The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 16, 2002
    Location
    Upperville, VA
    Posts
    1,780

    Default Anyone tear their rotator cuff? How was the surgery?

    And, how long until you were back riding or 100%?

    I had a really bad fall galloping and tore my rotator cuff, so I'm heading in for surgery and a little nervous about it. Mostly of post op pain, and I heard rehab is really hard. I can still ride now, as long as nothing pulls forward on me, so most racehorses are out, which has cut my personal income by more then I care to think about. I miss the track so much and can't wait to get back there, right now I'm just riding sale horses at home, plus a few steeple chase horses.

    I can't wash my hair, pull a shirt on and off, or do much with my right arm, but I'm still nervous about having the surgery. Has anyone had it done and it's not as big of deal as I'm fearing it will be?

    The upside is I can't muck stalls any more
    WestWind Farms
    Love means attention, which means looking after the things we love. We call this stable management.
    - George H. Morris



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 24, 2003
    Location
    Hunt Country Heaven, VA
    Posts
    630

    Default

    I have had both rotator cuffs repaired. The first back in 2000 to repair a hole that a bone spur from a badly separated shoulder had worn in the muscle. Surgery wasn't so bad, however I developed frozen shoulder even with doing PT and had to go back to the OR to unfreeze it. Immediately back to PT the next day and it took a total of about 4 mths. to heal and be useful. It was painful, but not horrible. I slept propped up on fluffy pillows.

    The 2nd repair was done almost two years ago this coming Dec. (day before Xmas! ). The rotator in my shoulder was torn as well as one of my bicep muscles as the result of being bucked off, fracturing the opposite shoulder blade, 4 ribs and puncturing a lung. It wasn't until everything on the left side healed about two mths. after the wreck before we discovered the right rotator mess.

    Anyway, at this point, and not to scare you, but if anything happened to either shoulder again, I'd probably opt for AMPUTATION!! I swear, had I been a coyote, I probably would have chewed my shoulder off.

    This rehab was long, very painful and agonizingly frustrating. Sleeping at night was next to impossible and no pain meds seemed to touch the throbbing. I was in PT from the end of December until the end of April going two or three times a week. My physical therapist was THE BEST guy I had ever had work on me and even though I spent many sessions literally with tears running down my cheeks, he fixed me up pretty well. He listened to what made the shoulder feel better, which stretches seemed to help the most and knew when to push or not.

    I'm sorry you have to go through this surgery. It ain't no picnic, but living with a half useless shoulder/arm isn't any fun either. Hang tough, you'll get through it, especially if you are younger. We oldsters don't bounce back like we used to!
    Lost in the Land of the Know It Alls



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 27, 2009
    Posts
    937

    Default

    My dad had the surgery last year (he's in his 50s), he was pretty sore for a couple days after the surgery, but as long as you take your pain pills on a schedule (don't wait until you start to hurt!) it shouldn't be too bad.

    He's very active (snowboarder) so he was bummed to be out for a while. It took a couple months for him to be at about 80% but then it took maybe another 6 months to be back at 100%
    Cascadia- OTTB mare. 04/04-05/10
    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 16, 2002
    Location
    Upperville, VA
    Posts
    1,780

    Default

    Ahhh, so the rehab really is that bad! I'm not in a sling now because they were warning me about frozen shoulder, that sounds about as nasty as tearing it.

    I don't sleep much now, I can never get or stay comfortable unless I'm in a chair propped up really. Then I'll move or stretch the wrong way asleep and think someone is stabbing my in the arm, so not fun! Can't hold anything heavier then a half fill soda can or I just drop it, I've broken 3 glasses so far. Can't cut food well, I feel like a toddler, I even have a sippy cup my DH got me as a joke.

    I guess it's a good time of year to do it, and I'm hoping to be back galloping fully in 6 months (yippee, no freezing cold mornings on the back of 3 year old race horses for me this winter!) and eventing in March, but I'm guessing it will all depend on the rehab and how bad it is when they go in. The one doctor said it was 3 tendons.

    I think I'm just really nervous. I wish it hadn't happened, but nothing I could do about it, when the filly went down, I went with her, she just happened to land on me and smoosh me into the rail. All in all it could have been way worse, so I'm thankful it's just my shoulder!

    After rehab, were you 100% or is it always a little weaker or do you not trust using that shoulder?
    WestWind Farms
    Love means attention, which means looking after the things we love. We call this stable management.
    - George H. Morris



  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 3, 2006
    Posts
    11,568

    Default

    My wife had a mitek surgical anchor as part of anterior capsule labral reconstruction surgery.

