Rotator Cuff Surgery and Return to Riding...

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

  1. bomose

    bomose Long timer Supporter

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    My surgery was March 6 for a fairly bad supraspinatus tear only. I have almost full range. I'm doing pretty good now. In fact, going on a 2200 mile bike trip starting Saturday. I had therapy the day after surgery. Out of the sling in 10 days. My doc is pretty aggressive and I do my home therapy religiously. Keep at it. It will come.
  2. Stonedude

    Stonedude Long timer

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    Surgery was May 2nd for me. This Tuesday will be three weeks. Two full rotator tears and I think it is not too bad so far after the first 10 days of feeling like a super tight shoulder. Sleeping is a mutha and I have relegated myself to the corner of a couch with an ottoman placed next to it. Have tried every chair/loveseat in the house and the couch has been the best so far.

    Pain killers only used prior to sleep, I hope to get at least three hours before the restless bs starts.

    I work for myself so there is no 'three months off' option. I did take 12 days off and added another helper for my apprentice. The last three days I worked on the things I could while keeping my elbow next to my ribcage. I have kept it in the sling over the weekend. What has hurt me the worst so far... I took my sling off prior to taking a shower and was walking up the stairs and stubbed my toe. I started to fall and would not have went down anyway, but my auto reaction swung my left arm out to try and catch myself. That alone has put a stinging pain in the front of my shoulder. Live and learn you cannot switch off the brains auto reaction mode!!

    My plan going forward is to be aware of the 'retear possiblities' and just do things that are light and non taxing on the joint while I can. It has been a blessing that my bicep tendon was not affected I believe.
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  3. Hammer166

    Hammer166 Motorcyclist

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    I had a full detachment of the supra cuff, along with labrum tears front and rear after a dislocation. They did a bicep relocation, as the doc said at my age (50 at the time) if he fixed both tears I'd lose too much mobility. He told not to expect more than 80% motion after recovery. I busted my ass in PT, and I'm beyond 100% in everything but forearm rotation, but can get there with a bit of stretching. It's a tad noisy, and I still use a stick to help loosen the shoulder up (same idea as the pulley.) I went back to riding 6 months after the injury, as there was a lingering bit of weakness in that transition spot with your arm just over shoulder high up til that point. I didn't want to risk having an issue in an emergency braking situation. That transition was actually what took the longest to get back to normal, it was probably 18 months before I didn't hesitate before raising my arm.

    One thing I do know, is that after 6 weeks of having to sleep in a recliner, I can't hardly stand to even nap in the damned thing anymore!
  4. FoxenTec

    FoxenTec Not going to Live to Die

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    I understand about the "auto reactions". I did a few things prior to my surgery that caused major pain and I wondered if I had done further damage. Once was dropping the soap in the shower, I mean my towel. I always kept my brace on after surgery to prevent those auto reactions. Once the sling brace eventually came off, I sometimes would put my hand in my pocket while out at Home Depot or shopping so I wouldn't accidentally reach and grab for something.

    I am now 13 weeks Post OP and still in Physical Therapy three days a week. Huge progress but doctor and PT says due to my physical job, I may not be back at work till Sept or possibly Nov. That is almost 11 months since the original injury that forced my halt in employment. What a pisser.
  5. Stonedude

    Stonedude Long timer

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    Hang in there Brother!!

    Just went past the 4.5 week mark and have not used the sling in three days. It is my belief that by working through the motions, I have kind of called it my Physical therapy. My wife is not happy but can see the motion that I have gained already. Going to be cautious and very careful to let my helpers and apprentices do all the heavy stuff. Cut the lawn today and even edged the place!!
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  6. FoxenTec

    FoxenTec Not going to Live to Die

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    Just checking back a year after my last post. Well the extent of my injury in Jan. 2017 ended my 30 year career and I was off work for 10 months due to the surgery and physical therapy. We had to pack up and sell our home on the coast after 28 years there but all is good. I found a new job and we bought a nice home about 4 hours away. While I do not do the same work, I was able to stay within the same industry. It has been 16 months since my surgery and for the most part, the shoulder feels good. I do still have some minor aches and pains in it from time to time and I try and be careful when lifting over my head. My other shoulder which I am sure has some issues also is doing ok but someday may need help to.

