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  1. #1
    Tough Guy Extraordinaire
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    Separated Shoulder

    I recently seperated my shoulder and was curious as to how long other folks let theirs heal before getting back on their knobbies. It's getting a bit chilly and dark to early for the road bike and I am jonesing for some night time missions in the woods.

    I saw my sports med guy and he was pretty vague as to how long to stay off it. He indicated that it was a pretty bad separation, but not bad enough to cut me open. He also didn't think that I needed any type of rehab, but I would like to work on rebuilding some of the surrounding muscles.

    Any advice on this is great

  2. #2
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    Your age is going to play a factor in the healing process. The younger you are, the quicker you're going to heal. Do you ice often? How did they put it back in? Are you doing physical therapy? etc.

    I dislocated my shoulder at age 37. A dislocation, is a more extensive injury than a separation, according to Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dis...ulder/DS00597).
    I was back on my bike in 4 weeks and entered the Sea Otter Classic 5 weeks after the injury.

    It's popped out, playing with the kids, skiing and biking since. Luckily I know of an easy way of putting it back in place.

    Surgery should be a last resort! Two years ago, I starting lifting weights and after 6 months, all the pain in my shoulder went away. I can even to pull-ups

  3. #3
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    I had myself a grade 3 AC seperation at the end of August. I began road riding my bike about 2 weeks later. 4 weeks after the injury, I was riding fireroad and flowy single track, carefull of what I was doing. Now, mid October, I'm back to where I was before doing techy and gravity trails, keeping crashing hard in hind sight. Still to this day, my shoulder is still very weak, having little of the strength I used to have. Its quite embarassing going to the gym and not being able to bench the bar! Just keep at it, it's a long recovery...

    The X-ray

    My collarbone visibly forming a bump on my shoulder with my chest tube scar from the same crash
    I live in Maine and I hate lobster.

  4. #4
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    I've stopped icing, but I still take some ibuprofin to keep the swelling down. I'm 33, so not that much younger than when you dislocated yours. I also am an avid rock climber and have been for about 15 years, so my shoulders muscles should be in pretty decent shape.

    I'm hoping to not wait 6 months before I can climb again! Otherwise it will be a long cold winter!

  5. #5
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    Same Boat

    I separated my shoulder on the 30th of September. Doc said its a level 2 and that I should take it easy, puts me in a sling and so on. I did a 150 mile road ride the next Saturday (the 6th). Throbbed pretty badly afterward but still the same. Still have not been back out on the trails, although I had planned a 40 mile solo through the Womble this past Monday. Thunderstorms put an end to that thought. In all, riding movement does not bother my shoulder. But something as simple as reaching across and pulling my seatbelt on hurts to no end. By the way I just turned 39. Don't know if this adds anything to what you wanted to know but you know what they say, misery loves company! You're not alone!

    How I did this to myself should be posted in the "Lamest Biking Injury Ever" post.

  6. #6
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    Mine was pretty bad and my mobility for the first week or so sucked. I was by myself and had to drive my manual transmission truck about 1.5 hours home in rush hour traffic! This was tough! Had to shift with my left hand.

    Although, I did it on a Tuesday and did a 50 mile road ride on the following Sunday. Lots of advil and any bumps were shooting pain. Also, could only pick up my water bottles with my left hand and forget about getting anything ou of my jersey. Tried to stay away from climbing too many hills. It made me dizzle to get up on the bars. Four weeks out I did, a 65 mile Sunday that was at a pretty decent pace with lots of climbing. Not much pain, just some overall soreness at the end of the day.

    General movement doesn't give me much pain, although pulling up on the bars causes immediate shooting pain and lingering soreness. Jolts and bumps are kind of tough also. First time I get back on the knobbies I'm going to set my suspension to be pretty soft!

    Hoping to get out on some flowy single track next weekend. Lucky for me, my riding buddies wouln't let me get back on my knobbies for a bit or I would be in for surgery.

