Need a diagnosis and repair advise for what I think is a rotator cuff problem.

Posted , 5 users are following.

Hi, I'm 68 and have had this condition where I get pain at night and the pain gets worse when swimming. I broke my collar bone at age of 23 and on healing it left a bump on top of my shoulder so I think this may  have been the root cause of my problem which started at age 38 whilst doing a lot of swimming.The pain is at the top of my right arm under the thick fleshy muscle and feels like it emanates from the bone. The point of pain seems to be at the bottom end of where the cuff tendons attach to my humerus. I've managed to control it with ibrufen and period of rests from swimming which is the main cause. I've had  several bouts of NHS physio which did nothing and a NHS cortisone into the top of the shoulder which was also no use and in fact I thought they put it in the wrong place. Recently it can wake me up when my arm is in an upward position and I find it hard to get my arm in a position where I dont get pain. When I'm swimming I have to be careful with my front crawl stroke as it can give me a sharp excruciating pain which makes me stop the swim. Doing the back and breast stroke dont affect me.

 I know that if I stopped swimming then the problem would subside but I do enjoy to swim up to 800 metres. I have stopped for periods of 3 months and then on the first swims the 'twinging' will come back and steadily get worse again.

I am going to seek a good sports specialist and think a steroid injection might sort it out with good physio but I know the condition could be too chronic to respond.

i would appreciate if anyone can confirm my diagnosis of rotator cuff problem and if there is any remedy or physio that could help.

Thanks for reading.

0 likes, 9 replies

Report / Delete

9 Replies

  • Posted

    I've had shoulder and arm pain for ages. Was sent for MRI and the results were severe Osteoarthritis, rotator cuff tear and cystic lesions (left arm but right also painful). I was sent for Hydrotherapy which didn't help and the had a steroid shot which hurt like he'll. I'm also sure he put it in the wrong place, had a second shot two weeks later (in my opinion too soon after the first one). I've had no relief whatsoever. Decompression surgery was mentioned and I'm seeing a surgeon in April. I hope I can get some relief as it's ruining my life.

    I hope you can get some answers.

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Jane, Thanks for the reply and wish you luck with your consultant visit. From the 3 posts I've received it seems clear that I need to ask my doctor to refer me for an MRI and not waste any more time with physios. 

      I do love to swim the front crawl and the health benefits are great, but, if I cant get a cure I could always just swim back and side stroke which wont give me pain.

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    I feel your pain literally. I also have been a lap swimmer and surfer for over 49 yrs. my sports and career (nurse lifting heavy pts) has caused a large rotator cuff tear which was recently repaired. Only way to tell for you is an MRI
    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Thanks Jule,

      That was a good result getting it repaired and I presume you are back to swimmng again. Did you get your repair in the UK? It would be useful to get a consultant who is good at these shoulder issues

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    sorry to hear all this, but physio's (PT's) are not supporsed to diagnose. they can treat but not diagnose. depends on the area of practice. It sounds like an impingement...that's not a diagnoses...involving your rotator cuff. It's obviously movement specific cause when you stop the movement, it goes away. what does the Dr recommend. I would say that if nothing else ha worked and you don't want surgery, then activity modification is your only option because we can't change people stucturally. Well, we can adjust structure (under certain circumstances when muscles create an imbalance and the structure is still pliable or remediable), but if the problem is bony, such as excess build of calcium...or something missing...or metal from a surgery...there is not much a PT can do. 

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      ricochetred

      Thanks for your reply. Like you suggest, I have modified my swimming style to suit, and swim with a high elbow action which is a good style anyway and normally when swiimming warm up doing back stroke a good while and then do a combination of crawl, back and side stroke.  I'm retired so not a high priority as far as the NHS is concerned. I will see my doctor and try and get a consultation with a phyisician. I don't think I have a tear but possibly calcification and maybe some arthritis. I think that a shot of steroid in the right place might just cure it. If that doesn't work I will just live with it.

      Thanks

       

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    It could be that or it could be impingement. You will only know after seeing a good Dr.
    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    hmm...high elbow during recovery, entry, pull of the stroke, and finish while swimming front crawl?  Are you rotating on your torso's axis?  Stand up straight pretend you drop a bbq skewer through your head down your mid-line (spine) of your torso.  Are you rotating on that skewer or axis when you swim front crawl or are you straight/square moving your arms in a stiff manner or swinging them outward?  No body roll?  Doesn't bother you when swimming back crawl?  Butterfly (at least a couple of strokes)?  I'd be curious to hear about butterfly.  Misguided injection-ugh...  For my one and only injection into the sheath of the biceps tendon, my surgeon used ultrasound to guide the needle with laser precision.  It was impressive to watch, and it worked for a few days.  Did you doctor just take a stab at you with the needle?  It sounds like something in your front crawl mechanics is off.  Can you ask a lifeguard or swim instructor/coach to watch you?  Take a video on your phone and look at it?  Under the deltoid cap (front, back, top)is the problem area? Pinch or impingement?  Mechanics? Small tear?  Are you icing the shoulder after swimming and a few other times during the day?  If not, why?  GOOD LUCK

    Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up