    One thing I did learn is that there are many types of rotator cuff tears. Some more difficult to repair then others and some more complex. My doctor said only 50% of patients recover from the extent of injury such as mine. I worked hard in PT to be able to get my full range and strength back but I really credit a very skilled doctor and a fantastic physical therapist. Should any future ADV inmates post up to this forum, I wish you the best and make sure to read all the great help in this forum. This forum helped me the most of all the web based knowledge on the internet. Street bikes and long ADV rides are in the rearview mirror for me now, but maybe someday I can get a small DS or trail bike to have fun on offroad.

    On the Road Again.....Frank Osborne 1923 - 2017 My Favorite ADVRider of all time. Miss you Dad.
  7. zeerx

    zeerx Long timer

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    I had my surgery 2 weeks ago. Torn bicep tendon and damaged cuff trying to keep the ZRX from falling. Was out of the sling in 6 days but the PT said keep using it. Put the fear in me saying you DO NOT want to injure it again. The season is over for me. With this year and the upcoming winter I’ll have about 9 months to sort it all out. There’s a lot of good info in here from those that have been through it.
  8. robcig

    robcig Been here awhile

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    Yes, great information and support from these guys. I'm a couple of years post op and am very happy with my shoulder. I also am cautious about re injury so am very careful.
  9. bomose

    bomose Long timer Supporter

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    I am 15 months post op. I have full range and full strength. In fact, it's better than my other shoulder. Pushups, pullups, and dips are no problem. I was very religious with my therapy and had a great therapist. I could tell how much better she was when others filled in for her. My tear was nowhere near what some of you have had, though. Keep at the therapy and strength training after you're released. I think that's the problem with a lot who don't have full recovery, even some friends of mine who have good, but not full range.
  10. jessika

    jessika n00b

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  11. Motopsychoman

    Motopsychoman Not a total poseur Supporter

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    I might as well post this here as well as the other thread I just found.

    I've been having shoulder issues for about the past 5 years. Pain didn't seem to be the result of any recent trauma but the left shoulder has had plenty of trauma over the past 40 years, most of it motorcycling related of course.

    About 3+ years ago went to my doctor, they took some x-rays, told me to ice it, take anti-inflammatories (including a few cortisone shots) and start PT. Did PT to strengthen the shoulder, reduce the arc of pain (or at least not notice it anymore) and be able to sleep better. I've kept up with the PT exercises ever since but the pain has continued to the point that I rarely notice it unless it hits an 8 out of 10 or so on the scale. IN 2018 I rode 10,000 miles in 5 weeks and the shoulder was sore, but didn't interfere with me doing anything.

    Fast forward to about a month ago. I was out trying to restore some sanity by taking a couple of weeks and riding to Oregon/Idaho/Montana. Got out a few days and the shoulder started really hurting again. Turned back towards home after about 5 days. My doctor is out on paternity leave and his substitute says "it's about time we do an MRI and see what is going on in there".
    The MRI results showed the expected mangled clavicle, bone scars, misalignments as I knew would be there. What was missing was almost the entire supraspinatus tendon. There is a significant hole filled with fluid where the tendon should be. What was visible was a part of the tendon that had retracted several cm from the bone, and evidently had been that way for years.
    I had a visit with the orthopedist yesterday (not the orthopedic surgeon) and he was amazed at both the strength and full range of motion in the shoulder given the condition of the tendon. But he tells me that my age (62) repairs of that sort of old tendon rupture are not very successful. Part of the tendon must still be attached (as I can fully raise my arm over my head), but evidently only a small portion. The left side is significantly weaker than the right and getting weaker. I'm waiting for a consult with a surgeon to see what they have to say.

    What experiences have any of you had with similar injuries? Repairs? What were the outcomes? Post-op pain isn't one of my big concerns as I've been living with it for years and blocking most of it successfully, but I'm terrified about doing nothing but PT and then one day having the remainder of the tendon just snap and not being able to lift my arm anymore.
  12. FoxenTec

    FoxenTec Not going to Live to Die

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    Hey Motopsycho, Sorry to hear about your current situation with the shoulder. You have done very well all these years with getting by. My experience was a bit different. I had surgery in 3/2017 and it feels pretty good each day. For me the pain was the surgery with having 6 staples placed to re-attached two of the main tendons torn off. I think having a 2nd opinion would be worthwhile in your case. I agree about your comments on just doing PT. I have some back issues and they just keep up with just do PT but unfortunately I may be past that. We are both about the same age. Wish you the best.
  13. Motopsychoman

    Motopsychoman Not a total poseur Supporter

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    Thanks. Sounds like they will rebuild my shoulder the 1st week of October. Then the fun of rehab.

