Surgery or not?

Posted , 2 users are following.

Hi everyone,

Last week I crashed my dirt bike and landed on my shoulder pretty hard. The first two days I was only able to move my arm about 4-5 inches from my side with my arm hanging down. Over the following few days I was able to get my arm up to chest level but yesterday it felt so bad and I'm back to square one. I think I probably messed with it too much too soon. Has anyone had a similar probably and have not gotten surgery and ended up recoverying?

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    I crashed my MTB a year ago. the first few days were pretty painful and limited. I am a PT so I figured I could rehab myself too. I did get fairly good range back after a month but continued to have night time pain and pain with certain movements. I also noticed I was having atrophy in the supraspinatus area. week 5 I took a bike ride and blow dried my hair and was in agony. I finally went to Dr for x ray and got referral to Ortho. I had torn the supraspinatus and part of infraspinatus 100% (I was not surprised). The Dr immediately recommended surgical repair and offered  a cortisone shot...which helped decrease night time pain but my strength was still compromised. After a week, I decided to do the surgery. Surgery was 7 1/2 months ago. I just went back to work at 6 months. I was back to road bike at 3+months and MTB at 5 months with extreme caution. My range is good, strength is not 100% but improving and the atrophy area is looking better but still has a ways to go and may never be 100%. I regret not seeking medical advice sooner. I do believe that if you have a full tear, your chances of complete recovery are improved with early intervention. Do get it looked at. Wish you well!
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    • Posted

      just to clarify the time frame, there was a 4 month waiting period before surgery could be scheduled...so 5 months between injury and surgery. I think I would be doing better now with strength if I had not delayed the surgery so long. 
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    • Posted

      Thanks for all of that. Were you aware that you may have had a full tear? I just don't know what the difference in feel is from a full or partial tear and I can't find anything online on it. 

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    • Posted

      Also I just looked up that muscle you tore 100%, that's a huge muscle. You tore that completely from the bone all around? It feels like the pain is coming from the corner of my shoulder blade. Near the middle of the back at the top corner

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    • Posted

      OH, the pain will be indescribable...unlike anything you have experienced.  I tore three of the four r c muscle tendons.  Subscapularis a partial (only the middle held); infraspinatus and supraspinatus ripped completely 5 mm + tears to both and retraction of the muscles.  I have a high pain threshold, but this took me to my knees.  15 weeks into the rehab my PT ripped the supraspinatus right off the screw anchors, and the muscle retracted again.  I had to have it surgically repaired ALL OVER AGAIN.  A new PT has been working with me to rehab.  I am 100 % full active and passive range of motion.  Strength returning at 15 weeks out of the re-repair (revision) surgery.  Beginning to work on 1-2 lb overhead was.  It is a LONG recovery and rehab.  My orthopaedic surgeon said 3-4 weeks is the window to have the repair with any real chance of 100%.  I followed those directions both surgeries.  My ortho did both surgeries.  THe revision included a double row of anchors.  I feel blessed to have a top-notch surgeon and one of the BEST PTs in the business working with me for the second rehab.  Remember it is temporary.  Remember to ICE, ICE, and ICE some more after the surgery.  I have finally stopped icing 2-3 times daily week 14.  Good LUCK and keep your chin up!!!
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    • Posted

      oh and my injuries happened at the same time during an epic fall which dislocated my shoulder ripping the infra and supra off the humeral head while subscap partially tore.  It's been 9 months of dealing with the original injury, surgery, rehab, and the ripping off the anchors, re-repair/revision surgery and rehab.  Not to mention no paycheck for 27 weeks.  I am back at work and doing well at the moment.  You will be okay.  Just get it taken care of sooner rather than later.  Good luck.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for sharing this. I'm truly in a world of darkness. My wife just gave birth to our child and all I want to do is hold her and I can't. And that's just the icing on the cake, like you said I ve got to look forward to being out of a job for awhile. I just feel like my shoulder is getting worse and worse. About two hours ago I sneezed and I felt a high pop in the back of my shoulder and now it's super swollen and sore. 

      I'm trying my best to work towards a solution. I just got an MRI done this morning but no feedback on the results yet. I do have an appointment with a surgeon on Tuesday so hopefully he'll point me in the right direction to start working towards a solution. I really just want to go back to my life and it just seems like that's so far far far away right now. I just don't know what to do. I'm mentally exhausted. But hearing stories like yours keeps me focused on recovery. I'm really hoping to get to 100% like you. I really just want to be able to put on my socks on, or play my instruments or...anything that involves my arm. Sorry for the sob story. It's hard not to be stuck in this rut. 

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    • Posted

      if you are not icing... start packing that shoulder in ice several times a day.  suck it up and get through it.  it's going to be a long haul but you can do it.  Now go ice!!!!

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  • Posted

    I pretty much knew I tore the rotator cuff by the time I rode to the bottom of the trail segment and could not lift my arm. I just didn't know the extent of the tear till after the MRI. the muscle didn't tear (off the scapula)...the tendon tore from it's insertion on the humerus (which is the arm bone) and was about 3 mm displaced from it's attachment location. One variable in determining surgery is whether it's partial or full thickness tear... another variable is how much of a separation there is from the place where it should attach to the humerus. Too much displacement and they may not be able to repair it.  I also ended up needing a bicep repair because during surgery the surgeon discovered that the bicep tendon was shredded. That was probably from years of wear and tear, not just the fall. 

    One thing to remember is that when you fall, you may have multiple injuries. You could have a tear of the tendon, strain or tear of muscle, ligamentous tears...might have a labrum tear (which I also had). Some of the trauma pain can resolve over a few weeks but tendon tears don't heal themselves. partial tears can usually get by without surgery by gradually strengthening the muscle. The only way to really know is MRI and even the MRI does not always reveal everything. My bicep condition was not diagnosed on the MRI. I knew I had muscular sprain in addition to the tear because I also had pain in the shoulder blade region. Use cold to decrease inflammation. Don't wait too long if you start to see no improvement or a deterioration in the muscle bulk of the shoulder. 

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