PDA

View Full Version : Shoulder surgery? Have you had one yet?



shark
September 19th, 2007, 10:21 PM
I'm too lazy to look up the archive on this one. Sorry. I was wondering. How many of you people have had shoulder surgery? I mean. Most of us have swum (or is it swam) many miles. What do you contribute your pain too? I have not swum long distances for quite some time. Just wondering what I should watch out for as I begin to balance my stones.

swimr4life
September 20th, 2007, 09:49 AM
Yes. I had shoulder surgery about 5-6 years ago. Not a fun rehab....very painful. Avoid it at all costs. Do rotator cuff and shoulder blade stabilizer exercises!!! They will help. Do a search for these exercises. Try to swim a balance of all 4 strokes. If you just swim freestyle, you are asking for trouble IMO. It leads to an imbalance of the muscles on the front/back of your shoulders. Try backstroke/breaststroke. Watch out for fly. It does stress the shoulders more than the other strokes IMO. :bolt:

The Fortress
September 20th, 2007, 11:05 AM
All the shoulder threads are referenced in posts #56 and #59 in this thread: http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=7405&highlight=whining+complaining.

Avoid shoulder surgery at all costs. Very few swimmers bounce back from them and can swim at anything near their previous level. Beth is one of them, but she has far more determination than the average bear. :cheerleader: Typically, your range of motion is never the same.

My shoulder injury is due to an overuse injury from mega yardage in my youth coupled with genetic loosey goosey tendons. Like my twin. I have a cranky worn out frayed labrum and a small SLAP lesion (discovered through arthrogram). It is not surgical though; I just have to constantly manage it and attempt to keep the pain at bay.

I have a 5 part plan of attack for staying in the water. Some of it is unconventional, but it seems to work for me. At least, I haven't quit yet. I do:

1. rotator cuff & stability exercises even though I hate them and they are really boring;

2. periodic ART, www.activerelease.com;

3. I wear fins a lot to avoid stressing the shoulder further. Purists hate this, but I have no doubt that it helps me tremendously. :thhbbb: It has the added benefit of really helping my SDKs.

4. I am currently trying prolotherapy, www.treatingpain.com, to attempt to essentially replace/repair the micro-tearing that causes the pain. Many athletes use this method, but not many swimmers. It is a long process and painful procedure. But I am doing it because otherwise, with my condition, I coud get early arthritis in the shoulder;

5. I do not swim mega yardage and I cross train. I don't do that much freestyle, which seems to aggravate it the most. I don't use paddles, pull buoys or kickboards, which can aggravate shoulders. Quality over quantity for me. Beth is right. Fly is also hard on shoulders IMHO. I wish I didn't like fly so much.

But the most important thing is to do #1 BEFORE you start swimming a lot. Or you could get a quickie case of tendonitis. Or, if you're lucky, you might have bionic shoulders. But a large % of masters swimmers have shoulder issues.

Watch out for obvious sharp pains. Watch out for dull pain spreading across the back of your shoulders or pain in the front of your shoulder. That is often a sign on tendonitis. Watch out for pain in the trap area. That could be sclerotogenous pain indicating a labrum issue.

Good luck Shark. I hope you avoid injury and stay healthy!

shark
September 20th, 2007, 11:28 AM
http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=7405&highlight=whining+complaining.

I have a 5 part plan of attack for staying in the water. Some of it is unconventional, but it seems to work for me. At least, I haven't quit yet. I do:

1. rotator cuff & stability exercises even though I hate them and they are really boring;

2. periodic ART, www.activerelease.com;

3. I wear fins a lot to avoid stressing the shoulder further. Purists hate this, but I have no doubt that it helps me tremendously. :thhbbb: It has the added benefit of really helping my SDKs.

4. I am currently trying prolotherapy, www.treatingpain.com, to attempt to essentially replace/repair the micro-tearing that causes the pain. Many athletes use this method, but not many swimmers. It is a long process and painful procedure. But I am doing it because otherwise, with my condition, I coud get early arthritis in the shoulder;

5. I do not swim mega yardage and I cross train. I don't do that much freestyle, which seems to aggravate it the most. I don't use paddles, pull buoys or kickboards, which can aggravate shoulders. Quality over quantity for me. Beth is right. Fly is also hard on shoulders IMHO. I wish I didn't like fly so much.

