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  1. #1
    I am Walt
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    Bonking ... not feelin' well Full-Thickness Tear of Rotator Cuff

    Crashed HARD on my left shoulder a couple months ago, and my shoulder was sore, but serviceable. Then a week later, I was standing climbing on my SS when I hit a large rock with one pedal, stopping my bike cold. My body pitched forward, and when I tensed up to keep from going over the bars, my shoulder exploded in white-hot pain. I jumped off the bike and howled in pain. Finished the ride, but that baby hurt!!

    Went to see my ortho doc the following Monday, and they x-rayed it, and found a Grade 1 AC separation, which I kind of assumed from the first crash. He did ROM stuff, and figured on a strained rotator cuff or labrum. Asked my if I wanted an MRI yet, but I said no, let's see how it goes, so he told me to rest it for a couple weeks, and see if it heals.

    Took that time off from lifting, and a week off from riding, then I rode easy a couple times. Did a 35-mile race (Tour of the White Mountains in Northern AZ), and it felt OK, but still had pain and limited ROM, particularly when trying to lift, and sleeping. So I went back in, and based on the office eval, and some "clunking" in there, he said "highly likely" it was a torn labrum, and ordered an MRI.

    After waiting two weeks for pre-authorization (), I finally got the MRI last Friday, and the results yesterday. Good news: AC separation is healing, and labrum is only frayed, and not torn. Bad news: Full-thickness tear of rotator cuff + tear of some other sub-scapular tendon (or something) + degenerative arthritis + bone spurs. Not the news I was expecting, nor hoping for...

    Meeting with the surgeon today to discuss the plan, but in talking with the PA yesterday, I got the sense that I have a big repair coming, and a lengthly recovery. I'll know more later today, of course, but I'd appreciate any insight from those of you that have been through this one.

    BTW, two years ago, I tore my triceps tendon completely (yes, MTB fall), and was off the bike for 4+ months rehabbing THAT!! Now this...
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  2. #2
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    I feel for you man!
    I took a hard spill about 6 weeks ago. I see the dr next week to see what the game plan is.
    Full-Thickness Tear of Rotator Cuff-imageuploadedbytapatalk1352263192.772896.jpg
    I really don't expect to be on the bike much until the first of next year. Eager to start spinning on the dirt again, it's been tough being a full time pedestrian.

  3. #3
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    Discipline!

    The first part after surgery is the worst. Not only do you have some serious pain, but the sling/brace is a major problem.
    The ice pump machine from Amazon is great, get a good recliner.
    The immobilazation is first and very important! No movement.

    R

  4. #4
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    I haven't been able to sleep with my arm under my pillow for over a year. Still haven't went to a doctor as it's manageable pain-wise and to date doesn't affect my mtb'ing since my arm is kept low. It actually got pretty good a few months after initial pain started (2 days after a slow OTB on my bike at Natty) but then has come back. Pain using a towel above my head, pain if I should put my arm under the pillow....pain pain pain. Arhhhg, guess I need a doc finally as time is no longer healing all wounds apparently.

  5. #5
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    I went through the surgery and had a great experience. PM me and I can go through it with you. My surgeon was George Thabitt III from SOAR in Redwood City. My bro-in-law and another buddy went to him as well. All with great experiences. Rehab just as important and can explain but too lazy to type.

  6. #6
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    I have my six week appointment Monday, I'm hopping for the start of rehab next.

  7. #7
    meh?
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    I crashed with another rider on Monday and my shoulder hurts. It's feeling a little better, but after reading this post, maybe I won't cancel that doctor's appointment...
    2013 Chromag Rootdown
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  8. #8
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    So on Monday I was given the ok to loose the sling and I start physical therapy Monday. If I had to guess I'd say I have around 40% range in motion at best. I think is going to be a long road to 100%.

