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slick's shoulder surgery blog

The results are in, ladies and gentleman

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by , September 24th, 2012 at 07:56 PM (978 Views)
I must have still been in a denial phase, because two days after the meet I went back to the pool. My shoulder and arm were dead sore, but for some reason I had to test it out. I made it through warm-up before I got out. My entire arm had gone numb with pins and needles, and I was feeling “the click” during freestyle which was something I had only felt with backstroke before. No bueno.

I felt like there was a whole lot more at stake this time around. Over the past six months I completely re-discovered my love for the sport, and I knew that I was a better person because of it. At this point I knew that I should go back to the doctor and get some professional medical advice on my whole situation. The game had changed for me. Now that swimming was back and in the near-center of my life again, I had to take my injury more seriously.

A few days later, I got referrals to go back to physical therapy and to see an orthopedic surgeon. The ortho doc ordered an MRI and told me that I should do kick-only workouts for a few weeks. My plans for training and attending the next upcoming meets were pretty much shot right there, which was disappointing in the least. So, for the month of February 2012, I did kick sets in the gutter lane and went to physical therapy 1-2 times per week. My MRI was scheduled for early March, right after I got back from vacation.

A week after my MRI, I had a follow-up with the orthopedic surgeon. My results were as follows:

1.Avulsion of the anterior posterior labrum with intact periosteum compatible with Perthes lesion.
2.Linear labral tear involving the superior and posterior labrum.
3.Hill-sachs deformity.
4.Undersurface fraying of the suprastpinatus tendon.

Basically, I have fairly standard traumatic dislocation injuries. Perthes lesion is a variant of a Bankart tear. Hill-sachs refers to a compression fracture in the humeral head, caused by bone-on-bone action when the shoulder dislocates from the joint. My labrum is all torn up and detached from the glenoid in certain areas. All this damage adds up to having a shoulder that doesn’t stay in place all that well. My rotator cuff and biceps tendon are A-OK though, so I guess that’s good lol.

So, based the results, I was recommended for surgery. I asked the surgeon, on a spectrum of minor to severe instability, where was I? I mean, I had read that some people have shoulders so unstable that they dislocate in their sleep! “Well, it’s not good, but it’s not horrible,” she said. I found that to be really helpful – NOT lol. She told me to think about my lifestyle, and if I would be willing to continue to live with my current situation of occasional interruptions followed by an annoying level of pain/soreness/dead feeling/pins and needles. She said that swimming itself would not make the injury worse – only actual events of subluxation could possibly worsen the damage. But by that point I had been through at least a dozen since my original dislocation, and that I was pretty much at risk at all times since minor everyday movements could cause my shoulder to sublux. But she also assured me that she wouldn’t recommend surgery unless she thought that it would help me.

I left the doctor’s office depressed and skeptical. I knew that I had A LOT to think about.

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Updated September 25th, 2012 at 01:51 PM by swimslick

Tags: mri, surgery


  1. TUTs_mama's Avatar
    I'm sorry :-( That is so rough to hear when all you want to do is swim. reading your post, I really felt for you. I am terrified of a shoulder injury like most people are terrified of a back injury. And all of this was caused by your skateboarding accident?
  2. swimslick's Avatar
    Thanks Yes, all of this was initally caused by falling off my skateboard over 4 years ago. I sort of take solace in the fact that my shoulder problem isn't due to overuse/overtraining or bad technique. Many swimmers can develop this same problem because of those things however (atraumatic vs. traumatic injury). So while it appears that I have a 'swimmer's injury', it really isn't. I just happen to be a swimmer!

    I'm in the acceptance phase now, so ready to get the show on the road! I'm in it for the long haul