Good luck Shark. I hope you avoid injury and stay healthy!

Just as I suspected. Thanks for the link to the previous thread.
"Don't wait for the boat, swim to the island." -unknown

blainesapprentice
September 20th, 2007, 01:45 PM
on the contrary--I am 21 years old and have had 2 shoulder surgeries...1 for each arm. It was a rotary cuff surgery, but required the reconstruction of both joints. I had the surgeries one month apart, was in a sling after each surgery for about 3 days...and by the 2nd day after surgery i was able to laying on the floor put my arm all the way back into streamline position--something I couldn't do 3 days prior. I had an amazing surgeon, and used only the 1 painkiller that they give u before you leave the hospital for both surgeries...it was painless and well worth the time I had to take off from the pool.

after the first surgery i was able to get in the water and kick with a board starting at about week 3--when the stitches started getting raggy and falling out. After the second surgery same thing, but at that point my first arm was strong enough to start doing some one arm drills and such. After about 3months in total from the first surgery I was swimming 2000 yards a day and kicking 3000, and within 4.5 months from the first surgery I was competing at the top of my collegiate conference and swimming PB times.

I wouldn't be swimming in college at this moment if I hadn't had those surgeries..I know I wouldn't have been able to continue with the pain and frustration of having such a limited range of motion.

Surgery was the first thing that was suggested to me, because MRI scans showed a pretty significant problem, but I did try alternatives beforehand including 7months of PT and quterizone(sp?) shots. I had done shoulder/rotator cuff exercises for years before my surgeries and nothing really made the difference.

Considering surgery for shoulder injuries really comes down to how much money you have to put towards this--because the surgeries were expensive, the doctor I used was expensive and I had to travel to her, and I was in PT for 9months from start to finish. (though i think PT should be a requirement for swimmers year-round because i was so much stronger because of it). And it depends on what kind of swimming you want to do and how limited you are or may become to perform at your highest possible level and improve if you don't have the surgery.

Different person...different shoulders...different story.

blainesapprentice
September 20th, 2007, 01:48 PM
oh and last year--because inevitably I have shoulder discomfort again...3 years later--though this is more of a high concentration of musculature knots along the rotator cuff and scapula--I tried acupuncture, and that turned out to be pretty fantastic. It really did help out a great deal...I will probably be starting up again in the next few months now that we're back in season

The Fortress
September 20th, 2007, 01:55 PM
on the contrary--I am 21 years old and have had 2 shoulder surgeries... Different person...different shoulders...different story.

On the contrary to what?

21 year olds recuperate much more quickly than middle aged masters swimmers. But, if there is a significant injury or major tear, as you say, you have no choice but to have surgery. I would just be wary at my advanced age. Everyone is different.

It's called cortisone. Acupuncture seems like a good option too.

swimr4life
September 20th, 2007, 03:21 PM
Wow Morgan! I was still in a sling/shoulder imobilizer 3 weeks after my surgery. My Dr. didn't want me to MOVE AT ALL so the shoulder capsule would stay tight. I had 9 months of PT 2-3 times a week and couldn't lift my arm above my chest for about 3 months. I never will forget the first time I was able to move my arm in a freestyle motion on land! It was about 6 months after surgery and I was so happy I literally cried. Different people, different shoulder issues, different surgeries I guess. Count your lucky stars!

The Fortress
September 20th, 2007, 03:44 PM
Wow Morgan! I was still in a sling/shoulder imobilizer 3 weeks after my surgery. My Dr. didn't want me to MOVE AT ALL so the shoulder capsule would stay tight. I had 9 months of PT 2-3 times a week and couldn't lift my arm above my chest for about 3 months. I never will forget the first time I was able to move my arm in a freestyle motion on land! It was about 6 months after surgery and I was so happy I literally cried. Different people, different shoulder issues, different surgeries I guess. Count your lucky stars!

