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  1. #1
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    Major shoulder surgery

    Hi Folks,

    First a little background. I'm 52 years old, have ridden mtn bikes for 12 years and raced motorcycles off road (trials, hare scrambles & motocross) for 35 years. I'm in good physical condition.

    It seems that time has caught up with me. Two weeks ago I had my right ac joint and shoulder scoped. The doc did an expected clavicle resection for ac joint arthritis and a subacromial decompression (to remove a bone spur impinging on my biceps tendon. What we didn't expect was that when he scoped my shoulder I had a torn rotator cuff and labrum. Both were repaired. Right now it's 6 weeks of no use of right arm other than typing/writing to let everything heal. Then serious PT to regain strenght and range of motion.

    SO,

    Who out there has had a torn rct and labrum?? How long before you were able to mountain bike again?

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
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    I would tell you no mountain biking for 6 months, but maybe some light road riding starting at 4 months depending on the size of the repair. The rotator cuff tendons have poor healing capacity so you have to protect the repair to give your body time to heal, otherwise the tendons will just tear through the repair site and you'll be back in the OR....

    Sorry to be debbie downer!

  3. #3
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    Take the long view. Take long hikes. Take your PT seriously. Take it easy.
    So it seems to me to be, this thing that I think I see.

  4. #4
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    I tore part of my rotator cuff 4 years ago in a bad fall skiing. After the accident, I had some movement in my left shoulder, but no strength at all. My doctor wasn't convinced surgery was entirely necessary, so we did PT. I was lucky in that my wife's aunt is an athletic trainer and was able to help me through all that at no cost.

    I was off work for a while until I built up more strength in that arm. Ski season was shot for the rest of that year and it was probably 4 months before I got on the bike at all. That biking season was rough too. For most of the season, I could ride but didn't have the strength to pull up on the bars to handle drops or wheelie over log rolls. At least I was on the bike. I want to think the biking helped, it may have been mostly mental, but once the strength started to come back, I seemed to improve at a quicker pace. Swimming seemed to have helped more than biking, but at first it was hard to stay in my lane because my right arm was normal.

    Today, I still have some pain with certain movements. My ROM is perfectly functional, but not 100%. I don't regret not having the surgery, but each injury is different. The options presented to me at the time were PT and a long painful recovery or surgery and a long painful recovery. Neither option had a good chance of a complete recovery, so I went with the PT. Cortisone shots probably would have helped, but I turned those down after being told you are limited in how many times you can get the injection in the same site. I decided since I was making progress and the pain was bearable that I would hold off on anything more invasive until later in life when it might be more necessary.

  5. #5
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    I've had both of my shoulders reconstructed. It sucks. You should be back on a mtn bike about 6 months after surgery.

  6. #6
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    I had shoulder surgery in September luckily it wasn't as involved as yours and they told me 4-6 months but mine wasn't as serious and I was closer to 4 with really focusing on PT. Give yourself 6 months and you should be fine.

    Also do the PT and follow instructions and don't push too hard too fast, just be patient and get it healed up right.

  7. #7
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    ... and if we just ... time.

    61 & had a labrum repair 5 years ago.you have a (+) attitude.work on other areas, walking,etc.but do get a stationary bike to keep your legs in shape.lots of terrabands also.take it easy!!!
    Last edited by 02_NRS; 04-08-2012 at 05:47 PM. Reason: forgot

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by '02 NRS View Post
    61 & had a labrum repair 5 years ago.you have a (+) attitude.work on other areas, walking,etc.but do get a stationary bike to keep your legs in shape.lots of terrabands also.take it easy!!!
    I heard NRS stands for "Not Really Suspension".. True? False?
    So it seems to me to be, this thing that I think I see.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by FisherCaliber View Post
    Hi Folks,

    First a little background. I'm 52 years old, have ridden mtn bikes for 12 years and raced motorcycles off road (trials, hare scrambles & motocross) for 35 years. I'm in good physical condition.

