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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 26, 2011
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    46

    Default Anyone had rotator cuff tear surgery?

    Have a full thickness rotator cuff tear diagnosed through MRI. Very painful, been going on for a few months. Cortisone injection gave maybe 50% pain relief. Surgery advised but the recovery time is LONG and will make horsey stuff (and daily life!) difficult. Has anyone else had this injury and either had the surgery or passed on it? Would love to hear your experiences, thanks!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
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    41,147

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alterchicken View Post
    Have a full thickness rotator cuff tear diagnosed through MRI. Very painful, been going on for a few months. Cortisone injection gave maybe 50% pain relief. Surgery advised but the recovery time is LONG and will make horsey stuff (and daily life!) difficult. Has anyone else had this injury and either had the surgery or passed on it? Would love to hear your experiences, thanks!
    Start with Zu Zu, AO, she is the queen of advice and went thru that and has helped others go thru it, as myself.

    You can read some of our stories on the forum for that.

    I don't know about long recovery.
    I had mine anchored down and some spurs cut out and tendons repaired, one that was on it's last leg, the main reason for the surgery.

    I was feeding my horses the next day and yes, you have to be very careful and pt is long and furious, but all bearable.

    I did pt at home and was doing it every hour, ten times a day.
    The schedule was a killer, not the exercises.
    A friend just had that done and she choose the exercise machine, that keeps moving your arm some 6 hours a day, you don't have to.

    Ice is your friend, ice is your friend, did I say, ice is your friend?

    Go read all about that.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2005
    Location
    In my own little world
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    455

    Default

    I had mine repaired about 6 months ago. My surgeon warned me that I would hate him for the first few months post-op and he was right! I thought it was the worst decision I had ever made for about the first 3 months and now I think it's been the best, no more gnawing pain and I'm almost back to my normal activity level.
    Freedom is the ability not to care what the other person thinks...

    Got air?! Member of the Asthmatic Riders Clique



  4. #4

    Default

    Took me a full year to completely recover. Surgery was supposed to be arthroscopic but the damage was so severe, it ended up being open.

    It was a long road to recovery, but I don't regret it. Thought I did at first, but living without that pain and having full use of my arm made it worth it.
    http://www.tbhsa.com/index.html

    Originally Posted by JSwan
    I love feral children. They taste like chicken.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 26, 2011
    Posts
    46

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    Start with Zu Zu, AO, she is the queen of advice and went thru that and has helped others go thru it, as myself.

    You can read some of our stories on the forum for that.
    Thanks! Sorry a bit confused though, are you meaning search this OT forum or is it somewhere else?

    How long did it take you all to actually ride again? What I've been told by the ortho is 6 weeks in a sling with no using the arm at all (fingers OK but no arm), then another 5 months of PT and not going back to full use for 6 months total, including riding. It's darned hard to schedule 6 months of NO horse/farm stuff as horses are at home.

    Did anyone opt out of the surgery, even with a full tear? I hate doing the surgery but am worried about the repercussions down the road if I don't do it....



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2009
    Posts
    8,652

    Default Full tear ~ yes surgery to fix it completely ~ not fun but if I could !? You can !


    Hold on ~ don't get spooked .... RC surgery is not fun !

    Actually it's a ZITCH !!!

    But many on coth have completed the 'course' and will help you find your way ...

    Yes ! search on this forum, read threads and then ask away !!!

    Glad to answer any and all ?s and help you set up your recliner .... living tools for your recovery ...

    Jingles & AO !~

    Zu Zu Bailey " IT"S A WONDERFUL LIFE !"



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    41,147

    Default

    You can read several threads on this, you may have to go to page 2 or 3, all on this problem, in the Equestrian with Disability forum:

    http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/fo...h-Disabilities


    1 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 25, 2005
    Location
    upstate New York
    Posts
    3,366

    Default

    I haven't had it but I work in an ortho office and it is my unofficial observation that it os a painful recovery, but veery worth it when you come out the other side. With a full thickness tear I don't think you have any other option if you want to have an improved quality of life as a horse person. closed repair is ideal, and our upper extremity guy will do that in the vast majority of cases, but the occasional requires open procedure. Physical therapy will be crucial to your recovery and you must dedicate yourself to it. You will probably hate your therapist more than your surgeon. I wish you lived close because we have a bag-up team here.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 29, 2006
    Location
    Colorado- Yee Haw!
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    2,879

    Default

    I had it 14 years ago. Like others it was a rough first three months, a year to full strength and in retrospect I am so thankful I went through it.

