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View Full Version : How soon were you back on your horse after rotator cuff surgery?



Lilykoi
Jul. 2, 2009, 05:17 PM
My searching of previous threads didn't really address this question. My friend will most likely need surgery. She is trying to PT it but its not going so well. I know everyone is different, but she is a very fit almost 60 (;))year old. Her horses aren't luggers or difficult to ride, but realistically, anyone with experience have some good information for her? Doctors always paint such a gloomy picture. I'm having a hip replaced and I am sure hoping I will be back sooner than my doctor predicts, yikes! Seems like my friend's surgeon has the same ideas. Just because we are nearing geezerdom doesn't mean we are quite ready for the rocking chair. Anyone? Thanks!

yankeeclipper
Jul. 2, 2009, 05:55 PM
I had labrum surgery on my right shoulder and got on my horse about 3 months later but didn't really start riding until month 4.

Word of caution, my range of motion in my shoulder was very compromised from the injury and surgery. So a year later when I was leading my horse out of the indoor he spooked backwards which pulled the heck out of all the muscles in that area. If this happened 3 - 4 months after the surgery I would have been looking at another surgery, so when your friend starts riding again be very, very careful if it's the side she leads on.

Lilykoi
Jul. 2, 2009, 06:03 PM
Wow, long recovery. Hers is on the left, but still, good advice. I too am looking at three months before riding. It seems like a lifetime. I get depressed just thinking about it. Neither of us have a choice, still its a tough road back.

GirlGeek
Jul. 3, 2009, 12:15 AM
I'm 48 and had modified open RT and bursa repair (problem diagnosed at time of RT surgery) in September 08 and was back to light riding (no jumping) late Nov/early Dec. I was going to physical therapy 3x/week and doing exercises at home -- PT makes all the difference. There were people in PT that had less work done a few months earlier than I did but weren't doing their PT exercises consistently/religiously. They were still in PT when I stopped going.

I was a bit paranoid about riding and possibly falling and wrecking the work that was done, but that passed pretty quickly. I think as long as you listen to your physical therapist, use a good bit of common sense about what you are doing, realize that heavy lifting (buckets, hay) is out for a while, and that greenies with light feet are not a good idea for about 6 months, you/she will be fine. (you WILL find new and interesting ways to put the saddle on your horse!)

The one thing that initially bothered me post-op: dismounting. I'm 5' tall and my horse was about 16.1. I had surgery on my right shoulder; when I dismount, I (apparently) use my right arm to slow my slide off. That gave me about a sharp 5 on a 10 point pain scale the first time I dismounted. I learned to work around it and as the healing progressed, that pain/ache went away.

Tell your friend to have some pictures of the type of riding that she does to show her therapist if they aren't familiar with horses and the type of moving that you do in your discipline. You'd be surprised what non-horsey therapists think you do when you say you ride horses. The only thing my therapist knew about horses came from watching the Kentucky Derby and rodeo...not necessarily a good thing!

Best of luck to your friend - she'll be back in the tack before she realizes it!

macmtn
Jul. 3, 2009, 08:26 AM
Had that done-it was 3 months before I could return to work, and 5 months before I could ride again. On the other hand, I HATED my physical therapy exercises. I found brushing my steed was an excellent substitute :lol: and he loved the extra attention. Jingles for her recovery..

Lilykoi
Jul. 3, 2009, 09:45 AM
I'm 48 and had modified open RT and bursa repair (problem diagnosed at time of RT surgery) in September 08 and was back to light riding (no jumping) late Nov/early Dec. I was going to physical therapy 3x/week and doing exercises at home -- PT makes all the difference. There were people in PT that had less work done a few months earlier than I did but weren't doing their PT exercises consistently/religiously. They were still in PT when I stopped going.
Best of luck to your friend - she'll be back in the tack before she realizes it!