    How nice is your bump?

  7. #7
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    Had shoulder surgery last Sept, Bankhart (sp?) procedure. I had repeatedly dislocated my left shoulder to the point the tendons were stretched out. They tightened them up, and I was skiing by December. I fell very hard, of course on my shoulder, it hurt like hell, but now, a year later, playing softball all summer long, it's better than it's been in over 20 years.
    Just so you know, recovery from shoulder surgery is long and painful. At least for what I had done.

  8. #8
    sac
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    looks like the both of us are out for a while. I just dislocated my shoulder from falling off a log ramp. Got any X-rays to share with the rest of us?

  9. #9
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    I did the same thing, damn near 2 mo. ago now. Went airborne on my maiden voyage on my SS (heh...). I babied it the 1st month, but it just was staying the same. So, I've started lifting weights again-real wienie weights, about a fourth to a third of my weights pre injury. Hurts sometimes while I'm doing it, but feels better after I'm done, so I'm feeling mildly encouraged. I'd say just go real light, and see how it goes. Ligaments don't like being stretched, and they don't go back the way they were.

  10. #10
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    Separated my shoulder in Moab three weeks ago. Did it on a Friday and asked the docotor at the hospital there if I can ride. She told me it's not a good idea but if I can handle the pain I could as long as I didn't crash again. So I rode the next two days. Did Porcupine Rim the last day. I winced the entire ride then immediately got in my car and drove home for five hours. I was in so much pain the next day I could barely stand it at work.

    Managed to get the crash on tape too. Such a dumb crash. Here it is feel free to laugh at me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5uh8E4qlZ8

  11. #11
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    Done both of mine...

    Both times...mountain biking. One, the left, came out and went back in as I rolled during a crash. Actually, it was the second one that I did.
    The first, the right, over the bars while doing a fallen log that I had done SO many times before...oooh. The crunch. Hearing it inside of my body more so than out. Three inches outside of the "Y process"
    So. Completed everything that they asked me to do at PT. Doc wanted to see how I fared there before surgery. Did I mention the "new technique" that they used to "quickly" put it back in when at the ER. The one where they DIDN'T put me out?

    Used to play a lot of baseball. Not softball. Adult leagues, etc. Used to be a catcher. Could gun the ball down to second base from my knees. No more of that!

    Mine, to this day, gives me trouble over the horizontal plane of my shoulder (when reaching anything over my head) OR when reaching anywhere behind the vertical plane of my shoulder. (when reaching behind me....as in, when reaching BEHIND the car seat while driving to hand my daughter a snack, etc....you get the picture.)

    BUT, otherwise, in a "riding postition", it doesn't bother me much....despite no surgery to loop and shorten anything to tighten things up. Do I worry about not having anything more than a "catch" with my two little girls if they get into softball? Yeah! Then, maybe I'll get it fixed.
    BUT, I've had too many customers get a "frozen shoulder" condition after surgery. I'm a pharmacist and talk to a lot of folks post surg.

    Anyway...just my two cents!
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  12. #12
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    Wow that's an awesome xray.

  13. #13
    sac
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigerwah

    Managed to get the crash on tape too. Such a dumb crash. Here it is feel free to laugh at me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5uh8E4qlZ8

    hehe didnt looks so bad until you showed your red shoulder. where was that giant rock you rode?

  14. #14
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    Bartlett Wash in Moab. It's hard to tell from the video but that was easily the hardest crash I've ever had. It was such a hard impact. The helmet was cracked in multiple places I tossed it when I got home.

  15. #15
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    I had a 2nd Degree shoulder separation around the 1st week of October.

    Although it was recommended that I isolate my arm/shoulder for at least 2 weeks, I would, under the supervision of my own in-house physician (my girlfriend who is a doctor), go through a range of motion routine as soon as the day after the separation.

