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  1. #1
    Lez go.
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    shoulder surgery

    Injured my shoulder a month ago playing basketball, and MRIs show a tear of the anterior-inferior labrum with a small glenoid articular cartilage defect. Options were to have it scoped or try therapy for 4-6 weeks first. Right now I can ride pretty rugged XC trails with only minor discomfort when I shift my weight and torque that arm -- just can't lift my arm straight out and to the rear. After a month, the shoulder hasn't gotten any better or worse.

    For this surgery, the dr is somewhat conservative and estimates 3-6 months recovery time. I've read as little as 2 months, especially since I don't have any instability issues with the injury (which some say allows an easier recovery).

    Even though I can ride without problems, I do ride DH spring-fall and have a lot of spills where I reach my arm out to stop the fall, so I'm opting to have the surgery next week. I've heard of some long recovery times for bad rotator cuff and reconstructive shoulder surgery. Anyone have this specific tear and how long was your recovery time?
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  2. #2
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    Shoulders can be tough...

    I have a friend who finally had his shoulder scoped. His injury was similar to yours. He got hooked on rock climbing and started to have more pain as he pursued this interest. The surgery was tough. He had bruising that looked like he fell off a mountain onto his shoulder. But he is also a PT, so he adhered to the therapy schedule better than most people. His fitness level was excellent before the surgery as well. The surgery helped and he is back to activities again. It did take a few months though.

    I can't really say if you should or shouldn't have the scope done. If it is still bothering you after trying therapy, chances are you need to have it done. Since everybody is different, there's no guarantee it will be 100% again. I found that out after my knee scopes. You may have to ride differently (XC?) for a while until your shoulder feels up to more aggressive riding. Make sure to get a few opinions as well before you decide. Stay positive during the recovery phase.

    Being hurt sucks, I hope things go well for you. Good luck and let us know how you make out.

  3. #3
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    I had a similar injury from motocross though maybe not has extensive as what you detailed. PT only made it worse and I had to have surgury. They were able to do it with only 3 small isncisions (sp?) after 1 month of not being alowed to move it, he had me doing everything I could. Back on bike within one week of that last visit. Arm fine for riding now though I do not have the same range of motion as my other arm but I might be able to improve that if I were better about stretching! From what I understand it best to fix this type of injury the best way possible from the get go to avoid it just getting worse. Just my $.02.

  4. #4
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    Update: had the surgery 10 days ago. Turned out to be a good move b/c one he went in with the scope, there was also a posterior tear that didn't show up on the MRI. Bolted/sutured the anterior tear, cleaned up the posterior, and cleaned up the cartilage injury.

    Sling, ice, and good meds for a week, and now I'm into my first week of therapy and it's going better than expected. Saw the doc yesterday and said I had really good range of motion and probably won't get stiffness down the line if I keep up the PT. I don't even need to wear the sling most of the time.

    Bottom line: I read so many different opinions on whether or not to get surgery. In the end, I told the doc to make the decision for me. It turned out to be the right decision b/c it wouldn't have healed on its own.
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  5. #5
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    Hope you have a speedy recovery!

    Hi Mega T,

    Glad to hear you had a successful surgery. Sounds as if you had a fantastic Ortho Surgeon. I had both shoulder operated on.......right was an open procedure and the left was arthroscopic. I had pretty much the same problems that you had with your surgery on my left side. It's been almost seven years and everything's been great! Keep up with your rehab, and you'll be good in no time!

  6. #6
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    Glad to hear that things are going well!!

  7. #7
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    Take it easy on your recovery

    I PTd my way out of having surgery a few years ago but I didn't have any big tears needing repairing. Since you have already dodged several big bullets by having a successful surgery and for now no complications and good range of motion--here comes the hard part. Don't get cocky about your recovery therapy. Now's the time to do all the things the doc and PT person says, take it real slow--a setback now would really suck. Good you listened to your doc.