    It seems that time has caught up with me. Two weeks ago I had my right ac joint and shoulder scoped. The doc did an expected clavicle resection for ac joint arthritis and a subacromial decompression (to remove a bone spur impinging on my biceps tendon. What we didn't expect was that when he scoped my shoulder I had a torn rotator cuff and labrum. Both were repaired. Right now it's 6 weeks of no use of right arm other than typing/writing to let everything heal. Then serious PT to regain strenght and range of motion.

    SO,

    Who out there has had a torn rct and labrum?? How long before you were able to mountain bike again?

    Thanks!!
    I had a 50% labrum tear and some bone spurs. Surgery was done in late December. By early April I was riding light bike paths and gravel rodes. By early May I was doing stupid stuff again.
    Stick hard to the therapy. I was lucky. My wife is in PTA school so she went to therapy with me every so often, learned what they were doing and I was on the kitchen table getting my shoulder ranged and mobed (sp?) every night.
    At three months the doc was impressed with where I was at. At 4 months he cleared me off with the recommendation I keep it light for another 6 weeks.
    I have some stiffness in the shoulder in the morning and only about 98% range of motion as of 5 months. They said it would take 1-2 years before it felt like it never happened but as of now I'm glad I did it.

  10. #10
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    Full reconstruction here, ac/labrum/everything else

    Was riding basic XC after a couple months, kept off the jumps and hard charging descents for 12 months...but that includes a winter season. In essence I missed a riding season. I am Younger then you but still in old man range...take PT very seriously!
    I can now ride full DH, shoulder feels great...but range is permanently altered and after a week of riding every day I have to take a few days off to relax. No big deal just don't push beyond what your body tells you...
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the replies!!

    I'm 8 weeks out and I have full range of motion. The last 10% hurts like heck but it's there.

    PT has increased and at this point in time it a real killer pain wise. I'm getting intense burning and pain going down the bicep tendon/muscle.

    Just had an MRI yesterday and see the doc on Monday. He's a little concerned about the pain level. I'm hoping that it's just due to the type of surgery and the fact that you don't heal as quickly in your 50's as you do in your 20's & 30's.

    I just gotta be patient!!

  12. #12
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    HAd mine done during the first week of Jan. 2012. Torn Labrum, rotator, bicep tendon, spurs and whatever they call cutting your collar bone apart. Back on the bike for an easy ride by the end of Feb. and released from PT and the Doctor the seocond week of March. I have not looked back since. My shoulder feels good for the most part although road riding hurt at first, my strength is still not 100%, but the doctor told me to stay away from heavy lifting until fall.
    I can ride and fish, so life is good. I'm 48 YO.
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  13. #13
    boxcar
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    Reading all these makes me feel better so thanks to all that posted. 32 years old. Bankhart procedure to fix chronic dislocations of right shoulder in 2000. 2005 3rd degree seperation and broke the distill end of right collarbone, crushing it to pieces. Two surgeries and 8 months fixed that. Last Sunday, step down hip gone wrong. Landed on the back of my right shoulder with an high impact hit. Everything held, but can't use arm, extremely tight, sore, very limited range of motion. X-rays show no real damage so Dr. says may be torn rotator cuff, but won't know till he sees how my muscle comes back and/or MRI. No real swelling, no real bruising, just fairly heavy pain, and very hard to move under my own power.

    Whaddya y'all think? Just sore, tight muscle from having a clapped shoulder to begin with or maybe is rotator cuff? Is torn rotator cuff an injury mtb'rs can deal with, or is it generally surgery, then PT? I can deal with pain, just don't want to do anything stupid. I know my shoulder is going to be a problem for the rest of my life, so just want it to be as little a problem as possible.

  14. #14
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    I'm thinking it's time for you to either slow down or stop riding. Do you want to go through this every couple of years?

    Quote Originally Posted by mtn.skratch View Post
    Reading all these makes me feel better so thanks to all that posted. 32 years old. Bankhart procedure to fix chronic dislocations of right shoulder in 2000. 2005 3rd degree seperation and broke the distill end of right collarbone, crushing it to pieces. Two surgeries and 8 months fixed that. Last Sunday, step down hip gone wrong. Landed on the back of my right shoulder with an high impact hit. Everything held, but can't use arm, extremely tight, sore, very limited range of motion. X-rays show no real damage so Dr. says may be torn rotator cuff, but won't know till he sees how my muscle comes back and/or MRI. No real swelling, no real bruising, just fairly heavy pain, and very hard to move under my own power.

