a week in the recliner and mad my way back to the bed lying on my back with a pillow under the operated arm (sling on). I'm usually a side sleeper and this took some time to adjust to. I also had lower back pain from sleeping this way. I ended up doing some search and found that putting a large pillow under the knees/calfs changes the angle at the pelvis and relieves this quite well.

    I'm coming up on 10 weeks post op and sleeping on my side again. I can do almost all of my daily routines without much trouble at all, but you have to be careful as it takes a long time for the repair to heal down to the bone and you feel much better before that has actually happened.

    The first few days will suck, but it gets better each day after that. I went back to work after 3 weeks (desk job) but I could have went back sooner if I wanted to.

    I had my "helm" all set up to pretty much live in the recliner for the first few weeks. I had my computer with wireless keyboard and bluetooth headset all set up to watch netflix and surf the net...it worked out well and I still use it.

    for me sleeping wasn't much of an issue, even before the op so YMMV.

    upload_2017-2-25_8-55-23.png

    As for boredom, I kept busy with the internet and working on creating a new forum website for Beta motorcycles which I should be launching this coming week.

    Best of luck to you next week. shoot me any questions and keep us updated on your progress.
    #97
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  18. FoxenTec

    FoxenTec Not going to Live to Die

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    Nice setup with the monitor. Funny we have the same little foldable table next to our recliner. I find the table works well for sitting and playing a bit of Xbox while leaning my arms on the table. I think I will work this weekend on getting my laptop setup near the recliner. Thank you for all the advice and help. My Father-in-law was a Sheriff with some back issues and he always said it was good to position a pillow under the back of the knee's for relieving pressure on the back. Let me know when your site is up and working for the Beta. I have created a few motorcycle forums over the years to. My busiest site now (none M/C) is a Riverside RV forum. Pretty basic site but very active. I also started a ADV type site years ago that keeps plugging away. Thanks again!
    #98
  19. katoom400

    katoom400 Adventurer

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    here are some of the links for helpful items that were not too expensive:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005C2914C/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 monitor stand..very heavy duty for $28

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013RJOHSG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 elastic laces...you won't be able to tie shoes for a couple of weeks.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018EBNSBO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 back scratcher...awesome!

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007AHTPS4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 laptop stand...very adjustable

    Very cool that you have the Riverside RV forum, we were just looking at them last weekend at the local RV show. I really like the interiors compared to conventional RV's....we have an Outback 250RS

    My current forum woodsracer.com is also just plugging along these days and I wanted to do something new for the Beta crowd...most of my crew has made the jump to Beta this year.
    #99
  20. LudemJo

    LudemJo Iron Butt Dreamer

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    Scheduled to go see my ortho doc on Thursday. Shoulder is still uncomfortable since falling on the ice back on December 17. My broken wrist has recovered nicely after four weeks in a cast, and I honestly thought the shoulder would just get better on its own. My suspected cracked ribs are 100% now, but the shoulder continues to bother me. My lovely wife told me to go to the doctor or quit complaining about it, so here I go.

    I am just starting with a new job and company next week, so don't feel I can be out with surgery right away. If the doc talks about that, I may try to postpone the surgery until fall. I know, I know, I should have had the doc check the shoulder in December, but...crap!

    So, I'll have some new later in the week.

    John