    Have some short sleeve button downs to wear the first few weeks and be ready to not be able to do a pony tail for months.

    Mine had some other issues and it took them 8 hours to get it back together of open surgery - so technology now might make it way better.

    Ask for anti nausea drugs if you have a rough time with anesthesia. My worst memory is sitting in the bathroom puking the next day. You cannot puke without shrugging your shoulders.

    That said I have never had another problem with it in over a decade. It was definitely the right decision to get it done.

    Oh, bring your PT a video of what you do with horses. A good PT will want to understand the movements and strengthen for that. My PT was amused at the whitewater kayaking videos I brought her, but changed some of the exercises after learning more what I hoped to do once it was all better.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
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    41,147

    Default

    If you have nausea problems, ask for a patch behind the ear, that keeps that at bay.
    You need to ask the anesthesiologist, the surgeon won't really pay attention to that.

    As for the pain, I didn't have any, never used any of the pain medication they gave me.
    A friend just had the same surgery and also didn't need any pain medication.

    They do give you a two day shoulder block and after that, some have pain, some not, so don't count on necessarily having pain.

    I got 99% movement back, all but the last inch behind my back, I can reach all around just like I could before my shoulder started having problems.

    I say it sure is worth it if you have serious problems and your doctor tells you they can maybe help you, although they won't guarantee anything, because they don't know until they get in there what is really there.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 27, 2002
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    5,181

    Default

    I had a full tear (progressive injury, surgery was only option) in 1994 and it was a very painful recovery, but I am glad I did it, because I very rarely have issues. It took a long time for it to return to full function, but now I can do anything I want, other than throw a softball more than a few times. I'll take it!

    They initially attempted mine arthroscopically, but the damage was too great and they had to make a significant incision through my deltoid. I think the nature of this more invasive procedure lengthened my recovery time. But again, no regrets!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2005
    Location
    Wild Wild West
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    1,734

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    I had surgery two years ago, almost 15 months after my problem started and about 9 months after being told I needed surgery. Yes, I put off surgery so I could ride and do other things and enjoy my Summer, and waited until early Winter to have surgery. I did it with the approval of my surgeon knowing that I could make things worse (I probably did). I was told by two surgeons I needed surgery (I wasn't going to have surgery after being told by just one surgeon I needed it) and went with the second surgeon I saw, who came highly recommended by my primary care physician (I trust his recommendations very much and the surgeon had worked on my physician's knee and done an amazing job on it).

    I was prepared for hellacious pain and a hellacious recovery period after reading a lot about the surgery and talking to several friends who'd had it. After expecting the worse, it wasn't as bad as I expected, fortunately.

    Several things helped, I think. I had a nerve block right before surgery (just like they do to the horses to diagnose lameness) so I couldn't feel my arm or shoulder for at least 12 hours after surgery. My surgeon listened carefully to my medical history, which involved some pain problems and use of some (legally prescribed) pain drugs and made sure he prescribed the right combination of pain medications for me to take after surgery. Yes, I had multiple pain meds. And I took them! I used to be the person who always said, "No, I don't need the pain meds," but I had no desire to feel the pain that I'd heard about from this surgery.

    I had an excellent physical therapist, who told me to take some pain meds before coming to PT. She did a great job on my shoulder and I tried my hardest to comply and do the home PT. I've gone to PT a bunch of times for various things and I've had good PTs and not so good PTs. It makes a difference. I had gone to PT when the problem was diagnosed to try to make things better (it didn't) and had a lousy physical therapist - I couldn't stand her and she was just going through the motion. So make sure you have good PT. I was in PT the week after surgery (some surgeons don't have you start PT for many weeks) doing passive exercises (exercises where the PT moves your shoulder) and then progressed to assisted active exercise and then active.

    I had to wear a sling for only a day or two (basically until the block totally wore off and I could feel my arm enough to know I wasn't moving my shoulder) which amazed everyone - from the people at PT to friends who had had the same surgery and even my primary care doctor. I wasn't allowed to move my shoulder but it was easy enough to just leave my arm hanging and bend it at the elbow and use my hand.

    I asked my surgeon why I didn't need to wear the sling and why I could start PT so soon and he said it had to do with the method he used to repair the tendon. He said the tendon was more stable immediately after surgery with the method he used. So, if you are contemplating surgery it might be worth consulting more than one surgeon to see how soon you will be able to start PT, how long you will need the sling, etc. It might also depend on what work you're having done. I had my supraspinatus tendon repaired and some bone spur removed and had the joint space cleaned out.