  9. #9
    meh?
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillcountryav View Post
    So on Monday I was given the ok to loose the sling and I start physical therapy Monday. If I had to guess I'd say I have around 40% range in motion at best. I think is going to be a long road to 100%.
    Good luck!
    2013 Chromag Rootdown
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  10. #10
    Carbon or Commie?
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    Quote Originally Posted by waltaz View Post
    Meeting with the surgeon today to discuss the plan, but in talking with the PA yesterday, I got the sense that I have a big repair coming, and a lengthly recovery.
    It's easier if you think of them as "upgrades" rather than "repairs".

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by axisofoil View Post
    It's easier if you think of them as "upgrades" rather than "repairs".
    Bionics!!!

  12. #12
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    Good luck to you. I'm nearly recovered from breaking the glendoid and tearing the labrum over the summer. Had surgery in August and finished physical therapy this week. I'll never have full range of motion back.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryguy79 View Post
    never have full range of motion back.
    Thanks for the encouragement. It's going to suck Monday for the first PT secession.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillcountryav View Post
    Thanks for the encouragement. It's going to suck Monday for the first PT secession.
    Well I'll never have full range back by design. I discussed my options with my surgeon and chose this route. Between the initial injury and surgery my shoulder would dislocate doing the simplest things, like pulling a door closed. Its been tightened so it won't dislocate anymore, but at a loss of some range of motion.

    My advice, work really hard at PT. I did, and my surgeon and therapist were impressed enough by my recovery that we stopped PT a month earlier than planned.

  15. #15
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    I'm slowly rehabbing the repair work done on a pair of tears in the labrum (3 anchors in one, 1 anchor in the other I ignored for years) of my left shoulder and boy is it maddeningly slow. Tried to plow a trench with my left shoulder in April and delayed the surgery till the fall to ensure i could have some fun in the summer. Constantly having my shoulder dislocating was obnoxious but I've done worse (trashed ankle, used to "pop" it back in by slamming it into a wall repeatedly...). PT and a good Massage Therapist experienced in shoulder work go a long way in helping to keep things moving though and the restrictions are slowly being lifted. I'm still not allowed to do certain things and simple actions like taking off a jacket aren't as simple as they were.

    My surgeon compared knee rehab to shoulder rehab as "checkers to chess" in complexity/difficulty and having experienced both now, it's pretty a spot on comparison imho. If all goes well- I'll be allowed on the road bike in March, back in the woods by May and DH'ing mid to late summer.
    Alea Jacta Est

  16. #16
    lets ride
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    It gets better!

    I dislocated my shoulder back in April, had surgery in June, and am almost 100% i you're my labrum 270 deg. I now have 5 screws holding my shoulder together. I finish my pt tomorrow, but will still work on my shoulder from here on out. If you need a good PT or orthopedic surgeon i have both.... They are both in the east valley, active Spine and sport and dr. farber .... Good luck!

  17. #17
    EDR
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    Walt, what's the latest?

    I finally went to the doctor today after mine got much worse over the weekend. Couldn't even lift my arm to unlock the gate on the side of the yard. X-Rays showed no broken bone so PT was ordered for a rotator cuff injury. thinking of doing acupuncture as well. It's really annoying at this point and the pain is radiating over the entire shoulder now. Even drinking beer with my left hand is becoming a chore. This is how I know it's SERIOUS.

  18. #18
    lets ride
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride View Post
    Walt, what's the latest?

    I finally went to the doctor today after mine got much worse over the weekend. Couldn't even lift my arm to unlock the gate on the side of the yard. X-Rays showed no broken bone so PT was ordered for a rotator cuff injury. thinking of doing acupuncture as well. It's really annoying at this point and the pain is radiating over the entire shoulder now. Even drinking beer with my left hand is becoming a chore. This is how I know it's SERIOUS.
    Torn labrum and possible tenodesis... I went through the same thing a few years ago. Good luck take the rehab seriously.

  19. #19
    I am Walt
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    Surgery is next Weds, Dec. 12...less than a week now!

    Still lifting as best I can, with some limited weights and ranges of motion, and riding. Doesn't really bother me riding, but I do try to watch out for it.