This is good advice for me too. I am hoping the PT makes the difference for me with my THR. I have been working out like a demon (yeah, it hurts like hell) in prep for the surgery hoping the stronger I am going in the faster my recovery will be for riding sooner. My friend and I are both pretty tough about working through pain. Thanks for the encouragement!

snbess
Jul. 3, 2009, 09:54 AM
I had my surgery (left shoulder, arthroscopic) in December right before Christmas a few years ago. I did that on purpose, so I had the time to heal before riding season started...and didn't feel guilty giving Bess the winter off. I started riding again in March and was completely fine. I did my PT like a good patient and had full range of motion and strength back by or before then. I was also rehabbing a hip injury at the same time, so that is what actually slowed me down more than the shoulder. I would have ridden sooner had it just been the shoulder. I do wish I hadn't waited so long to do surgery...I suffered for several years before I gave up and did it. The shoulder is great now.
Sandra

Pronzini
Jul. 3, 2009, 10:12 AM
Surgery in mid August and rode again in late December. After the sling came off in early November, the main concern was how weak the arm was and if I fell on it off the horse, it could be disastrous. Tell your friend to take the whole healing time off from riding. It's better to be safe than sorry.

up-at-5
Jul. 3, 2009, 12:09 PM
I had a Bankart surgery(4 screws into left shoulder) in October, I was on my newly acquired OTTB within 2 weeks. I hurt, but riding was ok, just did walk and trot. Have had two falls since then and all is ok.

Go Fish
Jul. 3, 2009, 02:40 PM
I had my surgery (left shoulder, arthroscopic) in December right before Christmas a few years ago. I did that on purpose, so I had the time to heal before riding season started...and didn't feel guilty giving Bess the winter off. I started riding again in March and was completely fine. I did my PT like a good patient and had full range of motion and strength back by or before then. I was also rehabbing a hip injury at the same time, so that is what actually slowed me down more than the shoulder. I would have ridden sooner had it just been the shoulder. I do wish I hadn't waited so long to do surgery...I suffered for several years before I gave up and did it. The shoulder is great now.
Sandra

If they slice and dice you, plan on 5-6 months. This surgery is so painful that you will not want to risk having to go through it again. One fall and you're screwed. The RC repair is not fully healed for 6 months.

Lilykoi
Jul. 3, 2009, 07:04 PM
If they slice and dice you, plan on 5-6 months. This surgery is so painful that you will not want to risk having to go through it again. One fall and you're screwed. The RC repair is not fully healed for 6 months.


And to think all of this because an ill mannered dog took her out from behind!
Not even a dramatic story of a jump gone wrong or getting bucked off a baby!
Stupid dog.

mbmarsh
Jul. 4, 2009, 09:46 AM
So for arthro labrum surgery, even if you're 29 like me, you're in a sling for four weeks - no motion at all. When it comes out, you still can't move it above your chest - I had to have my husband help me put my hair up for at least another eight weeks or so. I was going to PT three times a week, and I progressed quickly (probably a lot due to my age), but you don't realize all the different ways your shoulder can move.

The first time they asked me try to reach up my back, I couldn't even get above the bottom of my jeans pocket - and before surgery, I could almost touch my ponytail.

I was lucky/unlucky that my horse was rehabbing a SDFT injury at the same time, so I didn't have that temptation to ride. My surgery was in June, and it was maybe November before I rode, and even that was a bit scary.

Bottom line, it's a long rehab, and it's kinda sucky. I fell off my horse this past winter, and torn the labrum in my other shoulder trying to hold onto the reins. Eventually going to have to get surgery on that one too, but right now, first cortisone shot is still holding, so we'll put that off as long as we can. I only had my first surgery after the third cortisone shot only lasted a few months - that's about as many as they are willing to do.

It's a bummer, but like someone else said, DO YOUR PT!!!!! I wasn't as good at it as I should have been, but I think my age probably helped we skate along a bit. If you don't have that advantage, make sure you keep working on it - you can see progress quickly, but only if you are religious about it.

sid
Jul. 4, 2009, 11:11 AM
I'm years overdue for this surgery(MRI showed full thickness tear 6 years ago). I avoided surgery by slinging then doing nothing with a full extension of my shoulder. I've "made due".

But a few months ago, the screaming pain started again but what I did before isn't working all that well. For the last week my pinky and ring finger are numb.

My issue is not riding, but how the heck to I handle my horses and 3 stallions with one arm??

SparklePlenty
Jul. 4, 2009, 11:24 AM
I had labrum surgery on my right shoulder and got on my horse about 3 months later but didn't really start riding until month 4.

Word of caution, my range of motion in my shoulder was very compromised from the injury and surgery. So a year later when I was leading my horse out of the indoor he spooked backwards which pulled the heck out of all the muscles in that area. If this happened 3 - 4 months after the surgery I would have been looking at another surgery, so when your friend starts riding again be very, very careful if it's the side she leads on.