    Prior to that her rotator cuff injury meant her shoulder was dislocating about once a month and her language was disgusting! She swore like a trooper ever time her shoulder came out!

    Post surgery it's happened once and that was when she fell over the dog and landed flat out with her weight on her arm and shoulder ...... I still find it hard not to laugh at the thought of that one !



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    46,275

    Default

    I also tore mine and am waiting for surgery, if the cardiologist ever gets brave and gives me a cardiac clearance.

    I hear you about getting dressed, hard to button shirts, write, halter a horse or unbuckle a halter, etc.

    Reading the responses with trepidation, doesn't sound that easy a recovery, right down scaryyyyy.

    I dislocated my shoulder when the colt I was riding hit a tree, some almost 40 years ago and at that time it took me two years to have a completely functional shoulder.
    Once it healed, it was 100% until I tore something up again recently.

    Dr said shoulders are not made to do what we ask them to do, that is why so many humans have shoulder trouble so easily, not even counting the damage wrecks can do to them.

    Good luck with your surgery.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 29, 2006
    Location
    Colorado- Yee Haw!
    Posts
    3,423

    Default

    Okay- I don't remember all of the technical terms around what I had done to my shoulder- but I tore the rotator cuff and all of the connective tissue. It had been slipping in and out a few times a week while kayaking for a few months until it came out with the ball part 8 or so inches out the front and my arm stuck up behind my head in a position I couldn't slip it back in again.

    I was told I would never carry a baby or groceries without risking it slipping out without surgery by 3 different surgeons.

    So, I had open surgery that lasted just over 8 hours to piece it back together. They had to put mylar anchors in 3 or 4 different places to get it back together.

    I only give you that background b/c someone who had open surgery vs. a scope will have very different experiences.

    Was it rough? Yes, the 3 days after surgery I was in pretty bad shape. After that it was just annoying, sometimes painful and I spent a lot of time in rehab (I think I went 3X/ week - I was in grad school and had an extremely flexible schedule which was awesome.) Cooking was really hard for a while and it was maybe 2 months before I could properly put my hair in a ponytail.

    I had a great sugeon and PT person though and they did an incredible job! I think I had the surgery in August and by the following summer I was doing everything I had the summer before and more. This was a decade ago and the shoulder is totally bomber even now. The only time I've though specifically about it in the past 5 years was when picking out a wedding dress as I did end up with a pretty noticable scar from it.

    So- it's a lot of work, but if in the same position again I would jump at getting it fixed. In the long run it was soo worth it! I trust the shoulder completely- it's probably slightly more robust than the one they didn't fix (I swam D1 in college though so I loosened them up pretty bad and one of my rehab goals was for the fixed shoulder to not get the range of motion of the other one, but instead the range of motion of an average person.)

    If you can have someone around to help you for the first week or two that would be incredibly helpful. I didn't and I think getting out of the inital terrible stage took longer because of it.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 16, 2002
    Location
    Upperville, VA
    Posts
    1,780

    Default

    Bluey, I'm sorry you are getting yours done too! Next OT day, if you've had your surgery, we'll have to compare notes.

    Mine subsuxates very easily, which doesn't hurt, but the muscles contract and it's hard to get back in, then it starts hurting and stays that way for about 45 minutes. I've only had it come fully out twice, once on a race horse pulling like a train, and once I tripped and hit the door frame. Both times it took a wall and another person to get it back in, and I bet my language was less then Sunday School! Never have I felt pain like that, it made me vomit both times.

    Martini, ouch! I'm scheduled for a scope, unless it's worse then they think. I'm hoping for the scope, it sounds much easier and less invasive for sure! Good to hear it's better then ever, it's actually great to hear.
    WestWind Farms
    Love means attention, which means looking after the things we love. We call this stable management.
    - George H. Morris



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2007
    Location
    Wilsonville, Ontario, CANADA
    Posts
    4,644

    Default

    I tore mine badly 2 years ago and fractured my arm to boot falling down a small flight of stairs (4 of them) on black ice and landed smack on my shoulder on the frozen limestone landing below

    I was in a cast and sling and the doctor's all said "surgery" to correct it. I couldnt wash my hair, brush my hair, put my bra on, pick anything up, lift my arm more than about 2-3 inches away from my side. It was the most damned frustrating thing I never wished to go through ever again