    I started using small cans of peas and corn and then progressed to 2.5 lb weights and so on doing as many shoulder related movements that would test its range of motion on a daily basis. It was a painful yet entertaining 45 minutes each day.

    The result? I was back on the road bike after a few days, the mountain bike in 1.5 weeks doing 21 mile XC rides with extended downhills, and dirt jumping on my bmx after 2 weeks (any jumps that I cased felt like I was being stabbed by an ice pick deep within my shoulder).

    Fast forward to today, about two months later, I'm back to where I was for general road/mountain cycling. Any drops over 4 or 5 feet and still feel a bit of a twinge here and there, and I occasionally get some soreness if I sleep on the bum shoulder for too long.

    For perspective, I'm 29 and have been riding/racing since 1993. I'm very well in tune with what my body can tolerate recovery-wise, and I keep a close eye on anything that is even remotely beyond the common cold. I'm not saying that anyone should ignore the advice of you physician, but do keep in mind that most physicians will make a recommendation based on the average person (in most parts of the U.S., fat, and sedentary). So, if you are healthy enough to participate in this sport, I wouldn't get too discouraged with the recovery times you are given.

  16. #16
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    I'm 39 and had bad crash 2 years ago that left me with a seperated shoulder and a chipped up elbow . It go somewhat better after 3 months so I started riding again. Still had weakness and pain even after a year and a half. One thing that helped me the most is that I stopped lifting weights and using the machines and focused on body weight and pilates, limited dumbell exercises. I'm pretty much 100 percent now and feel stronger than ever.

  17. #17
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    hmm

    Think I got seen off on my shoulder injury.

    FEB 05

    Landed on the crown of the shoulder snowboarding on the courchavel side of three valleys in France - about 30 miles by road from where I wanted to be. Managed to get the cable car back to the top with an impromptu inspection conducted half stripped off in the cabin. Snowboarded back down to the meribel side with my arm pretty much immobile from pain.
    [The sensible thing would have been to casevac off at that point!]

    Walked back to the chalet to dump gear before going to the clinic. Walking back with a buddy who went straight over on ice just outside the chalet. As he got up he reminded me not to do the same - which is exactly what I did. managed to turn like a cat [yea right] and land on the "good" shoulder. Pain was still indescribable - well actually it was like a hot rod going straight through my chest from side to side. Not afraid to say I cried at that point.

    X-ray from a barely legible French doctor, pain killers and the rest of the week spent under drugs and Mutzig (8% French beer). All good.

    Expected a 8-12 week recovery. France and UK did not seem to do grade X bragging rights.

    On return to the UK got a bit of physio (6 weeks) from work and decided not to bother national health service. big mistake. Long shot was that 4 months later i could still not ride a road bike, let alone do anything useful which involved putting force through the arm if it was extended in anyway or any orientation.

    Oct 05 was able to start commuting on the road bike again but only because I had gone with my regular private physio who thought i should have seriouly been examined for surgery.

    Feb 06 back to being able to mountaineer / carry a pack but still weak.

    All of this time unable to sleep on it and if I did I would wake up in cramp/spasm with joint appearing to have collapsed inwards.

    Very light high rep weights aimed at rotation.

    Oct 06 still painful to reach behind to put on a seat belt, do a 'dip' getting out of the bath.

    Start mountain biking again.

    Mar 07 Start weight training again about a third what used to bench

    Dec 07 back to my old training regime (22 months) with the exception of a much more balanced lifting program, really concentrating on the lower lats the aim being to ensure that the shoulder is stabilised and held in position [too many beach weights previously]. lump which was the size of an egg just about gone but still sometimes painful to sleep on.

    Up shot is I think it is just about better and am contemplating playing rugby again but still shy of full on shoulder contacts.

    What i am trying to say is I think there is a lot of variance out there on injury severity and complication. For the record at the time of the accident I was a commando trained reservist in the Royal Marines and probably had as strong an upper body as most people though the flexibility was never that good. In short

    Find a decent sports physio, if you do it overseas get it checked when you return (scan/xray whatever) and if you do it properly come to terms with the fact that you will not be doing a lot of things for a long time.

