Anyone had rotator cuff surgery and torn the other shoulder shortly after surgery?

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Had surgery at the end of March. (Biceps tendon tear, labrum fraying, Subscapularis superior tear, complete supraspinatus tear, bursa resection, & subacromial decompression). In week 5 now and am certain I have torn my non-surgery shoulder as well, which happens to be my dominant sports arm & hurts more than my surgery arm did before (& after) surgery.

I live alone, but have had some help on and off during recovery, which helped me avoid further use of my non-surgery arm. The shoulder is definitely getting worse, including popping, pain, etc. and is so bad I cannot fix or even wash my own hair. My shoulder it's self that they did surgery on his not been approved for pt and has continued severe pain in my elbow (ulnar entrapment, Carple, and cubital tunnel), which adds fuel to this frustrating situation.

I can't help but feel like I am a fall or a simple movement away from having almost no use of my non-surgery arm as well. Suggestions greatly appreciated and this recovery is something no one should have to do alone. Thanks.

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  • Posted

    sorry to hear you are having such trouble! I was also having trouble with my non surgery side after my similar surgery. The non operated side had problems before I fell and injured my good side. With the added stress of having to depend on that arm after surgery, I was feeling like the non operated arm was becoming surgery candidate. Fortunately, I have help for the first 3 weeks, but it was still difficult. I have been alone since week 3.  I would say I got a break when I was finally able to remove the sling after week 6 and start to move a little more with the operated arm. I had some added new pain the first 3 days out of the sling but that settled down after a few days more.  I am now almost 13 weeks post op and my non operated arm has begun to feel better. I would say around week 8 I felt like I was turning a corner and by week 10 was much better. 

    Are you still wearing the immobilizer? I think once you start PT it should be of some help. I got a massage and that helped some. I had him work on the non operated arm. It just felt so overworked. You probably need some additional help and some TLC to the non operated arm. I hope you can get that. Try to do only what is absolutely neccessary. You are right, no one should have to do this alone. 

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply and it does give me hope that better days are ahead. I wear my sling most of the time but don't sleep with it on and usually don't have my arm in it when I am sitting in a chair.

      I have heard horrors about pt, so while I am eager to do something to get that arm moving more, I am nervous of course. I have had help on and off throughout so far, but night seems to still be when I could use it most! My motto is just get through today.

      I am fairly certain that my left arm is torn and while I don't think it will change what the surgeon does next, I hope it might at least help me qualify for some assistance (God, I never thought I would need that, much less say it!) to get through this current surgery. Massage has helped as does the stem, ice, etc., but hopefully things will improve once the pt starts.

      Thanks for your reply and I wish you continued healing in your recovery ! Take care.


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  • Posted

    Kristen- will you begin PT next week at week 6? If so I would ask your PT about the other shoulder. While PT can be painful it alsoreally helps and I think you will find once you begin that you will begin to feel a lot better.

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    • Posted

      Hoping so. He said let's wait and re-evaluate in 2 weeks for pt. Originally when I talk to him about my left arm also being a problem much more after surgery, he said I would do pt on both shoulders which can help to strengthen it.

      I guess I thought PT normally started earlier, so I'm not sure if the hold up is because of my left arm or the extent of the surgery.

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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear of your difficulty. I had surgery in November for a complete tear of my supra on my right shoulder(dominant). Considering reverse replacement come Dec. I also suffer from hydradenitis under that arm .It is a chronic infection of sweat glands. Had surgery for t in 2008. Get flare ups every so often. Believe I have one now and can't raise arm

    to check . Never had pain before or after surgery. Just have little rom.

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