    Surgery was scheduled for 6 weeks down the road

    I "consulted" with a friend of mine who had gone through multiple breaks, contusions, dislocated shoulders, torn rotator cuffs, etc - everything that could possibly happen - happened to her. I spoke to many many people who had the surgery done and every single one of them said they wished they had never gone through with it - they were worse after and the rehab afterwards was awful

    So - I went back to my injury prone friend and said "okay - what exercises can I possibly do to fix this thing myself?" and she gave me a bunch to do, said it would be frustrating and hard and it would hurt and she was right on all accounts However many reps I was supposed to do - I did more and I did them as many times a day as I could fit in. What helped me the most was standing in the shower with hot hot water pounding down on the injured area and I would push that arm against the wall and "walk" the arm upwards with my fingers up the wall and when it hurt like Hell, I'd force it another inch or so higher and just hold it there

    So much progress was being made I opted to cancel the surgery

    About 4 months later I went back to see my doctor on an unrelated issue and she chastised me for cancelling the surgery, and not going to physio and asked if I had any mobility in that arm at all and how I was managing with it. I stuck my arm straight up in the air, reached a book on her top shelf, and brought it down for her. She was flabbergasted and said that obviously I was no longer a surgical candidate any more!

    I assume that all cases are not the same and all damage is not the same, but according to the doctors that read my reports mine was extensively damaged. After hearing all of the not-very-promising stories of rehab and how much worse the arm was afterwards, I opted to do something about it myself and I am SO glad I did. Other than the odd twinges here and there and not being able to lift hay bales up to the 6th row any longer, it is almost as good as new

    Good luck in whatever decision you make with yours ...



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2000
    Location
    passepartout
    Posts
    10,476

    Default

    While I haven't had rotator cuff surgery, I did have a pretty bad shoulder injury a few years ago.

    Unfortunately, what I'm going to recommend will sound a bit like tin-foil hattery but I swear this is the only thing that allowed me to sleep through the night (for months):

    Infrasound machine

    These are popular equine therapeutic devices at the racetrack (although sold for humans) and I borrowed one from a vet. The device doesn't seem to do much, it just emits this kind of low, barely-audible rumbling sound and you hold it (or tape it) to your shoulder.

    I scoffed at what it purported to do; my vet friend said to try it anyway.

    At first, I'd put in on my shoulder when I got in bed at night (which was in itself an ordeal; getting out of bed was even worse). Soon, I noticed I was falling asleep quickly and waking up to turn the machine back on (it has a timer). Eventually, I just left the machine on all night and taped it to my shoulder.

    It's hard to explain, but the damn thing was soooo relaxing. Don't know if it does anything it claims to do but it can't hurt you and there's nothing as priceless as a good night's sleep.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 10, 2002
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    1,114

    Default

    Have had both mine done (at different times). Tried the physical therapy only route on one, but it turned out a bone spur was cutting a hole through the tissue...so the more I exercised, the more damage I was doing.

    On both I was back to riding (careful, controlled situations) at about 3-4 weeks. (shhh...my ortho doesn't know...but then, I didn't ask, and he never commented to me about when I could or could not ride ) Pretty much fully recovered by 9-12 weeks. I regained full mobility in both...100% strength in one and I'd say 95% in the other. I have two 6" scars. Scoping wasn't possible with mine.

    I go about my daily life and riding as if nothing had happened with my shoulders. They do not bother me and I simply don't think about them because the problem no longer exists.

    While the PT was no picnic, I've endured much worse. There was a pretty significant degree of improvement at about the two week post-op mark for me and then it was all uphill from there. For me, the surgery was definitely worth it.

    Ask about having a nerve block done in addition to the anesthesia. When you wake up your whole shoulder will be numb for several hours. It makes getting the initial pain under control easier.

    However...make sure they do the nerve block prior to putting you to sleep. They jumped the gun on one of mine and I woke up with the whole side of my head numb instead of my shoulder.

    Good luck!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 1, 2008
    Posts
    5,097

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Belgian View Post
    I have had both rotator cuffs repaired. The first back in 2000 to repair a hole that a bone spur from a badly separated shoulder had worn in the muscle. Surgery wasn't so bad, however I developed frozen shoulder even with doing PT and had to go back to the OR to unfreeze it. Immediately back to PT the next day and it took a total of about 4 mths. to heal and be useful. It was painful, but not horrible. I slept propped up on fluffy pillows.

    The 2nd repair was done almost two years ago this coming Dec. (day before Xmas! ). The rotator in my shoulder was torn as well as one of my bicep muscles as the result of being bucked off, fracturing the opposite shoulder blade, 4 ribs and puncturing a lung. It wasn't until everything on the left side healed about two mths. after the wreck before we discovered the right rotator mess.