Exact same situation here - and even now 3 years (Nov) out of surgery, i am still in pain from over using it. Though partially i feel they stitched it too tight, but it's not fun to go through. Tell her to take her time getting back - i rushed it and am paying for it.

atr
Jul. 4, 2009, 01:15 PM
5-6 months.

Do the physio, religiously. It sucks, but it means you will get your range of motion back, and it gave me contact with my fellow sufferers--misery loves company.

Oh, and stay away from the cookie jar...

Lilykoi
Jul. 4, 2009, 02:26 PM
5-6 months.

Do the physio, religiously. It sucks, but it means you will get your range of motion back, and it gave me contact with my fellow sufferers--misery loves company.

Oh, and stay away from the cookie jar...

HaHa! Good advice!!!:lol:

TrueColours
Jul. 4, 2009, 02:28 PM
I fell in early 2008 and tore the rotator cuff - badly and yes - PT was strongly suggested. It was torn right through and my range of motion was nil and I was in a cast and sling after going to emerg

I opted instead to "consult" ;) with a friend of mine who got beaten up really badly in a car crash and asked her what HER therapist had HER do and then I mimicked it on my own terms, in my own time, as many times a day as I could fit it in. Yes - each injury is different and each patient is different, but when I started, I couldnt lift my arm past waist level, had to bend over to brush my hair, forget about putting any hair clips in there, brushing teeth had to be done bent over, etc. It sucked and hurt big time. I couldnt pick up or carry anything, I had to lead all of the horses with my left arm, picked out stalls one handed, had a helluva time picking out feet because I had to rest their feet on my knee and then kind of chip away at it with my left arm. It truly sucked.

I was scheduled for surgery in 5-6 months and had an appointment with an orthaepedic specialist in 3 months time after the injury

When I went it for the appointment, he asked how long I had been in PT for and I said "0" - I opted to do everything myself, and he just looked at me with a fairly pissed off look in his face and he asked me what range of motion I now had. I lifted my arm above my head, swung it around, reached behind, held it straight out and lifted it up and down and he was truly amazed and told me that I was no way a candidate for surgery any longer and congratulations - I did more on my own in 3 months than most of his patients did in a year in PT

What helped me the very most was doing all of my stretching in the shower with the hot water blasting on my arm, and slowly inching my arm upwards as it was warmed up. Once it hurt, I pushed it another few inches and held it there while my arm screamed, before releasing it. And I repeated that several times. And I did that faithfully every day - sometimes twice - as well as other excercises where I would stand close to a wall and inch up it and hold it past the point of where it hurt and every day I was getting an inch or so more range in it

I did notice that my muscles had atrophied on that arm and I intentionally made it carry more weight than my left arm going forward. It hurt like heck and I wanted to cry in frustration at times and at times, I would be struggling to carry or pick up something with that arm and my husband would ask why I didnt simply switch to the other arm and I refused to do so

Everyone told me to avoid surgery like the plague and only use it as a last resort and I am so glad I listened to them now and worked through it on my own. At a guess, I probaby have about 95% mobility back and yeah - it definately twinges the odd time and I have to be careful with it but I also think I am miles ahead than if I had opted to go the surgical route

Good luck

baymare
Jul. 4, 2009, 07:19 PM
Like everything else, it all depends...what is fine for one person may not be for another.

I have had both shoulders done, 1st one (right) full thickness tear and open surgery, second one arthroscopic. Also bone spurs cleaned out and various other shoulder maintenance issues-- clavicle excision, etc.

After the open surgery, I was on in a couple of weeks-- still in sling (had to have help tacking up) and neck reining on my beloved old baymare. I was able to figure out a method for stall cleaning and was doing pretty much all my normal barn chores one-armed. Horse people are nothing if not creative. I was religious about my PT, and have kept up with strength training ever since. I am hitting 55 in a couple of weeks, this surgery was about six years ago and I would say the shoulder is 100%.

After the arthroscopy, was back to teaching and riding within a week. Much less pain right after surgery, but just as long in PT and to regain 100% use.

Good luck to your friend-it's not fun but I certainly am glad I had both procedures.

Lilykoi
Jul. 6, 2009, 10:22 AM
Thanks everyone for your input. All this info really helps my friend make her decision. I'll let you know how she does. Meanwhile, new hip for me tomorrow.
I sure hope I'm back in the saddle sooner than later too. Only thing I am looking
forward to right now is three days of morphine. Sweet.:yes: