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  1. #1
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    Default Rotator cuff repair surgery--UPDATE post 18

    I just found out that I have a tear in my right shoulder rotator cuff that requires a surgical repair.

    How long were you sidelined? Any advice? Pitfalls to avoid?

    How long before you were back riding?

    And what did you do with your horse while you were off?
    Last edited by Bristol Bay; Feb. 21, 2013 at 12:14 AM.
    A helmet saved my life.

    2014 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!



  2. #2
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    I assume that you read my reply on your other thread?
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eclectic Horseman View Post
    I assume that you read my reply on your other thread?
    Yes, and thank you!
    A helmet saved my life.

    2014 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!



  4. #4
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    Default

    If you do a search for the words "rotatory cuff surgery" there have been a few threads asking the same questions that you are asking.
    Good luck.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



  5. #5
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    PM ZuZu, she helped me with great advice when I had mine.

    Mostly, be prepared beforehand to be one handed.
    Ice is your friend, ice is your friend, ice is your friend, did I say to ice, ice, ice your shoulder after the fact?
    You probably can't drive for a week or two, getting washed and dressed one armed is interesting, so is bathroom hygiene.

    My repair was done under light anesthesia, amnesia drugs and a shoulder block, that lasted almost two days, the whole arm numb that time.

    Therapy, do the exercises, don't let the shoulder freeze is extremely important, as it is do them carefully, don't want to re-tear something and have to go for a second surgery.

    Keep the exercises for months afterwards, don't think it is ok now, why keep it up and let it all regress.

    Shoulder may never be quite the same, but I would say mine is 99%.

    Don't worry about wanting to do other soon, you will know when you can, your arm will tell you what you can do.

    The worst part of riding is getting on and second worst getting off.
    Riding itself is not bad.

    Time frame, well, it will depend on what all they have to do and how you heal, but definitely don't hurry anything, as re-injury is very possible.

    A horse trainer friend got a bit aggressive in his therapy and tore it again and had to have a second surgery.

    Put in some good books, movies, whatever you can to pass the time for a week or so, as you won't be doing that much.
    On the other hand, you can walk around, not like knee surgery, that pins you down.

    Good luck and PM ZuZu.



  6. #6
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    Default

    Having mine repaired two years ago... do what the Drs. tell you. Mine was six months before I could ride, but I don't have any limitations or fear of reinjuring. Most people I know who push it end up with at least one more surgery and a lifetime of reduced activity.
    Anne
    -------
    "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
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    Hi, I had rotator cuff surgery ages ago. I was out of work for 3 months, but could go back after 2 months (If I wanted do which I didn't).

    I was completely knocked out and in a bit of pain. I had stretches to immediately start which again were painful. the PT who stretched me was good, but the stretches were so painful!! I almost kneed him once because I said stop and he said I have to continue!

    I think I rode after the 3 months were up, I was having lessons so I made sure I got an easy horse.

    funny story, in 2001, I fell off a galloping horse and shattered my right collar bone - but the rotator cuff surgey? stayed attached. I have a bit of funny movement in that right shoulder due to the collar bone, not the surgery.



  8. #8
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    Out of work for three months? What kind of work do you do? I was hoping to take a week off (I am a teacher). Maybe that's a little unrealistic.

    The time frames you all give vary so widely.

    If I am going to be out of the saddle for six months, maybe I should just turn him out or sell?
    A helmet saved my life.

    2014 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!



  9. #9
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    I had to do exercises every hour ten times a day for the first two weeks or so.
    Don't see how you can manage that and teach, but maybe you can?
    They don't take that long, some are rubber bands, one is a pulley you hang from the door jam, so portable.

    I live in the boondocks and didn't have someone to drive me to therapy and could not drive, so that is why the Dr trusted me to do the exercises at home
    right and without fail.
    Same surgeon put my elbow back together 25 years ago and did great, got 100% use against his 75% at best prediction then.

    I would run that by your surgeon, see if he can make some accommodations after the first week or two so you can go back to teach.
    If you don't have to be on any serious medication, of course.



  10. #10
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    I am also working my way through the similar threads looked below. Wow--I have it easy!

    What's interesting is that I have pretty much a full range of motion. It just hurts like the dickens after I ride, even for a few minutes. I finally feel better after riding for 15 minutes on Sunday.

    It functions, I can do whatever I need to do, it just hurts afterwards.

    After reading some of the threads, I wonder if I should try some more PT. I had a round of it a few weeks ago, and it made me feel worse, like broken worse, but that was before the MRI when we all thought it was my biceps tendinitis acting up.
    A helmet saved my life.

    2014 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!



  11. #11
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    My recommendation would be to get a second opinion from a doctor whose primary focus is NOT surgery. Reason I say this is that I read about a study in Denmark under their National Health. They took twenty four people with identical (or close to identical) rotator cuff muscle tears. The twenty four were divided into two groups. One group got six months of intensive Physical Therapy; the other group got surgery + six months of intensive Physical Therapy. The outcomes in terms of pain and mobility between the two groups were virtually identical.

    Surgeons have been shown by scientific studies to recommend surgery more often than more conservative treatment. AND you're going to have to do the PT whether you have surgery or not.

    Of course there are some injuries that are so complete that PT and tincture of time isn't sufficient. But for many it will be.

    I should mention that before I read this study, I had rotator cuff surgery because of a riding accident that resulted in complete tears of three of the four rotator cuff muscles. It was not very successful, but I attribute that to six months of incorrect PT before another sport mediciine clinic showed me that the PT I had been doing was incorrect.

    I will say that the day I could wash my own hair using both arms in the shower was the day that I changed from massively depressed to hopeful. This surgery was far worse that the ACL replacement that I had. If you can avoid it, you really ought to.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire



  12. #12
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    I had surgery to repair the torn rotator cuff and remove some spurs, one that was cutting thru the main bicep tendon, that he had to repair, it was so shredded.
    Without that surgery, I probably would have needed emergency surgery to reattach that tendon once completely torn, a more complicated surgery.

    Some times, there is more going on in there and they can't really tell what to do until the surgeon looks directly in there.

    A second opinion is always good to have, but maybe not necessarily by someone that is not working on several shoulders a day.


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  13. #13
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    BB - I was a programmer and sat most of the day. the Physical Therapist did not want me to stress that joint - I could have gone back to work after 2 months and most do. Lucky for me I could take that extra month.

    I had torn 1 tendon from playing racket ball in my mid 20's did not go to get it fixed until I was in my 40's.

    pretty much that is what I remember, and the stretches HURT!



  14. #14
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    Vineyridge, I found your post to be very interesting. I tore my rotator cuff in 1999 (coming off a horse, of course) and decided not to have surgery. The orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed it was very supportive of my decision. The reason I made that choice was because I have severe RA, and every surgery I've had has entailed a very difficult recovery.

    So here I am all these years later, and the shoulder that I injured is my better one. I never injured the other one (just have RA involvement there), but it often hurts way too much. I have full range of motion and strength in the one I tore, and it rarely hurts. Go figure!

    Rebecca



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMJacobs View Post
    Vineyridge, I found your post to be very interesting. I tore my rotator cuff in 1999 (coming off a horse, of course) and decided not to have surgery. The orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed it was very supportive of my decision. The reason I made that choice was because I have severe RA, and every surgery I've had has entailed a very difficult recovery.

    So here I am all these years later, and the shoulder that I injured is my better one. I never injured the other one (just have RA involvement there), but it often hurts way too much. I have full range of motion and strength in the one I tore, and it rarely hurts. Go figure!

    Rebecca
    There are all kinds of tears. If you have a large full thickness tear, it cannot really heal on its own because the weight of the arm pulls the two sides of the tear apart. So it really depends on where your tear is, how large and thick it is, etc.

    I agree that it is worth waiting a good long while, and doing PT first, to see whether surgery is warranted.
    Last edited by Eclectic Horseman; Dec. 16, 2012 at 09:48 AM. Reason: spelling
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eclectic Horseman View Post
    There are all kinds of tears. If you have a large full thickness tear, it cannot really heal on its own because the weight of the arm pulls the two sides of the tear apart. So it really depends on where your tear is, how large and thick it is, etc.

    I agree that it is worth waiting a good long while, and doing PT first, to see whether surgery is warranted.
    I understand this perspective, but having a horse that costs $800 a month (board, shoes, extra feed) makes me want to have it over and done with, as does the idea of parking him in pasture for up to a year if the PT doesn't work and I need the surgery anyway. I hate to sell him; he's my dream horse. It just complicates my thinking about the whole thing.

    I am definitely going to talk to the surgeon again. The day of the consult was a bad day in many ways, and I don't think I was prepared with all my questions. And if nothing else, I can ask for a PT referral starting now, since the surgery would not be for a month, month and a half anyway.
    A helmet saved my life.

    2014 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
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    Much will depend on what kind of repairs are needed, severity of the problem starting out. Another issue might be HOW the Dr. repairs you, technique or method of repairing.

    I am going to say I am an "experienced" person with 4 rotator cuff surgeries in the family members here. We used the same surgeon for all the repairs. They each had various kinds of injuries, from worn out, torn, ripped loose. So whatever the method this Dr used, they all were recovering in pretty good shape within 5 days. 3 of the 4 repairs were doing finger walking up the wall in the recovery room. They needed to be doing this as much as possible until they got to PT with trained persons. The 4th surgery required anchoring the shoulder blade down with bone anchors, so she couldn't lift arm for a few weeks to let bone anchors get set and growing in.

    If possible, you really NEED to have another person around for a couple days to aid you with food, meds tracking, watching and changing dressings. Having them help you with an Ice Jacket will greatly relieve a lot of pain by freezing your injured area for short times. Our ice jacket has been loaned out a LOT to shoulder repaired friends who LOVED having it available. Just so much EASIER if the second person can lift and lower the ice water resevoir to allow water changes while you wear it.

    Husband is a very fast healer, no matter what happens to him. He was back to light work (Farrier) within two weeks, and doing PT as well. Son was back mostly to normal within two weeks, but he was student, not working hard physically, kept up with PT for 6 weeks. He had a moderately hard surgery, needed the pain pump tube run WAY DOWN inside for direct application of the meds. He was pretty glad to have the extra meds, but his repair was different than the others. DD had her shoulder blade anchors put in after ripping things loose in HS Swimming. So she took the longest to repair because arm had to be kept immobile so long. Couple month of PT, 3 days a week.

    I did chores. They PROBABLY could have dragged bales around, but handling horses would have been unsafe since all we had were quite young and silly then. One jerk would have gotten them in trouble during those first few days of healing.
    Better to board for a short time or have a person come in to do chores for you during that first couple weeks to be safe.

    I watched them all get back into things rather quickly I thought, compared to other folks with the same kinds of surgery. So MANY had to be arm immobile, then it was the DEVIL to free up frozen muscle and joints.

    You need to find some MEAN PT folks, maybe Sports Medicine Therapy places that will get you going. You shouldn't be hearing "Poor thing" from your Therapist because you MUST work thru some severe pain to improve well, get back to a good use of the arm and shoulder again. We don't use the local Hospital PT because they are just FULL of excuses why you don't improve, have no better methods to fix things! There is a GREAT Sports Medicine PT place nearby, who can almost work miracles if you do as they tell you. Be DEMANDING on improving, know what is going on, it is YOUR body and you want it to come back 99-100% after the repairs. Don't be passive or wimpy, you WILL be sorry later. Continue the exercises after PT ends, they will keep you working those parts, stretched out for better mobility.

    I just don't want you overdoing yourself, within the first few days of surgery. They call it Outpaitient, but it STILL is hard on you, you need to rest and recover a bit before pushing yourself. Every patient is different in recovery rates, what they have done to recover from. So take the needed time to get a good start on the process, don't work on chores to reinjure yourself. You are NOT at your best or even at "normal" for a bit. Take your antibiotics and pain meds ON TIME, REGULARLY to let your body rest from the hurting. Eat and drink often, stay hydrated as you heal.

    Here at least, things started improving about the 3rd day for them. But I didn't expect anything from them while they recovered. Letting them do any kind of chores was not on their list of "healing activities". Ha Ha.

    Good luck with your surgery, get in some help for you and equines!! Maybe if horse was boarded or had a sitter, you could stay at a Rehab place for a few days and have help at hand until you improve to go home.



  18. #18
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    Update: I just had the surgery, and the doc saw no need to repair my RC, so yay! This is a much easier recovery.

    Thank goodness for cold therapy and pain meds, not to mention a caring DH.

    I ended up sending my horse off to a lay up place, so we're both having a little vacation.

    It's only been a few days, but other than boredom, so far, so good!
    A helmet saved my life.

    2014 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Update: I just had the surgery, and the doc saw no need to repair my RC, so yay! This is a much easier recovery.

    Thank goodness for cold therapy and pain meds, not to mention a caring DH.

    I ended up sending my horse off to a lay up place, so we're both having a little vacation.

    It's only been a few days, but other than boredom, so far, so good!
    If you didn't need a rotator cuff repair, what was the surgery for?
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eclectic Horseman View Post
    If you didn't need a rotator cuff repair, what was the surgery for?
    Long story!

    The surgeon I saw back in December told me nothing about the results of my MRI other than I had a partial RC tear and would need surgery if PT hadn't helped. That was the first week of December. It took his office more than a week to even submit the paperwork to my insurance to get surgery approved. I had three weeks off over the holidays, so the timing would have been right, but the paperwork just sat on someone's stack. In the meantime, I tried to call the surgeon to ask more questions, but he never called me back. I had scheduled surgery, but with the lack of communication, I lost confidence in them and cancelled the whole thing.

    I called my former doctor, no longer a part of the approved provider list. His assistant helped me navigate the system to get permission to see my old doctor.

    I love him. He sat down with me and showed me all the issues evident from the MRI, the worst of which was my clavicle collapsing onto the tendons like a slow guillotine. He removed the bone, and at the same time was able to see that the RC tear was minor enough to leave alone.

    So I had to use sick time to have the surgery, but I am sooooo glad I waited to get the right doctor.
    A helmet saved my life.

    2014 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!



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