My prolo doc had this exact experience and many of his patients have too. That's one reason why people seek non-surgical options. I'm just soooo glad yours was successful!! Although if I'm gonna swim the 50 free, you gotta swim the 50 fly in Austin! (If we don't wreck or re-wreck our shoulders before then. LOL.)

msgrupp
September 20th, 2007, 07:53 PM
6 surgeries---2 on right, 4 on left. Any questions?

Last surgery--spring 1998. Left shoulder--thermal assisted capsular shift (not done that way much anymore). Finally "peace" in my shoulder. On occasion--get a few twinges and some stiffness--but over all--shoulder is no longer dislocating.

Had a ortho with ALOT of shoulder experience (operates on alot of professional athletes). Recovery was long--I was an early case of his with this technique. Alot was learned as I was older than most of his patients. Wasn't allowed out of sling (except to shower) for 3-4 weeks (later he did 6 weeks with older patients). PT for about 3 months -2-3x a week. Plus home therapy program.

shark
September 20th, 2007, 09:44 PM
6 surgeries---2 on right, 4 on left. Any questions?

Yes, In fact I do have a few questions. What do you contribute your surgeries too? Over use? Why did your shoulders go bad? Is it a genetic thing or did you simply over use your shoulders? By the way, Geochuck, did you ever swim against Ford Kono?
"Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

swimr4life
September 20th, 2007, 10:42 PM
6 surgeries---2 on right, 4 on left. Any questions?

Last surgery--spring 1998. Left shoulder--thermal assisted capsular shift (not done that way much anymore). Finally "peace" in my shoulder. On occasion--get a few twinges and some stiffness--but over all--shoulder is no longer dislocating.



Thats the same surgery I had on my right shoulder. Mine was dislocating also....doesn't anymore! :bouncing: I just HAVE to do rc exercises or it starts hurting again. Just aches when cold fronts are coming in though!

blainesapprentice
September 20th, 2007, 11:04 PM
i think i meant on the other hand--not on the contrary-:whiteflag:

My doctor urged me to get my shoulder out and moving and attempting streamline everyday--she never expected i would have full rom by day 3, but expected it would come within the first 2 weeks. Having said that I know many people young and older who have had surgeries and had bad experiences, but after my ordeal with my surgeon I would NEVER have another surgery with another surgeon (knee or shoulder surgery that is). She cost me about 3 years of graduate school tuition for both surgeries but I couldn't have asked for a better recovery or overall situation and after hearing horror stories I wouldn't risk changing it up at all.

im just thankful thats all:smooch:

swimr4life
September 20th, 2007, 11:10 PM
My prolo doc had this exact experience and many of his patients have too. That's one reason why people seek non-surgical options. I'm just soooo glad yours was successful!! Although if I'm gonna swim the 50 free, you gotta swim the 50 fly in Austin! (If we don't wreck or re-wreck our shoulders before then. LOL.)

Thanks Fort! I'm glad it worked too. I will definitely try to do the 50 fly! I think I can handle it short course......turns and SDK's help!

Morgan - How is your shoulder now?

blainesapprentice
September 23rd, 2007, 08:47 AM
Morgan - How is your shoulder now?

My shoulders are more or less still very good. I did have a lot of pain last year, but it wasn't the same type of pain I had had originally--this pain was more associated with knots that I had that developed all along my scapula and were pulling on my rotator cuff--IDK....thats what they tell me.

I actually thought I had a knot in May of my freshman year of college, in that same region that my PT was going to try to work on but after first working on it-he actually ended up referring me for scans because he thought it might be a tumor...thankfully it wasn't.

Last year I had acupuncture 1-2 times every 2 weeks and that really helped--he broke up the knots and used the needles to release pressure along my shoulder and upper back. I will probably do that again this year and see a chiropractor on a regular basis because I was told that I might have some of my shoulder pain because of misalignments in my back which have my shoulders a little lopsided which would cause me to over pull with the one shoulder.

But I still have about 95% of the proper Range of motion--and that is such a relief having come from having less than 50% before the surgeries...like I said if it hadn't been for the surgeries I wasn't going to be able to swim on a collegiate team.

islandsox
September 23rd, 2007, 12:18 PM
Two shoulder surgeries on the same shoulder, the left one. One in 1993 and one in 1995. The first surgery was for impingement and fractured collarbone; the second one was rotator. Impingement was far worse recovery wise than the rotator. I was 45 years old on the first one and 47 on the second one. My downtime wasn't too bad, about 8-10 weeks total for each surgery, but was in PT about 3 to 4 months.

My injuries were due to 40 years of swimming; mainly backstroke with a huge rotational stroke. The left shoulder just finally had had too much.

And now I am training for a 20 mile long distance swim in about a year. And, I have learned to differentiate between overuse soreness/pain and injury pain. I don't have any injury pain (yet). :banana:

Donna

shark
September 23rd, 2007, 01:46 PM
I don't have any injury pain (yet). :banana:

Donna

That is good to hear. Thanks for the comment. "May you prosper. One and all." - unknown

The Fortress
January 24th, 2008, 11:10 AM
Read this in the WSJ. Shoulder surgery definitely sounds absolutely awful.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120104648002708127.html

zegmal
January 24th, 2008, 12:22 PM
I have a bad AC joint and a SLAP tear. Thought about surgery. My doctor's advice was if your injury is merely a nuisance then don't get the surgery, but if the pain and performance is interfering with your life and activities then get the surgery. I opted for no surgery. My advice for avoiding shoulder problems (and this goes for those of you who don't have any issues YET).

--Do RC and shoulder exercises several nights a week. All you need is a few therabands and some free weights. A solid program takes 10 minutes. ALL SWIMMERS SHOULD BE DOING THIS SEVERAL DAYS A WEEK!!!!

--Do NOT stretch before swimming. Instead warm up slowly. After you swim there are a few stretches that are okay (search the forum) but absolutely avoid stretching the shoulder capsule.

--Focus, focus, focus on technique. Bad technique can have a huge impact on your shoulder. For me this means that when I swim, it's not about yardage, but about drills and refining my stroke. Different mindset.

--Try fistgloves. These take a lot of strain off my shoulder and force me to focus on swimming more with my core and back muscles.

--Swim all strokes at every workout. Not only is it more fun, but it helps your joints which do not take kindly to repetitive action.

--For all strokes: stop thinking about pulling your arms through the water and instead picture yourself anchoring your arms in the water and using your back and core to rotate or undulate your body forward.

Good luck

shark
January 25th, 2008, 08:18 AM
I have a bad AC joint and a SLAP tear. Thought about surgery. My doctor's advice was if your injury is merely a nuisance then don't get the surgery, but if the pain and performance is interfering with your life and activities then get the surgery. I opted for no surgery. My advice for avoiding shoulder problems (and this goes for those of you who don't have any issues YET).

--Do RC and shoulder exercises several nights a week. All you need is a few therabands and some free weights. A solid program takes 10 minutes. ALL SWIMMERS SHOULD BE DOING THIS SEVERAL DAYS A WEEK!!!!

--Do NOT stretch before swimming. Instead warm up slowly. After you swim there are a few stretches that are okay (search the forum) but absolutely avoid stretching the shoulder capsule.

--Focus, focus, focus on technique. Bad technique can have a huge impact on your shoulder. For me this means that when I swim, it's not about yardage, but about drills and refining my stroke. Different mindset.

--Try fistgloves. These take a lot of strain off my shoulder and force me to focus on swimming more with my core and back muscles.

--Swim all strokes at every workout. Not only is it more fun, but it helps your joints which do not take kindly to repetitive action.

--For all strokes: stop thinking about pulling your arms through the water and instead picture yourself anchoring your arms in the water and using your back and core to rotate or undulate your body forward.

Good luck

Zegmal,

I have been using small 6lb medicine balls to do 3 way straight arm shoulder raises. Hold the ball in your hand, with a straight arm, lift 1st to the front 10x, to the side 10x, to the back 10x. 2 sets with each arm before I get in to swim. It takes less than 10 minutes and really warms up my shoulders and gets my heart rate up. You can also use them for quick bicep and tricep exercises. I have my hs team toss the balls vertical 30x each arm to work the lats, delts, tris, bis, forearms and wrists. I do these once a week with them and I got to tell you, it really does work all of those muscles. The balls can be found at fitness1st.com