    I plan on being religious with my rehab, but not gonna lie...I'm worried about the first few weeks...:-/


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by waltaz View Post
    Surgery is next Weds, Dec. 12...less than a week now!

    Still lifting as best I can, with some limited weights and ranges of motion, and riding. Doesn't really bother me riding, but I do try to watch out for it.

    I plan on being religious with my rehab, but not gonna lie...I'm worried about the first few weeks...:-/


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    Good luck. I've seen pics of you and your arms and shoulders don't seem to be a weak point, lol. Just goes to show, injury can happen to anyone.

    Riding doesn't bother me at this point either as the arms are pretty much kept low. Maybe if I was yanking up on my bars a lot, like riding a SS, it might bother me more. Doc did agree that my injury most likely happened with an OTB's a year ago...

  21. #21
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    I have my six week appointment Monday, I'm hopping for the start of rehab next.

  22. #22
    I am Walt
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    Quote Originally Posted by patspet View Post
    I have my six week appointment Monday, I'm hopping for the start of rehab next.
    How have the first 6 weeks been for you? How long were you immobilized?


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  23. #23
    I am Walt
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    Update: Had surgery on Weds, Dec 12. Shoulder was messed up more than thought...in addition to rotator cuff, top of biceps tendon was "shredded"...big repair, but doc said went well. Got a bunch of metal and plastic screws in there now.

    Most discomfort was as the nerve block wore off, and before the Vicodin took hold...about 12-16 hours post-surgery. Been religious about taking two Vikes and 600-800 mg ibuprofen every four hours, and it's been OK. Dropping down to only one Vike starting this morning...hopefully get off that stuff by the end of the weekend. Ice machine has been key...hooked to it 24/7 thus far.

    First night kinda sucked, trying to find a less painful sitting up position, but been OK since...even laid back pretty flat last night!

    My wife has been awesome...it would not have gone this smooth without her!!

    Doc took some pics thru the scope...
    Full-Thickness Tear of Rotator Cuff-imageuploadedbytapatalk1355581368.459580.jpg


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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by waltaz View Post
    Update: Had surgery on Weds, Dec 12. Shoulder was messed up more than thought...in addition to rotator cuff, top of biceps tendon was "shredded"...big repair, but doc said went well. Got a bunch of metal and plastic screws in there now.

    Most discomfort was as the nerve block wore off, and before the Vicodin took hold...about 12-16 hours post-surgery. Been religious about taking two Vikes and 600-800 mg ibuprofen every four hours, and it's been OK. Dropping down to only one Vike starting this morning...hopefully get off that stuff by the end of the weekend. Ice machine has been key...hooked to it 24/7 thus far.

    First night kinda sucked, trying to find a less painful sitting up position, but been OK since...even laid back pretty flat last night!

    My wife has been awesome...it would not have gone this smooth without her!!

    Doc took some pics thru the scope...
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Let me know how your recovery is going. I had a bad crash last May that left me with a broken scapula, multiple rib fractures and surgery/plate to my collar bone. Been having pain in the shoulder and just found out I need to have the rotator cuff and bicep tendon surgery similar to yours. I've been riding without problems since July, but have a tough time lifting anything above shoulder height. Good that you're off the Vicodin - nasty stuff...

  25. #25
    I am Walt
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    Propguy, I'm at 12 weeks now, and feeling pretty good. Shoulder is still a bit stiff at times, as I work on the rest of the ROM (range of motion), and I've started doing "baby weights" to strengthen it bit by bit. I'll be progressing more on the weights over the next few weeks. The doc gave me clearance to do some easy road biking, but doesn't want me on the mountain bike for a few more weeks. That said, I may sneak out this weekend on an easy trail to just get out on some dirt and spin a bit. All in all, it's coming along well, and been better than I thought.

    BTW, I tore mine up in September, and had surgery in December, and was able to ride hard that whole time, without really any pain. It really affected my lifting, and raising my arm above shoulder height, but riding was OK. Good luck!
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