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INJURED! torn rotator cuff(8 posts)

INJURED! torn rotator cuffj-son
Nov 16, 2002 11:36 AM
At about 2:10 am Friday morning, I was injured on the job. The ER doc diagnosed a torn rotator cuff. I won't know the actual extent of injury until I see an orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday.

Has anyone had this injury? What was recovery like and do you suffer from any longterm effects?

Thanks, (And sorry for the terse tone of this post, it's tough typing one handed).

Nov 16, 2002 1:56 PM
I don't know ya so I won't BS ya. You're in for a 6 month or so ordeal. The docs will probably give you motrin, etc., to get the swelling down. Then, you'll have a MRI or two and end up having an arthroscopy (not sure if it's spelled right) done to verify everything. After all of this lovelyness, you'll have surgery to attach (they stich them) the 4 little muscles (if you tore them all) back to the bone (humerus? I think). It's fun, fun, fun, now brother! 2 weeks after surgery you'll start physical therapy, lasts about 8 weeks. Then the strengthening program begins for about 3 months. Six months after injury you'll be back to almost normal. Bad thing is, you now have a "weak link". I torn my rotator cuff playing college football about 10 years ago and if I use bad form when lifting weights (or not warm up enough),or try to throw a baseball, football, etc., I'll have a sharp pain and the subsequent butt pucker thinking I reinjured my shoulder. Good luck and I wish you a speedy recovery. BTW, what do you do for a living? Hey, at least you'll get worker's comp or similar.
Nov 16, 2002 5:39 PM
Thanks for the reply. I'm a police officer. I was arresting a guy who didn't want to go to jail. He went to jail and I went to the emergency room. I've got my left arm in a sling, which keeps the pain at a manageable dull ache. If I try to move my arm, the pain is quite intense. I'm hoping for the best but expecting the worst fron the ortho doc.

Thanks again,
re: INJURED! torn rotator cuffKary
Nov 16, 2002 5:18 PM
I had arthroscopic surgery for a torm rotator cuff about 12 years ago. I recovered very well but I cannot say that it is perfect. I will tell you that I got in trouble from my wife for riding my mountain bike while I was still in a sling.
I can say that with my injury I have been able to ride. I do get some pain when riding my mountain bike (usually if I land hard or am on a really rough trail.) I do not have any pain riding my new road bike. I had to sell my old road bike since it hurt every time I rode. I think your handlebar height and reach may change due to the injury.
I wish you a speedy recovery.
torn rotator cuffTig
Nov 16, 2002 5:22 PM
I dislocated my shoulder and tore mine as a senior in high school skateboarding. I didn't know how bad the injury was, so I didn't get treatment. Everything was fine until I dislocated it again. That is what really screwed it up. Once you repeat the injury, it will keep coming back over and over. I estimated that it dislocated over 300 times during the next 6 years! Talk about pain...

When I got a decent job that had good insurance I went to the doctor. They first put me through worthless physical therapy due to insurance requirements. After that didn't improve anything, I finally got to go to an orthopedic and he performed a successful surgery. He cleaned up the cartilage and reattached the muscle tendons on the humorous bone to "shorten the travel", which prevents future dislocations. I recovered well and after the first night, the pain was really manageable. A good orthopedic is usually a perfectionist. That's the kind you want sawing on yer' bones!

After keeping it immobilized for 6 weeks, I began PT. By around 6 months, it was about 85% healed. I was able to skydive and started to ride my first road bike. From there, the healing tapered off more but continued.

The shoulder has never given me much of a problem since and has about 90-95% of its original range of motion. In fact, it now sometimes feels better than my "good" shoulder.
Depends on the degree of injuryKerry
Nov 17, 2002 5:27 PM
Though yours sounds pretty bad. As mentioned in another post, you'll need some diagnostics and then possibly surgery, but no necessarily. I've dinged mine three times (all downhill skiing) and the first two times, I didn't even know what it was. Just had a sore shoulder for a few months. The third time, I couldn't operate a light switch and it wasn't getting better, so I went to an orthopedic. Lots of tests, and then finally a recommendation for physical therapy. Several months of discomfort, and 2-3 years to fully recover, though I can still feel it sometimes. I still do the PT, even though it has been almost 20 years since my last one. In those days, only NFL quarterbacks had surgery, because it was risky and not always successful. Things have improved a lot since then. I bet if you Google this, you'll find some tremendous resources on the web.
Nov 18, 2002 10:21 AM
Totally depends on the nature and extent of the tear, other damage and the skill of your surgeon if you elect to get it repaired. Mine cost me $30K (the insurance company actually) was a laundry list of damage, I had an excellent surgeon, couldn't sleep very well for four months, and has taken two years for recovery. And I'm not out of the woods yet. Yours doesn't have to be this bad OR it could be worse. They won't really know until they get in there b/c the MRI doesn't show everything. Get the best surgeon you can find - you save nothing with a hack. Avoid splitting and stacking firewood for a year or two afterwards - it really raises hell with your shoulder.

One thing is for sure, the shoulder is the only joint in the body held together entirely by muscle and once your tear and stretch things out they never fix themselves. You can lift weights until the cows come home and it wont't get any better and, in fact, things will only get worse due to the instability. My advice is that you look for a sports type of ortho doc that works on professional athletes.
re: INJURED! torn rotator cuffturtlemoye
Nov 18, 2002 2:08 PM
I went in for open reconstruction on my right shoulder and while they were doing surgery they also discovered that I hade a torn rotator cuff. I started riding my rodebike after about 2-2 1/2 months(against doctor's orders). Make sure you do all of the PT and it will payoff. I have regained about 90-95% of my range of motion and have had no problems after about 4 years.

Good luck