    I flew through the first six weeks of PT and got back a lot of functionality in that time. Then I kind of hit a wall and had to work for a long time to get the next percentage of functionality back. I stayed in PT for 8 months (I stretched it out by going down to once a week in later months). I had very good insurance that covered that much PT and was determined to make as much progress as I could.

    There is about 5% that I didn't get back. There's one specific motion I can't do and it's something you almost never do so it's no loss. I do get tight in that shoulder and have a massage therapist work on it to try to loosen it up. I did also have the shoulder injected once after surgery to try to clear up some residual tightness. I had it injected twice before surgery to try to avoid surgery.

    I stayed away from the horses for as long as I could because I knew that once I was around them I wouldn't be able to keep myself from doing things I shouldn't do. It took several months before I could lift my arm enough to put a bridle (or even a halter) on and just as long (or even longer) before I could lift a saddle over a back and tighten a girth. I can't remember when I started riding again; probably at about three months (although the surgeon had told me that at six weeks I could do anything). I erred on the side of caution because I didn't want to ruin the lovely surgical repair and because my PT, who knew my situation better than my surgeon did, urged me to take it slowly.

    I'm happy I had the surgery. My shoulder had reached the point where it was always painful, I needed to sleep in a certain position with a pillow under my arm, and I couldn't do certain tasks (like carry a jump pole over my head!). It would have just gotten worse and worse. My father is 83 years old with bad rotator cuffs in both arms and is not a candidate for surgery. It hurts to drive, to pour coffee, to lift a soda bottle, to put on his shirt,etc. It's surgery that you've got to eventually have if your tendon is torn



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 16, 2012
    Posts
    53

    Default

    Do you know specifically which muscle(s) will be repaired? The rotator cuff is actually made of up of 4 different muscles, and recovery can often be dependent on which ones were injured and which surgical procedures are used. If you have any specific questions, I'm a physical therapist and can try to help you the best I can!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 27, 2001
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    2,802

    Default

    Got the results of my MRI yesterday - full tear with tendon retraction - from a fall in October, so headed into the surgery on Jan. 22nd. Not looking forward to this one at all. But I'm unable to do just about anything without pain right now, so there really wasn't an option to the surgery - just hoping he can do it arthroscopically.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    41,147

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tackpud View Post
    Got the results of my MRI yesterday - full tear with tendon retraction - from a fall in October, so headed into the surgery on Jan. 22nd. Not looking forward to this one at all. But I'm unable to do just about anything without pain right now, so there really wasn't an option to the surgery - just hoping he can do it arthroscopically.
    Do PM Zu Zu, she will help you prepare.

    They will do a shoulder block that will last two days and they won't want you to lay down for several days because your lung on that side may not be working quite fully from the block.

    Lay down a good source of ice, or ice packs you can keep putting on the shoulder, that will give you immense pain relief by themselves.

    A friend let the pt fellow work him too hard, the repair tore and he had to have surgery again, so be careful all along to let everything heal without stressing it too much.
    The hospital paid for the second surgery, but it should not have happened.

    I was given at the two day checkup post surgery a gym bag with all kinds of stuff like a stick and rubber bands of different strengths and sheets of exercises to do every hour, ten times a day, so didn't have to drive the 45 minutes to pt every so often.
    The same surgeon had put my elbow together 25 years before and knew I would do as told to the "t", so I didn't have to get someone to drive me to tp.

    It was a week before I was cleared to drive, for some it is a month, so put up plenty of supplies.

    Keep a journal of all you do, practically down to when you use the bathroom, no, kidding on that.
    Talking about hygiene, wear clothes you can pull down and back up easily with one hand.
    Learn to do everything, brush teeth, use an electric brush if you have to, comb hair, practice wiping with the hand that is working if it is not the one you use.
    Just put your thinking cap and prepare as much as you can.

    Forewarned is forearmed.
    Good luck!

    PM Zu Zu for more.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 10, 2002
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    1,086

    Default In the long run you'll be glad you did it

    Arthroscopically would be the way to go if possible. I've had both shoulders done...one 18 years ago, the other 15 years ago, both open cut with cuff repair and bone removal. Recommend the nerve block....Just BE SURE the correct nerve is blocked before they knock you out, otherwise you'll wake up in horrible pain. I was back riding in three months. Intense PT, but I regained pretty much full range of motion and use of both shoulders. I've not had any problems since the repairs.