    Whaddya y'all think? Just sore, tight muscle from having a clapped shoulder to begin with or maybe is rotator cuff? Is torn rotator cuff an injury mtb'rs can deal with, or is it generally surgery, then PT? I can deal with pain, just don't want to do anything stupid. I know my shoulder is going to be a problem for the rest of my life, so just want it to be as little a problem as possible.
    So it seems to me to be, this thing that I think I see.

  15. #15
    boxcar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcguy View Post
    I'm thinking it's time for you to either slow down or stop riding. Do you want to go through this every couple of years?
    Thanks for taking the time to reply xcguy, however, I wasn't asking how to avoid getting injured. I was asking about an injury I already have. It seemed fitting to ask here because the OP and the other reply's were similar to my situation. I may have posted in the wrong spot.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtn.skratch View Post
    Thanks for taking the time to reply xcguy, however, I wasn't asking how to avoid getting injured. I was asking about an injury I already have. It seemed fitting to ask here because the OP and the other reply's were similar to my situation. I may have posted in the wrong spot.
    Yeah, well just sayin'...I got real tired of recovering from shoulder injuries, three years in a row. I really don't have time for that anymore. It's been a year of recovery for me without injury from the last one and, hey, I can take off a tee shirt with both arms, I can finally sleep on my left side without excruciating pain, I can shoot baskets and lift weights. I'm kind of getting addicted to being in one piece.
    So it seems to me to be, this thing that I think I see.

  17. #17
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    I`m looking at shoulder surgery in the next couple weeks.Sucks if I have to be off the bike that long

  18. #18
    boxcar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roblee View Post
    I`m looking at shoulder surgery in the next couple weeks.Sucks if I have to be off the bike that long
    It will pass, it does suck, but hang in there

    The injury will just make you stronger with time.

    I hate getting injured, but as I heal and get back on the bike, I find myself loving riding even more, which always stokes me.

  19. #19
    boxcar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcguy View Post
    Yeah, well just sayin'...I got real tired of recovering from shoulder injuries, three years in a row. I really don't have time for that anymore. It's been a year of recovery for me without injury from the last one and, hey, I can take off a tee shirt with both arms, I can finally sleep on my left side without excruciating pain, I can shoot baskets and lift weights. I'm kind of getting addicted to being in one piece.
    Well that is a lot to go through and I hear 'ya. Addictions are tough, addicted to riding, addicted to not getting hurt...they all take their toll one way or another. Hope you feel better and better and get back out there.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by FisherCaliber View Post
    Hi Folks,

    First a little background. I'm 52 years old, have ridden mtn bikes for 12 years and raced motorcycles off road (trials, hare scrambles & motocross) for 35 years. I'm in good physical condition.

    It seems that time has caught up with me. Two weeks ago I had my right ac joint and shoulder scoped. The doc did an expected clavicle resection for ac joint arthritis and a subacromial decompression (to remove a bone spur impinging on my biceps tendon. What we didn't expect was that when he scoped my shoulder I had a torn rotator cuff and labrum. Both were repaired. Right now it's 6 weeks of no use of right arm other than typing/writing to let everything heal. Then serious PT to regain strenght and range of motion.

    SO,

    Who out there has had a torn rct and labrum?? How long before you were able to mountain bike again?

    Thanks!!
    I had a similar injury to yours, complicated by a complete grade 3 tear and 3cm retraction of the supraspinatus muscle, and a major grade 2.5+tear of the infraspinatus muscle. My surgery was too big to be done with a scope. That was in 2008 when I was 56 years old, and now at 60, I'm about 85-90% better. Regular PT was a must, and I also received laser therapy with a Class IV FDA approved therapy laser that greatly enhanced my healing , and sped it up. I was riding 6-8 weeks after the surgery, which involved a good amount of permanent "retained hardware". At that time I fell off a log I was riding in the woods on the UCSD campus, right on that side of my body, and I hit hard enough that my arm impacted against my ribs, cracking two of them. But the hardware held up, and an MRI and arthrogram showed it was still good. The ribs even healed up pretty fast, too, and at my age, I attribute a lot of this success to the laser therapy. It has been shown in evidence-based studies to accelerate the healing of injuries, wounds, and minimize scar tissue/adhesions. I't been FDA-approved since 2003, and as you may know, many practitioners are a bit slow on the uptake when it comes to integrating new modalities into their repertoire.

