gettin old shoulder pain ?

Salinity

Well-Known Member
May 11, 2016
825
607
USA Rhode Island
I had shoulder surgery last year. Back surfing in 3 months. Rotator cuff repair with 80% detachment. Almost to full strength now. Keeps improving. I have to express my gratitude to a great orthopedic surgeon who specializes in shoulders. I am 58. Shoulder pain started 10 years ago or more. I have had 5 or 6 shots in it to keep the pain away but all the while the bone spurs caused damage.
Just to be clear, by 80% you mean it was a partial thickness repair (not full thickness)? Did they use anchors to pull and anchor any part of the tendon to the bone? From what I understand 3 months is an amazingly short time to be back doing anything after RC repair, so that’s pretty amazing.
 

steeltoe

Member
Jan 30, 2020
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28
ECF
Just to be clear, by 80% you mean it was a partial thickness repair (not full thickness)? Did they use anchors to pull and anchor any part of the tendon to the bone? From what I understand 3 months is an amazingly short time to be back doing anything after RC repair, so that’s pretty amazing.
He used anchors and my Doc was impressed that I was surfing that quick. I am not sure exactly what all he did and how but the xray showed an anchor with three sutors in parallel tied down to it. The sutors look like little ropes. He had me in physical therapy the day after surgery. I couldn't even raise my arm at all for many days after surgery......without the help of my other arm. I followed the therapists program and did pt at home. It was not a fun experience at all. Now I am so happy.
 

Salinity

Well-Known Member
May 11, 2016
825
607
USA Rhode Island
That’s interesting and I’m glad to hear about your full (and anomalously speedy) recovery. As I understand it, when anchors are used, the biggest risk in the first 4-6 weeks is damaging the repair (bone doesn’t completely incorporate the anchor until +\- 28d). Fairly certain I’ll be immobilized for 6 weeks (save for showering, dressing and any passive PT), with at least another 6 weeks of not bearing any weight on the repaired side.
 

Surfnfish

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Feb 6, 2015
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The standard for complete detachment repair is for the arm to be completely immobalized for the first six weeks post-op , held tight against the chest in the sling. Than 6 to 10 weeks of range of movement rehab with the PT, than transition to home program. A year for complete recovery.

The amount of anchors and sutures used during full detachment repair depends on how much of the tendon 'stub' is still attached to the bone...with a long, healthy stub the detached tendon can be stretched over the stub and joined together = solid bond and faster recovery.
If the stub is short and badly frayed, the tendon must be stretched and pinned directly to the bone. This creates a more precarious bond until the tendon and bone finally fuse, and having shortened the natural length of the tendon makes recovery much tougher as recovering a full range of motion will not occur until the tendon has been 'stretched' through PT - that was the story on my right shoulder, and it was a tough haul back. Swimming laps, my usual go to, was how I regained full range of motion and shoulder strength, and had to wait 9 months to do that.

in 01', got caught up boarding back country Tahoe when a face slid and took me for a ride...full detached left pec, partial tear of the left rotator. Had the pec and rotator repaired at the same time, rotator just a matter of overwrapping and securing the tear, recovery much easier, back in the water in 9 months. 6 pins between rotator and pec.

The key with shoulder issues is getting a sports med ortho workup, find out the specific problem. Getting some problems fixed earlier vs later can make all the difference, and many can be resolved through a directed PT program.

Good luck Salinity, just another speed bump on the road...part of the journey.
 
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steeltoe

Member
Jan 30, 2020
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ECF
That’s interesting and I’m glad to hear about your full (and anomalously speedy) recovery. As I understand it, when anchors are used, the biggest risk in the first 4-6 weeks is damaging the repair (bone doesn’t completely incorporate the anchor until +\- 28d). Fairly certain I’ll be immobilized for 6 weeks (save for showering, dressing and any passive PT), with at least another 6 weeks of not bearing any weight on the repaired side.
I have heard other locals talking about their shoulder repairs. I know some Doctors do not do PT until later in recovery as you mention. My doctor is the opposite. I was doing PT right away. He was firm on the therapist he wanted me to work with. I did PT twice a week right away and it lasted past the 3 month mark. Different philosophies. I guess it worked for me. Granted I was surfing. However, I did feel some discomfort to a manageable degree. I was not surfing overhead surf. I was surfing small longboard waves on a 10' 6" board. Now if you want to hear about the healing time for a toe joint replacement that is a much different story!
 

cheyneskeezer

Well-Known Member
May 30, 2017
912
1,711
Long Beach CA
thanks for all the info guys. the weird thing is i dont really get pain surfing and not not able to surf. I dont have issues pushing up or paddling. its more so when i sit stagnant after, or when i wake up from sleeping. like right now. yesterday i thought man i dont feel to bad after a 76 hour labor intensive work week. but this morning my arm says otherwise. maybe its more along the lines of tendinitis or arthritis.
 

Sax-son

Well-Known Member
Nov 23, 2019
577
539
Three Rivers, CA
thanks for all the info guys. the weird thing is i dont really get pain surfing and not not able to surf. I dont have issues pushing up or paddling. its more so when i sit stagnant after, or when i wake up from sleeping. like right now. yesterday i thought man i dont feel to bad after a 76 hour labor intensive work week. but this morning my arm says otherwise. maybe its more along the lines of tendinitis or arthritis.
It could be tendinitis or arthritis, but try and drink lots of water. It may help you out and it certainly won't hurt you.
 

Salinity

Well-Known Member
May 11, 2016
825
607
USA Rhode Island
2 weeks post op today. Full thickness supraspinatus tear (2 anchors), bicep tendinosis (1 anchor) and a bit of labrum cleanup. Dic said everything went technically perfect, but holy $h!t was the first few days a MFer once the nerve block wore off. I was not prepared for that kind of pain at all. I guess it’s worse for some, and I was one of those lucky ones!

My doc is also extremely conservative with pain management- which kind of sucks. This is clearly a major surgery, so having something stronger than Tylenol for at night would be really helpful, as sleep is the biggest issue, and will be for some time. If you’re looking at this type of surgery I recommend having a frank discussion with your surgeon re: pain management. Seems some surgeons are more conservative than others.

I have an initial PT evaluation today & start PT in the pool next week (water time!). I surely have a long painful road ahead, but it’s good to know I’m moving forward. If anyone is looking at shoulder surgery, I’m happy to share things I’ve learned along the way. I
 

steeltoe

Member
Jan 30, 2020
34
28
ECF
Take it easy. Protect your arm at all costs. Trust and do what the physical therapist wants. The hardest part for me was trusting the therapist when she put me on my back, took possession of my arm and moved it all around my shoulder. She never hurt me, I was sweating bullets the first few times. I was prescribed pain meds but didn't take them. I tried one but it was not pleasant for me. Good luck.
 

Surfnfish

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2015
1,756
2,208
PNW between here and there
2 weeks post op today. Full thickness supraspinatus tear (2 anchors), bicep tendinosis (1 anchor) and a bit of labrum cleanup. Dic said everything went technically perfect, but holy $h!t was the first few days a MFer once the nerve block wore off. I was not prepared for that kind of pain at all. I guess it’s worse for some, and I was one of those lucky ones!
My doc is also extremely conservative with pain management- which kind of sucks. This is clearly a major surgery, so having something stronger than Tylenol
when that nerve block wears off feels like someone left a knife sticking in your shoulder...f'n absurd, borderline malpractice, that your doc did not prescribe pain meds for the first week, making an already miserable experience an almost intolerable one...hang in there, mate, it's a long haul back, patience your best friend..the road is long, this just a speed bump
 




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