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slick's shoulder surgery blog

  1. Balancing Act

    by , June 24th, 2013 at 02:25 PM (slick's shoulder surgery blog)
    So after 3 weeks in the "Sweet Spot", I decided to attempt swimming 2 days in a row. This was 2 weeks ago now, and I am still recovering

    At this point I know that whenever I get soreness that won't go away after 2 practices or so, its time for some 'extended' rest. So I took myself out of the pool for 3 days in row last weekend, and when I returned I had a great practice and felt good afterwards. The next day, since I was feeling OK, I decided to do my usual round of shoulder exercises/physical therapy upkeep. Well that apparently over-did things and now I am sore and weaksauce again! UGGGGHHHHH. Its been a while since I have been this sore....back to the point where just folding laundry and doing dishes will give me that 'dead arm' feeling. HIttin up the ice and NSAIDS…..which of course means that I've over done it - AGAIN!

    I've got to say that I am getting pretty sick of this stupid cycle. Still learning I guess. Its just difficult to distinguish between a) the feeling of fatigue that I will recover quickly from and that serves to make me stronger; and b) the feeling of fatigue that takes me over the edge and ends up setting me back a few weeks. It is a balancing act, thats for sure!

    Its also hard because I remember how good I felt when I was mostly kicking and doing multiple daily sessions of shoulder exercises. I felt really strong, but I was really keeping things in check. Even though I was in the pool just as often as I am now, I wasn't doing nearly as much actual swimming. But its still hard not to get frustrated when my shoulder is feeling weak, because I feel that it should only be getting stronger. But then I have to remind myself of the toll that swimming really does take on my shoulder. Thinking about my PT routine, I do about 3 sets of 10-15 reps for a few different exercises…. so we're talking like 200 reps total for one session. But how many "reps" are involved with just 100 yards of freestyle? LOTS. (I figure about 28-30 left arm strokes.) And how many 100s have I been putting myself through lately? LOTS! (So about 1000 left arm strokes or more, 3 days a week.) So I need to continually remind myself of that……

    Sigh. So my plan at the moment is to go back to kick-only workouts for the next week or two. There is really no other way to kick this soreness other than by giving my sad and tired shoulder a break for a while. Le suck! I also set up an appointment for a sports massage, which I am thinking about splurging on for a few sessions to help me get back on my way. This scar tissue has got to go, that is for sure!

    Updated June 24th, 2013 at 06:16 PM by swimslick

  2. The Sweet Spot (~7.5 months out)

    by , June 6th, 2013 at 04:48 PM (slick's shoulder surgery blog)
    Wow, long time no update! Let's see…..I think its been 29 weeks and 3 days since the surgery now!

    I guess you could say that for the past 6 weeks or so I have been on cruise control. I came to realization that I probably pushed myself a bit too hard going into the meet at the end of April. I guess I just needed to prove to myself that I could 'go there', but I am glad that I did it because helped show me that it could be done and that I will eventually get back to the way things were Since then I have scaled back quite a bit, not so much yardage wise but intensity-wise. Taking things slow this time around and not pushing too hard!

    I've still been keeping up a 3x per week (10-12k) practice schedule since the meet, however its only been the last 2-3 weeks that I can truly say that I've felt 'normal' again. I was quite sore for several weeks (beginning before the meet), but lately I have been virtually pain-free to the point where I'm doing full, mostly non-modified workouts again (the snorkel still comes out fairly often, mainly for sets/portions of sets that involve 200+ intervals)… no NSAIDs or ice needed lately! Haven't felt my arm go numb in quite a while so thats always a good sign! The plan is to hang out here for a while and maintain for a bit. On occasion I do feel my RIGHT shoulder getting a little sore, so I do feel that I am slightly unbalanced still and my right shoulder can sometimes get a bit overloaded. I'm also still working on getting some more strokes in….. I've been throwing out a 25/50 of back or fly here and there without much issue so it feels time to slowly add in more.

    Other shoulder-related things I've learned/noticed:
    - FINALLY able to sleep more on my left side without irritation/pain. The time that I can sleep on my left side without having to shift has noticeably increased - woohoo!
    - Flexibility has also increased. Can easily lie down on my back with both arms overhead and resting on the ground. External rotation still feels pretty stiff….but I also don't expect to fully get that range back. Luckily it doesn't really impact the swimming so much. Otherwise I'm feeling that I've got 95% of my flexibility back!
    - Strength is a different story, still not quite there yet. Like I said above I can definitely feel some imbalances in the water, and those imbalances become quite obvious when you can tell you're not swimming in straight line! Definitely a bit of 'lean' to my stroke sometimes, evidenced by frequently hitting the lane line with my right hand lol. Lets hope there are no finger injuries in the future!
    - Related to working on strength, I have learned that it is no bueno if I go too long without doing my shoulder exercises. My shoulder will get weaksauce and then get sore real quick if I slack! I've found that its not so much the Y's and T's and rubber band stuff that makes the difference however, but more the smaller isometric exercises. The one that I make sure to do the most often is the 'reverse pendulum' with a 3-5lb weight….which just involves lying on your back holding the weight straight up in the air, and then twirling your arm around in various size circles and at different angles until its somewhat overhead. Works a charm!

    Anywho, not much else to report! I'm pretty much just hanging out in the right lane for now. I've seemed to have found my 'sweet spot' for now so I don't want to jinx anything haha. The outdoor swim season has begun and I have been enjoying working on my tan If things continue to go smoothly I will turn on my blinker and starting moving left over the next few months!