  18. #18
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    Had a grade 3 separation seven years ago when I was 30. It took me about three months to be fully recovered. Still hurt a little bit when skiing. I didn't need surgery but I really believe the key to a quick and complete recovery was physical therapy. Today I dont have any problems at all. I just look a little crooked with that bump on my shoulder! That will be there forever. Good luck dude!

  19. #19
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    I separated my left shoulder and broke 2 ribs crashing on Les Houches in Chamonix, France in 2005. I was off the bike for over a month with the broken ribs but if it wasn't for the ribs, I would have been back on the bike earlier than that.
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  20. #20
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    physical therapy

    Level 3 separation here, my entire upper body was yellow/purple for a month after the wreck. I think about full body armor every time my shoulder pops or gets really sore .

    I was on the trainer for months...

    Go to physical therapy and work on all the supporting muscles. Start it as soon as the doc let you, be dilligent and the work will pay off. Trust me here, putting it off does not make recovery easier!!!

    Good luck!!!!

  21. #21
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    I went through shoulder surgery about five years ago, because I dislocated my shoulder something like 20-30 times doing martial arts, and a few times even while on bike. After the surgery and rehabilitation the shoulder was as good as new. However, I still continue with shoulder strengthening excersises with rubber band, for the peace of mind and preventing new injuries. They really make a big difference, and would recommend them to anyone who wants to make their shoulders stronger and thus more resilient to injuries.

  22. #22
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    Holy Crap I couldn't move my effin arm for like a month after my separation. Couldn't ride without pain for another 4 months. My advise would just be to go to rehab therapy once you can move it if insurance covers it. Do the exercises they give you just to stabilize it. I didn't go and over a year later that thing is rolling around and poppin like crazy. That bump won't go away either you're gonna be lopsided for life
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  23. #23
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    Seems to be a good thread to add my experience to it:
    Dislocated shoulder badly now one month ago. I followed the advice of the doctor and PT to keep it in a sling for 3 weeks. Lost a lot of muscle already after 1,5 week, arm felt really numb and weak. The PT had me do little exercises to keep the joint mobile and after week 3 it felt good out of the sling.
    No full range yet, I think keeping it down in a sling for so long does exactly what you expect, serious weakening/shortening of upper shoulder muscle. Now carefully doing exercises for other muscles. Intend to hop on the bike only if I'm able to lift the same weight or better than before I fell. Really want to make sure I didn't as much as possible to prevent another dislocation.

  24. #24
    TJR
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    Good luck to everyone with the shoulder issues I feel your pain. I dislocated my left shoulder when I was 16 doing a 80 ft. quarry jump. 10 years, countless dislocations, and 2 shoulder surgeries later I am about to have a third surgery. Because I have dislocated so many times the ball in my shoulder has a big dent in it( the Dr. said it looked looked Pac Man) so they are going to cut the bone and rotate the ball so the dent is facing the other way. Then they will run a rod down the top to hold it all together. This was all gonna go down this December but I busted my collarbone in 3 places on the fourth of July. So I got a sweet stainless steel plate and 6 screws on the right collarbone. So the shoulder surgery is on hold until I heal from this one. I hope to be back on my bike in the next month or so.. .

  25. #25
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    TJR, yowwie. your "pacman" is fairly common with an anterior (pop out front) dislocation. it is called a hilsack lesion (sp). mine actually wasn't just a smiley, it chipped a chunk out. your experience with repeating dislocations is also pretty common since you were young when you were originally injured. i have not heard of such a surgery to relocate the head of the humerus. sounds involved. good luck. bummed to read all these shoulder threads...guess it isn't too surprising in this sport. not fun.....but better than the two guys i have seen have to bail out of their whitewater kayaks and swim class 5 rapids with one arm flapping in the wind....ugh.

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