    Getting old isn't so bad. Paying now for all the shit I did in my teens and twenties is the bad part.

    Stay safe, stay healthy!
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  14. Uke

    Uke visualist Super Supporter

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    PT, diligently at a facility under the care of a licensed therapist and as directed at home.

    Rubber bands and a pulley on top of a door. Your recuperation is your responsibility, the therapist can't do it for you.
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  15. Motopsychoman

    Motopsychoman Not a total poseur Supporter

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    I've been doing PT mostly at home for the past 4 years for the "impingement" before they figured out the tendon was trashed. I tend to do what I'm told to do, plus I have one local friend who is a therapist and one more distant who is a professor of physical therapy. Both will yell at me if I'm not doing what I should.
    Hands-on is going to be at an absolute minimum these days. But I'll scream loud enough to get it when I need it. And video visits have to work better than telephone visits because at least the therapist will be able to see what I'm doing wrong. I've "met" with the PT to discuss pre-op exercises so I'm in the loop already.
    Not looking forward to it but am definitely looking forward to being done with pain and weakness I've had for 5 years.
  16. Uke

    Uke visualist Super Supporter

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    I had surgery that had been put off repeatedly, finally done April of last year. The PT was essential and I feel I benefitted greatly with the hands on manipulation of the therapist when it was apparent scar tissue was impeding my range of motion. I'll never pitch in the big leagues but I do enjoy a full range of motion, particularly in the effected range above shoulder level. I still have pain and fatigue. However, my F-i-L died July 6 and I'm the sole steward of his ranch. Until today, heat and humidity have been my limiting factors. Today a cold front dropped the day's high to but 90º F but equally important, the humidity was but 30%.

    I got in a full day of hard labor, as bad as my body feels, my mind feels great. Nice to see some progress.
  17. kneeslider

    kneeslider Insufficient privileges!

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    Facing should replacement the left & eventually rotator cuff repair on the right following that I am just full of hope & promise after reading all the above!
  18. Motopsychoman

    Motopsychoman Not a total poseur Supporter

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    I'm supposed to have my shoulder repaired a week from today. Then the fun begins.

    The odd thing in my case is that in spite of the major tendon damage I have full range of motion. Unfortunately it is accompanied by a mostly full arc of pain.
  19. Motopsychoman

    Motopsychoman Not a total poseur Supporter

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    Just an update:

    7+ weeks since surgery. Surgeon said all the tissues were in very good condition and the repair should be excellent. Not totally what I was expecting to hear as it was a very old injury and I ain't 25 years old anymore.

    Anyhow, most of the post-op pain was gone by week 3 or so. The PT started in week 2 and I'm now into the third phase of PT. The PT pain can be moderate, but it isn't any worse than the pain I put up with everyday for the past 5 years and should decrease over the next couple of months. I haven't needed to take any pain meds since week 1.
    I can already raise my arm higher than my head, can lift it almost straight up and strength is definitely improving. My physical therapist seems extremely pleased with my progress and has been accelerating my exercises.

    I'm still hoping I'll be ready for riding the 10 hours to Death Valley by the end of March and it is definitely looking possible.

    Advice to anyone having shoulder/rotator cuff surgery: If they offer you a nerve block, take it. Mine was in for 4 days. During those first 4 post-op days, I felt almost no pain from the shoulder. Also, buy or borrow a cold therapy ice machine (like a Berg Kodiak or Donjoy IceMan) to reduce swelling. Cold packs just don't work that well.
  20. HarveyMushman

    HarveyMushman Long timer Supporter

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    Just had mine done this morning (typing one handed!). Arthroscopy, debridement, bicep tenodesis, and subacromial decompression. Nerve blocker still in effect so comfortable for now ... Rehab starts Monday.