    It helps to find an Ortho and PT who are equestrians. They just "get it" and can help tailor your exercises towards what is real life activity for you.
    "It's not a mistake if you knew what you were doing was wrong."



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
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    Default

    Oh, also, the closer to the day of the surgery, the more you will start to fret and wonder if you really need it, if you can't just go on like you are.

    Well, if you have problems, you will be glad you did the repair, because for most all goes well and they again have functional use of that arm without pain.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2009
    Posts
    8,652

    Default I'm here ask away ! some details in no particular order Dominant arm ??!

    I'm here ~ ask away .... much to get ready but you will be fine !

    Recliner ~ where you will 'sleep' for months ``` add a fitted sheet on top and practice with it ....side table on 'non-involved' side .. for remote. ICE packs ! watch or kitchen timer for meds reminder ` iphone and book and meds ...

    Glad Press'n Seal for keeping incison site dry while showering WHEN DR. say OK !(( wet wipes for bathroom ))

    Take out menus ... have friends bring mealls in containers to be quickly pitched ~
    Horses ... low maintenance mode... you will not be using that one arm ...wearing an immobilizer ? I did for weeks ... Love hate relationship with that thing ...'Hated it as first Loved it after awhile and for a LONG while ....

    Patch for behind ear for nauseated problems ... you will think all if easy peasy for the first day until should block wears off and then (( according to YOUR surgery )) things may get rough and tough !!!


    Keep ahead to the pain with meds ... don't be brave TAKE THE MEDS at least until you know for damn sure you don't need them !!!!Give up everything in your life for 48 hours .... have others deal/ cope you have a arm/ shoulder to deal with .T shirts cut up the side through sleeve to slip over your head and then a piece of tape to keep kinda of closed .

    Protocol usually say YOU can not be bumped.... no leading horses ..... in prep for this .... teach them to lead on the wrong side if your surgery limb is your right arm .

    I was given the ok to ride at 10 weeks BUT a had a 'noodle' for an arm ! I waited and finally stepped up on 110 day but it was not a fun ride.... meant alot but not fun!

    PT was good ... not painful for me but everyone is different .... YOur animals will adjust and 'watch out' for you probably more than friends and family

    Make sure you get meds before you get home .... and for a week or at least through that first weekend !!!!! to avoid meds refill and dr. is skiiing or office is closed...

    ICE ICE ICE when in doubt ICE ICE after PT whether you think you need it or not ! ICE !!!!

    this is a mess but i hope helpful

    running can't re-read sorry... will help any way i can

    mine was a full tear .. but I could do everything except ride my unicycle ...so Dr. did not think it was torn

    MRI

    nurse callls " Sign up for surgery .. IT"S a FULL TEAR DR. IS EXCITED !!!" had to be double stitched surgery was worth it as now I can ride my unicycle again !!!!

    set up pt exercise sites in barn and in house ......


    You WILL get your life back

    Nothing you can do to speed through

    You will ride again !

    Jingles laced with comfort ~ reassurance and a ton of patience !!! AO !


    Mine was from getting 'dumped' by my three year old ... not her fault she, ZU ZU caught me 'sleeping'
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT"S A WONDERFUL LIFE !"



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep. 27, 2001
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
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    Default

    I'm lucky that my surgeon is a friend and understands the horses. He's repaired my other shoulder from normal wear and tear, and he knows that I'm good about doing the PT stuff. I'm just frustrated that it was torn over a stupid act and something that I probably could have prevented if I'd been thinking before I acted. The biggest issues I have are my job and the commute. I'm 60 miles away from the barn where I teach - no getting around that drive everyday. My husband can't drive me since he works the opposite direction. He's an angel about taking care of the horses at home, so I have no worries about that. Since I'm a teacher, my boss and I have already decided I can just use an assistant in all my lessons since my voice will still work just fine. At least I don't have to worry about horse care and riding.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2003
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    6,260

    Default

    I didn't think that RC surgery was so bad. The first one, my doctor had to talk me into. The second one, on the other shoulder, I had to talk him into. All told, it was about 4 months to full recovery for the first one, and less for the second one. And I had A LOT of surgery. Not just a RC repair, but also a general clean up of arthritis (bone spurs) in the shoulders and as well as an open (not arthroscopic) surgery to relocate the front attachment of the biceps tendon further down my arm.

    It was worth it to be able to sleep on both sides, and to not have that constant grawing pain!
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



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