    I keep doing the rotator cuff strengthening exercises religiously, too, and now I'm back to push ups, (lots of them), and shoulder presses at 90% of what I was doing before the injury.

    So, if somebody my age can heal up this well, with consistent effort, and the right therapies, I think just about anybody else can, too.
    It just takes time.....how long depends on the severity of your injury, your age, and whether or not you comply with doing your part in the recovery process.

    Just learn to listen to your body, don't slack off needlessly, and stay consistent in your recovery efforts. You'll get there.

  21. #21
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    Had RC and labrum done in December. Then has to go back 6 weeks ago and relocate the longhead bicep tendon. Sucks. Do exactly what the pt Guy/girl tells you and be patient. Do ur home therapy every day. Pm me if you have any questions. Good luck.

  22. #22
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    I had decompression and arthritis cleaned up on both shoulders last fall (Sept on the right, Nov. on the left.) I am going back to work tomorrow with restrictions and have been told to stay off trails for a couple of months yet.

    I over-did the stretching and pushed PT and had both shoulders freeze twice. I am so freaking sick of PT and everything that goes with it. The chick doing mine said that with both shoulders freezing, I should expect, "issues" for 2 years.

    I have a fairly physical job and used to ride enduros (motorcycle) and rode bikes to stay in shape for weekend racing.

    Having spent over a year fixing all this and still a couple of months away from being released by to full duty, I am reluctant to consider full out racing. I absolutely do not want to do this again.

  23. #23
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    Forgot some stuff......

    I had tendinitis in both shoulders, minor tears and arthritis. We spent 3 months trying PT to fix it.

    Breaking the scar tissue that caused the frozen shoulders SUCKED.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by barnyard View Post
    Forgot some stuff......

    I had tendinitis in both shoulders, minor tears and arthritis. We spent 3 months trying PT to fix it.

    Breaking the scar tissue that caused the frozen shoulders SUCKED.
    Sure sounds like you've had your share....me too.

    Three weeks ago today, I had yet another OTB going down the same trail, one I ride a 100 times a year. Deja-Vu all over again! Only this time, I only got a mild, grade 1 AC separation, but on the reconstructed shoulder. Also, my face was hamburgured, and my neck got pretty tweaked.

    The face is all healed up, the stitches are out, but that damn shoulder has another 3 weeks or so to go.

    I might take up hiking.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Raton View Post
    Sure sounds like you've had your share....me too.

    Three weeks ago today, I had yet another OTB going down the same trail, one I ride a 100 times a year. Deja-Vu all over again! Only this time, I only got a mild, grade 1 AC separation, but on the reconstructed shoulder. Also, my face was hamburgured, and my neck got pretty tweaked.

    The face is all healed up, the stitches are out, but that damn shoulder has another 3 weeks or so to go.

    I might take up hiking.
    Everyone assumes they'll just keep riding, coming back from an injury "stronger than ever". I told my own self that till my last crash. Three shoulder injuries in three years, a ton of recovery time. I finally just said **** it, I'm tired of being injured. And yeah, I did take up hiking. I was a hiker before I rode mountain bikes. I still have two bikes but they've been collecting dust while I've been enjoying not being injured. YMMV.
    So it seems to me to be, this thing that I think I see.

  26. #26
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    Getting ready to have my 7th surgery in August... 6 knee scopes and now a left shoulder repair that's promising to be rather big and involved. I hit a jump back in April way too fast, landed extremely poorly on my left shoulder (carved a pretty good sized trench with it) and got up in agony covered in dirt rash. Rode another 20 miles back to the car and started popping "Vitamin I" to get the pain under control until I could get into my Ortho.