    Anyway, at this point, and not to scare you, but if anything happened to either shoulder again, I'd probably opt for AMPUTATION!! I swear, had I been a coyote, I probably would have chewed my shoulder off.

    This rehab was long, very painful and agonizingly frustrating. Sleeping at night was next to impossible and no pain meds seemed to touch the throbbing. I was in PT from the end of December until the end of April going two or three times a week. My physical therapist was THE BEST guy I had ever had work on me and even though I spent many sessions literally with tears running down my cheeks, he fixed me up pretty well. He listened to what made the shoulder feel better, which stretches seemed to help the most and knew when to push or not.

    I'm sorry you have to go through this surgery. It ain't no picnic, but living with a half useless shoulder/arm isn't any fun either. Hang tough, you'll get through it, especially if you are younger. We oldsters don't bounce back like we used to!
    Pretty acurate and I would add, DON'T GET ON A HORSE UNTIL YOUR DOCTOR CLEARS YOU TO RIDE. One fall and you start all over again. Do you want to go through it TWICE? Trust me, NO.

    I was off the horse for 6 months. Mine was so torn that they had to dig out bone to reattach everything. The first two weeks after surgery will be the most painful thing of your life. Swallow pain pills like candy. Trust me on this...don't be a hero.

    Follow your PT to the letter. This is how you get your shoulder back.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2007
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    3,389

    Default

    My mom tore her rotator cuff maybe ten years ago, but she's a tennis player. I know it took her about a year or more to get back to tennis, but I'd say tennis is very different from riding in regards to your rotator cuff. She's always had arm problems since, though I think it's because she didn't wait long enough to go back to tennis though, because she sort of re injured herself. Make sure you follow doctors orders for this so that does not happen to you!
    (|--Sarah--|)

    Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 16, 2002
    Location
    Upperville, VA
    Posts
    1,780

    Default

    Thanks for all your responses, makes me feel a little better. I didn't know they could block it pre-op, I'm going to ask for that!

    Here's one last silly question, but what did you all do about your hair? Mine is almost always up, and I don't think I can put in a pony tail with one hand. I was thinking of cutting it short right before I go in.

    I've gotten pretty good at getting out of cloths, but sometimes get stuck, not a pretty sight on a 35 year old! My dog is thrilled, she loves nothing more then to cuddle in bed with me. I'm getting a ton of books and Netflix set up, I can't stand being inside and not at the barn, so I figured this would help distract me.

    You guys really did help, I not looking forward to it, but I was worried about getting back to my life which is pretty physical~galloping racehorses. Honest truth is it's hard to even drive, can't even turn the car on with my right hand anymore. It's definitely time! Thanks again!
    WestWind Farms
    Love means attention, which means looking after the things we love. We call this stable management.
    - George H. Morris



  15. #15
    Join Date
    May. 11, 2004
    Posts
    2,355

    Default

    I tore mine waited over a year to finally drag my butt to a dr to see what was going on.. Had it fixed with in 6 wks of first going to dr. He had to do the Pt thing first to prove to insurance that PT wouldnt fix it... The first day it hurt like a SOB.. 2nd day not so much but I had one of those self injector thingies of morphine..
    I found sleeping with my hurt shoulder/arm on a low pillow to keep it lifted/held up and not sagging back on to the bed helped in reducing the pain. I had hte surgery the last week of June. by end of Oct. I was cleared to ride again. But I had pt 4x's a week. It was pita and I still do not have 100% rom probably bout 95-98% but will never be 100% because I waited for over a yr to have it checked out and fixed. And I may have damaged it not to long ago as I was doing the same thing as before and heard an awful crunching, popping sound the pain shooting down arm... I really dont want to go to the dr which is why i didnt go the first time around.. Dont like the prospect of being cut open again.
    Friend of bar .ka



Similar Threads

  1. Tendinopathy, full thickness tears, etc ( rotator cuff stuff)
    By eventer80 in forum Equestrians with Disabilities
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: Sep. 3, 2012, 04:29 AM
  2. Rotator cuff surgery : down time for riding?
    By Wanderluster in forum Off Topic
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: Aug. 16, 2011, 01:15 PM
  3. Replies: 64
    Last Post: Feb. 21, 2011, 08:44 AM
  4. Rotator Cuff Repair...How to Keep Horse Legged Up?
    By FifteenOne in forum Dressage
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: Oct. 25, 2010, 02:29 PM
  5. Replies: 18
    Last Post: Jul. 6, 2009, 10:22 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •