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Thread: reverse shoulder replacement - can I swim afterward ??

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    reverse shoulder replacement - can I swim afterward ??

    I've got massive rotator cuff tear. DR. suggests a reverse shoulder replacement. Will I still be able to swim afterward? If anyone out there has been through this surgery I'd like to know how it impacted your swimming. I'm a 66 year old male who has been competing for 12 years.

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    Re: reverse shoulder replacement - can I swim afterward ??

    bob,
    i have not had that.
    i would need more details. as there are 4 muscles in the cuff, which ones are damaged? on which end? muscle only or tendons too?
    do you have any other issues in that shoulder to complicate things? ie. SLAP, AC, bicep head....

    all that said, yes you can recover and race again. bob, the results will be how much you put into the recovery rehab.
    im not gonna sugar coat it. shoulder surgery sucks. i've had my knee done 2 times and my shoulder 2 times. i'd rather have my knee done every weekend (52 times) than my shoulder 1 time. that said, yes you can bounce back...it takes time and effort.

    i wish you the best of luck
    steve

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    Re: reverse shoulder replacement - can I swim afterward ??

    You should maintain close communication with your doctor to determine the best time to return to the pool. When you are able to get back into the water after the surgery, your focus should be on developing total body strength. You should also be sure to get your technique analyzed once you are ready to start training again. This is extremely important to keep your joints in good shape and avoid injuries.

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    Re: reverse shoulder replacement - can I swim afterward ??

    Quote Originally Posted by sunruh View Post
    bob,
    i have not had that.
    i would need more details. as there are 4 muscles in the cuff, which ones are damaged? on which end? muscle only or tendons too?
    do you have any other issues in that shoulder to complicate things? ie. SLAP, AC, bicep head....

    all that said, yes you can recover and race again. bob, the results will be how much you put into the recovery rehab.
    im not gonna sugar coat it. shoulder surgery sucks. i've had my knee done 2 times and my shoulder 2 times. i'd rather have my knee done every weekend (52 times) than my shoulder 1 time. that said, yes you can bounce back...it takes time and effort.

    i wish you the best of luck
    steve
    I had a ruptured biceps tendon in that same arm 5 years ago. My concern upon researching the reverse replacement is that there is limited range of motion post-op. In the reverse replacement, the deltoid does all the work. the humerus is altered to do the socket function, and an artifical ball is placed on the other side (where the socket is normally). The Dr was not specific as to which muscles were torn, just that there were more than one and that they cannot be repaired.

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    Re: reverse shoulder replacement - can I swim afterward ??

    i think you not only need more details but you need a 2nd opinion! or 3rd.
    the 3rd doc finally fixed mine correctly. the 1st one really got me upset...said i was getting old get over it. the 2nd one gave me a numbing shot that lasted all of 2 days but i had to wait 5 weeks to get back in and he said i just needed rehab. um, i had done 5 months of rehab (like what he was going to prescribe) already! heck to the no with him too. finally 3rd doc (that was not part of some big fancy clinc with a "name"). told me in great detail what he was going to try, what results he expected and when, what that plan was if things didnt go that way...i was shocked such a doc existed...
    imho, i dont like this docs answer to you in the least little bit
    why cant the muscles be repaired?
    is the bicep tendon beyond repair as well? why?
    how much less range of motion and why?
    how long for the rehab? what are the 1week,2week,3week,4week,8week,12week post op goals?
    all of this should be spelled out in great detail...not let me chop you and you'll be ok.
    find a doc that knows/played/workson baseball players....swimming is all overhead motion just like throwing a baseball.

    steve

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    Re: reverse shoulder replacement - can I swim afterward ??

    Thanks for the good feedback.
    The reverse replacement is a relatively new ( about 10 yrs old) procedure and I was hoping to find a competitive masters swimmer who has had that done. Since the ball and socket will be on opposite sides of where they are now, the shoulder joint will work differently.
    I swam 29 miles in January, and averaged about 25 miles a month thru June this year. Now I can't lift a gallon jug of milk with my right arm.
    I saw ortho surgeon again today. Got some more clarification. He was much more upbeat about possibility of swimming. He has had patients return to swimming after this surgery. But I will have to be careful. Shoulder will be in an immobilizing sling for 4-6 weeks, then if I'm progressing, I can get back in the water but only kick for a while. There will be post-op therapy which will ultimately determine when I can actually swim. Looking at 4-6 months rehab.
    This doctor is my second opinion and was recommended by physical therapist as the best in town. The first orthopedic surgeon I saw was a lot like yours. He said " I can't do anything for you. Play the hand you've been dealt. Come back in 3 weeks. (Huh ?) " . I interpreted it to mean "you're too old to be doing the things you are doing. Stop and live with the pain you have caused yourself. Come back in 3 weeks so I can get more of your money".

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    Re: reverse shoulder replacement - can I swim afterward ??

    bob,
    that is a lot better info with this doc.
    however, i still dont understand the need for a replacement.
    more importantly, why replace the ball and socket if they are not the issue!!!
    ie: its like saying you need knee replacement for an acl tear.
    may i suggest you get a 3rd opinion that starts from the begining. yes its more time but you are worth it.
    find the shoulder doc for cleveland indians and go see them.
    steve

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    Re: reverse shoulder replacement - can I swim afterward ??

    Bob, so what did you do about the massive rotator cuff tear? I have a massive rotator cuff tear that they are saying might be repairable if they can pull back and repair enough of the infraspinatus in order to put a cadaver patch on the top to pose as the supraspinatus to keep the humerus down. Right now my humerous is hitting the joint every time I move my arm and upward direction. I suppose mine is degeneration with impingement syndrome. If they are unable to do the patch then a few years later when Iím in more pain and my mobility is less than they are suggesting a reverse shoulder replacement. Cannot do a shoulder replacement in that you have to have a rotator cuff in order to have a shoulder replacement. But Iíve also read that too many shoulder surgeries are performed in the United States and that they are trying to come up with new ways for shoulder problems. The cadaver patch to help the arm bone stay down has only been in existence for 10 years and has not been proven to be effective for swimmers yet. Maybe not enough data or tests yet.

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    Re: reverse shoulder replacement - can I swim afterward ??

    Hello Bob, I posted to this blog earlier this year. Sounds like I have the same situation as you and still in limbo as to what direction to go. I have seen 6 surgeons and since ROM is good and pain is low, doing PT, but feel very limited. How are you doing now? Did you have any surgery?

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