    End results of the crash include a labrum tear, partial rotator cuff tear (subscalpularis), a selection of small ligament tears that hold the clavical in place and some minor dirt rash. I talk to the doc again tomorrow and start the ball rolling on the eventual surgery. I can still ride (woods and road) as long as I'm careful, pay attention to the pain and back off when it starts to complain so all isn't lost for the summer. For added fun- I'm left handed so this is gonna be a fun 6 month rehab...
    Alea Jacta Est

  27. #27
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    Brace yourself. I had a l. leg tib/fib that fractured in at LEAST 15 places....required permanent hardware, a bone graft, and a bone stimulator to hel. It was NOTHING in terms of pain compared to my shoulder reconstruct.

    I shoulda known that....(I'm in the pain treatment field myself) but experiencing it ids a whole different game.

    Short story.....don't turn down the heavy post-op pain rx offered you on ideological grounds. They come in HANDY.

  28. #28
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    finally had my surgery last Wednesday; everything but the labrum tear has healed thanks to some rather intense pre-op PT. I see the doc of Thursday for the formal report and begin my 6 months of rehab, already got the road bike setup for stationary trainer use once the portals heal up.

    1500 miles of riding and 5 DH sessions (last one was the day before surgery) + a couple of 4000' mtns in NH. Not a bad way to go out eh?
    Alea Jacta Est

  29. #29
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    Me Too!

    Another old guy story, I'm 58. My RC tear was 2 inches, no labrum problems. That is as bad as they can fix and he had to put some 5mm screws in my bone for something to tie the muscle to.
    I am 11 weeks into rehab, my recliner and the ice pump from Amazon are my friends.
    I do inversion daily now that I can.
    I started walking immeadiatly after surgery. Letting my arms swing after the brace was removed made big improvements in my range of motion.
    The pain and frustration is like nothing I have experienced.
    I hope to get on the bike in a few weeks.

    R

  30. #30
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    ice pump?

    rehab didn't offer one to use? are you using a muscle stimulator also? hope the recovery is sooner than expected......

  31. #31
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    Kaiser Sucks!

    Kaiser offered me some zip top ice bags as I was leaving. LOL
    My wife sells Alpha-Stim, it is something like a tens unit.
    They are used by NFL and NBA.

    Kaiser turned me down for MRI, TWICE!
    I had to get my own MRI, $550.
    Now they refuse to pay me back for my out of pocket expenses.
    They say I didn't follow the rules. WTF

    Time to start my rehab circut, walk/PT/ice.

    R

  32. #32
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    27 here. Went through seven years of recurrent dislocations before finally having the opportunity to get it fixed up proper. Had a scoped Bankart repair for a torn labrum done with four anchors this past May.

    Surgery for me was a breeze. I had VERY little pain in comparison to the pain of dislocations. I had the surgery on a Thursday and was able to stop taking the prescribed oxy by Saturday. A real relief after everyone was preparing me for the worst!

    Four months out and things are going very well. I was given the okay by my surgeon to start biking at three months out, but to play it safe, keep it conservative, and listen to my body and most importantly, don't fall. I actually held off another few weeks and just hopped on the bike for the first time yesterday. A 45 minute ride on intermediate singletrack was about my safe limit as towards the end, I started to get some soreness and fatigue.

    Range of motion has been great. The only slow to come back direction has been external rotation, however, according to my surgeon, this SHOULD be slow to return, and may not be 100% for up to 18 months from surgery. Both my surgeon and my PT advised me that if I had full external range of motion at three months out, that they would be extremely concerned about the repair holding up. Right now, it's about 90% and improving almost daily. All said though, I have MUCH more functioning ability in my shoulder than I have had for the past seven years. I can even throw overhand for the first time since my first dislocation.

    Best of luck in your recovery. As my surgeon told me going in, "I am only 30% responsible for the outcome of this procedure. The other 70% is on you and physical therapy."
    2005 Cannondale Jekyll with Manitou Minute Super 140mm

  33. #33
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    12 weeks in!

    Went in for my 12 week evaluation. I am finally a few weeks ahead on rehab!
    I am still fragile and need to be smart for a while longer.
    I am doing better, but the results are slow coming. LOL

    I agree w/ 30% surgon and 70% rehab, but it helps to start off w/good surgery!

    R

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