  8. #8
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    don't forget... the rest of your biking life you will NEED to spend extra time in the gym off season. i have had knee surgeries galore, but my shoulder surgery was by far the hardest to come back from. if i miss even a couple weeks of gym time i can't DH at all, but if i keep up properly i can ride just like old times.
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  9. #9
    Viva Las Peli Taco
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    Had shoulder surgery on my left shoulder a year ago, and it's better than my "good" shoulder... no pain, full range of motion once again, glad I had it done!!!!

  10. #10
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    I had my second shoulder repaired 3 weeks ago. 3.5cm complete tear in the supraspinatus(sp?) tendon, reattached to the humerous, and acromion decomp. This was performed through an open procedure. I had the exact same thing done in 2003 with my right shoulder, same surgeon. I had complete success with the right one, so I figured better get my left one done while I am still young(35yrs.) Both cases were brought on by many years of heavy over head work, day after day(repetetive strain syndrome).
    So far, my range of motion is increasing every day, and the pain factor has pretty much diminished. Only problem is, I developed an infection shortly after my operation. This is being treated with Cephalexin(antibiotic). This is a major downer, seeing I still need to wear a dressing that needs to be changed daily. The drainage has decreased alot compared to 2 weeks ago, but never the less, a royal pain. Has anyone else experienced this? What can I expect? I see my surgeon this afternoon, so I will repost later. Statistic's say only 1-2% of patients ever experince an infection.(guess I just got lucky )
    Also do your shoulders a big favor, and learn how to take a fall. Never out stretch an arm when you go down. Try to tuck in, and "ball up"(just like judo).
    Don't be discouraged, you'll be hammering before you know it. I was riding lightly only a month or so after my last shoulder surgery. Just be carefull, and take it real easy.
    FWIW, this is my fifth, and hopefully last surgery.(L4,L5,S1 spinal decomp. in 2000, L&R hand median nerve decomp., and both shoulders now). Can you say short lived, bad carreer choice. You can't turn back time, so live and learn. Ride On!

  11. #11
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    Wow, you're bringing back horrible memories! I had a full thickness tear in my supraspinatus of my right shoulder (open) and a partial with my left (arthroscopic). I also had a microdiscectomy on my L4-5 this past October! The open procedure is a nightmare to begin with, so I'm sorry to hear about the infection! I had an infection with a inguinal hernia back in 2000, so I feel for you! Keep me posted on your progress, and best of luck with things. Time will fly, and you'll be out on the trails in no time!

  12. #12
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    Thanks Trojan. Do you recall how long your infection lasted(drainage)? Was it caught right away? How was it treated? Ride On.

  13. #13
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    Luckily, I was in the hospital and the infection was caught right away. I was hospitalized for six nights, plus one night in the ER. I really don't recall a whole lot from that time because I was pretty much flying high (thank you morphine), but I was getting antibiotics through the IV!

  14. #14
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    So the Doc say's it could take another 2 weeks to clear up . He's keeping me on the same antibiotic for that time. If it doesn't clear up he'll switch my drugs then. Man I really hope it does. Dressing changes, and keeping it dry while showering(washing) is a real pain in the arse!! He also say's, if it was a serious, deep(bone) infection I'd know it.(pain,swelling, fever, worsening condition). It definetely feels like it's improving. Let's hope. Ride On.

  15. #15
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    had surgery today... pills rules! (ok, ididn't take any yet...)

    I'm hoping everything will be Ok! Doctot appointement in 5 days... Right now i don't feel a thing... still uner the thing they shooted right into my nervs! (thumb still fuzzy...) Dr. is real positive... he says i'll be on the bike quickly... Told him i went riding last night for 2 hours... He laughed and called me crazy (snowy trails of about 4in of very packed snw... temps in low 20s, high teens)

    I don't remember what was wrong with my shoulder... it popped out 6 times... didn't hear of tears... just loose ligaments... was done trough arthroscopic...

    I figured a neat way to hrlp me opening the lazy-boy with the left hand (lever on right)... i ve attached a rope to the handle... looped it around a pole (i live in a basement)... and back to the left side! Pretty neat! I'll film it later...

    this post took 2 hours to type w/ 1 hand!!!! lol!
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  16. #16
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    Yikes! Surgery today!!

