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Thread: Rotator Cuff Tear-need the advice of fellow athletes

  1. #1

    Rotator Cuff Tear-need the advice of fellow athletes

    I am posting this here instead of "care" or wherever because I want some feedback from any athletes that have experienced this.

    I tore my rotator cuff skiing this winter. It is pretty painful and has limited my function (wheeling, getting dressed, off-season training, etc.). I can only raise my arm about 90 degrees and it definately keeps me up. My MD definately doesn't want to do surgery because I won't be ready to race next season nor will I be able to function while it heals. He recommends PT for now.

    The problem? I have training camp (Mt Hood) in two weeks. I have not reallt done anything physical that I usually do...swim, handcycle, waterski...because I don't want it to become more painful. My doc doesn't feel I will make the tear worse, but I will increase my pain.

    Has anyone had this injury? Is there any hope that just PT will work? How did you rehab and get back to your regular athletic routine/training?
    "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." - My Grammie

  2. #2
    Hey Aidan! Sorry about your shoulder - rotator cuff injuries hurt! I'm no athlete by any stretch of the imagination, but I've had multiple rotator cuff repairs on both shoulders. It's not fun!

    Yes, if you start out with strong arms, with dedicated PT it's very possible to avoid surgery. BUT, I would talk to the PT about your upcoming training camp and limits regarding your shoulder. Shoulder injuries take a while to heal and can be easily inflamed. Does your Orthopaedic doc specialize in Sports medicine? If you get a good PT that works with athletes he can advise you regarding camp and limits.

    All of my shoulder surgeries have been arthroscopic. Unless the tear is too deep, the tear is abraded, (buffed and smoothed out), of the cuff (muscle), you're in PT within a week, and looking at a few months of recovery if all goes well.

    PT is key to avoiding further injury and surgery! I would get started ASAP!

    Good luck, Aidan! Keep me posted!

    T
    Incomplete, SCI, T1-T8, w/ Arachnoid Cyst. Bilateral shoulder surgeries, 2 on the left, 3 on the right, right forearm surgery for a crushed radial nerve.

    "We can always choose to perceive things differently. We can focus on what's wrong in our life, or we can focus on what's right."
    — Marianne Williamson

  3. #3
    I am not a trained athlete but have over 40 years experience in wheeling. I would not do surgery unless absolutely necessary. I've had injuries since 08 and they still hurt but PT has helped a great deal. If you over do exercise it can do more damage so you need to start out slow. I do about 30 min. of shoulder exercises every morning, if I wouldn't I would not be able to do transfers or wheel my own chair. An injection may help for pain but it won't fix the tear. Good luck!

  4. #4
    Careful of the injections; they eventually turn your tendons and such to mush. I've torn of the longheads to both biceps, spinatus rips and tears anw who knows what else. I think I had too many injections and finally made them what they are today.
    If you are in great pain, get one, if not, don't. Use them veryt sparingly.

  5. #5
    aidan.....
    Yes...I tore my rotator cuff in 2007 and had it repaired in early 2008
    I've been doing marathons on a handcycle since 2005...and live in So Cal.

    First and foremost...get a Dr. that knows what he is doing..especially with wheelchair athletes. My Dr. was Russell Petrie in Newport Beach. Only rotator cuff Dr. that is better works in New York.
    I tried the PT route and it did nothing but irritate it and I had to drop out of the Long Beach Marathon.
    Made the decision to get it repaired and it was the best decision I ever made.

    He did a tremendous job and now my right shoulder feels like it did when I was 20 yrs old. Full strength back and no pain.
    Immobilized for 6 weeks post surgery and in a motorized chair. Use a hoyer lift to get in and out of bed and into chair...bowels and showering.
    Then start PT..
    BE PATIENT...DO NOT RUSH THE PT. Being an athlete I wanted to get out as quick as I could. But if you don't follow the recommendations it just won't heal correctly.
    Overall...recovery time is about 3-4 months depending on how you do in PT.

    Cappy

  6. #6
    i tore mine in 2011 2 weeks b4 a marathon. i had it shot up and did the race., for me the motion from the handcycle was just what i needed. i had mine shot up for 3 months, kenalog inj. with local in it. huge help. i did 3 more marathons that summer, lots of 800 mg motrin. mine is back to 90% which im fine with. i trained hard through it, just backed off heavy weight and my wife drove for 2 months, thats how i hurt it, driver side transfer. never let them cut, you'll be done. many bodybuildeers train through these as well.
    pain is just weakness leaving the body.
    Bike-on.com rep
    John@bike-on.com
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
    sponsored handcycle racer

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by fuentejps View Post
    i tore mine in 2011 2 weeks b4 a marathon. i had it shot up and did the race., for me the motion from the handcycle was just what i needed. i had mine shot up for 3 months, kenalog inj. with local in it. huge help. i did 3 more marathons that summer, lots of 800 mg motrin. mine is back to 90% which im fine with. i trained hard through it, just backed off heavy weight and my wife drove for 2 months, thats how i hurt it, driver side transfer. never let them cut, you'll be done. many bodybuildeers train through these as well.
    pain is just weakness leaving the body.
    Recommend you keep handcycling and weights but get van w 6 way pwr seats or drive from chair. IMO, most chronic injuries start w big, hard transfers, not sports. The injury then keeps getting worse as you repeat the transfer which was the original cause. I think if you make efforts to eliminate these transfers you can use sports activities to retain maximum conditioning over time. Life with sci is a long haul, use any adaptive equipment including a pwr chair which will let you enjoy what you love as long as possible.

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