    Quote Originally Posted by BigJay
    had surgery today... pills rules! (ok, ididn't take any yet...)

    I'm hoping everything will be Ok! Doctot appointement in 5 days... Right now i don't feel a thing... still uner the thing they shooted right into my nervs! (thumb still fuzzy...) Dr. is real positive... he says i'll be on the bike quickly... Told him i went riding last night for 2 hours... He laughed and called me crazy (snowy trails of about 4in of very packed snw... temps in low 20s, high teens)

    I don't remember what was wrong with my shoulder... it popped out 6 times... didn't hear of tears... just loose ligaments... was done trough arthroscopic...

    I figured a neat way to hrlp me opening the lazy-boy with the left hand (lever on right)... i ve attached a rope to the handle... looped it around a pole (i live in a basement)... and back to the left side! Pretty neat! I'll film it later...

    this post took 2 hours to type w/ 1 hand!!!! lol!
    The day of a person's surgery is surreal--before, having to fast and not drink water for what seems like forever, the going into the pre-op room, the knowing you're gonna go under and knowing it's inevitable. The crossing of fingers that everything comes out OK--I've been there,
    BiJjay, just five months ago (wrist). The friend who took me to the hospital said when you walk through the hospital door--just let go. It's going to happen, don't stress, just let go. It worked for me. And here you are, alive, on your way to recovery, trying to figure ways to make your post-op life workable. And typing with one hand sucks, doesn't it? Good luck. I'm not one to take pills for pain, I figure the pain lets me know I'm alive. But my doc told me to take the Vicodin on schedule and keep ahead of the pain. She said if the body is fighting the pain it's not concentrating on healing, so drug up for now and ease off later. I looked at her and said Huh? but did what she said. It wasn't so bad being pain free, but I got off of them as soon as the pain actually did subside. Again, good luck and keep us informed as to your progress!
    Last edited by xcguy; 02-02-2007 at 04:23 PM.

  17. #17
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    I might be a GIMP buti'm still creative!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aetr0hSYarE

    (my gf tought it was funny..so we filmed it for your viewing pleasure!`)
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  18. #18
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    Shoulder surgery sucks big time! Good luck with the recovery, and keep up with the rehab. Also.........take the drugs!!!!!! I've had both shoulder operated on........after I had my left one scoped, the medication made me a little delusional - delusional being that I thought I wasn't in any serious pain any longer and no longer needed to take the pills. Holy $hit, what those things wore off...............misery! Isn't the nerve block after surgery trippy?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by trojaninsomniac
    Shoulder surgery sucks big time! Good luck with the recovery, and keep up with the rehab. Also.........take the drugs!!!!!! I've had both shoulder operated on........after I had my left one scoped, the medication made me a little delusional - delusional being that I thought I wasn't in any serious pain any longer and no longer needed to take the pills. Holy $hit, what those things wore off...............misery! Isn't the nerve block after surgery trippy?
    Yeah, i'm taking the pills... And yeah, the nerve block was freaky! Scary also!
    ADSVMQ :: Quebec mountain bike trail advocacy group www.ADSVMQ.org

  20. #20
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    I had shoulder surgery a month ago. I also had the nerve block. When I left the hospital I had a litte feeling in my right hand later that night I had no feeling in it. the next mornig the feeling returned. I wasn't to concerned about, I was high on pain killers. A little concerning though.

  21. #21
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    Today i'm 8 week post-op.

    I got lots of amplitude. I was given the OK to bike... relaxed... cycle path only and for only 30min. The PT really helps! I'm still off work... Returning part-time next week. I even started sleeping without the brace! Things are looking really positive!

    The first month was a pain... but the last month has been nothing but promissing... and depressive at the same time... You can do more and more each day... but you're still stuck at home doing nothing much...

    During my recovery, i went snowshoeing once a week. Now i try and go biking 30min every other day. At least i'm getting SOME exercice... I already put on 5-10lbs... But at least i'm feeling better and better each day!

    Good luck to anyone who's been through this... It only gets easier with time!
    ADSVMQ :: Quebec mountain bike trail advocacy group www.ADSVMQ.org

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