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Rotator Cuff Tear...help!!!

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  • Rotator Cuff Tear...help!!!

    So it is believed I have a rotator cuff tear. I think it is pretty severe too. I know it takes about 6 months to fully recover and I believe I've been reading on average around 3 months to get any sort of range of motion back but of course I'm wondering, WHEN CAN I RIDE AGAIN?!!!? Anybody that's had this surgery how long we're you out of the saddle for??! Any advice/words of wisdom/ways to keep my sanity are greatly appreciated

  • #2
    Originally posted by GetAtMe222 View Post
    So it is believed I have a rotator cuff tear. I think it is pretty severe too. I know it takes about 6 months to fully recover and I believe I've been reading on average around 3 months to get any sort of range of motion back but of course I'm wondering, WHEN CAN I RIDE AGAIN?!!!? Anybody that's had this surgery how long we're you out of the saddle for??! Any advice/words of wisdom/ways to keep my sanity are greatly appreciated
    I've said this over and over--don't leap into surgery unless nothing else helps. I saw an abstract of a Danish study that tracked 24 people on their national health system with similar rotator cuff injuries over a six month period. 12 had six months of intensive PT and that was all. 12 had surgery and six months of intensive PT. At the end of the six months, the difference in outcome was negligible.

    You're going to need six months of PT whether you have surgery or not.

    I had surgery and improper PT for six months. Suffice it to say that the outcome was less than stellar.

    If you can possibly avoid surgery, IMO you should. It's without a doubt the worst thing I've ever gone through, and I've had broken backs and ACL replacement surgery.

    Six months would be about right to stay off horses. There are too many accidents waiting to happen with something as unpredictable as a flight animal.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire


    • #3
      While I've not had that injury, I'm going to side with the PT before surgery team here.

      Back in January I got bounced off the tack over a fence and landed on my RH shoulder, ending up with a 2nd degree acromioclavicular separation. When I saw my ortho specialist we discussed surgery and his advice was basically this: I can operate on you and reattach the clavicle to the rest of the shoulder and you will suffer a long and painful recovery, or you can spend the next three months on a sling, let nature take its course, and then start PT. You will suffer less pain, it will be cheaper, but you will have a bump where the end of the clavicle sticks up".

      I opted for door number two and never regretted it.


      • #4
        It depends if you really have a tear and what else may be there.
        Some times, they can't see what happened without going in there to fix it.

        I would first see a shoulder specialist, then get a second opinion.

        You can't possible tell what is going on there.

        I had a tear and other problems in there from a previous injury, when a horse and myself hit a tree galloping thru the forest, many years previously.

        The surgery was quick, so was the recovery, the shoulder is practically 99% now.
        With my problem, without surgery, I would have been in surgery as emergency surgery once the main bicep tendon completely tore off, a more complicated surgery.

        Go find out what is going on there, then decide where to go from that.


        • #5
          I've torn mine twice and have had no surgery. You do need to get yourself to an orthopedic and get to PT.
          A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.


          • #6
            My best friend has had both reconstructed. I helped her through her last, last winter. It really depends on the extent of damage and what needs to be done. Shoulders are really the worst -- with the most pain and longest recovery.

            Hers was a full reconstruction, including allograft. She could not ride for about five months -- because if she damaged that repair AT ALL (a trip, a pull, a fall, anything) she would be done riding EVER. She is back now, a little over a year later, but still suffers some pain because of the advanced state of the injury before repair. But she is competing (she's a 50 mile endurance racer).
            Life doesn't have perfect footing.

            Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
            We Are Flying Solo


            • #7
              Originally posted by Bluey View Post
              I would first see a shoulder specialist, then get a second opinion.

              You can't possible tell what is going on there.
              Absolutely. I re-read the OP again and I am not clear if there was a professional diagnosis.

              I made my decision to not have surgery for the separated AC joint AFTER an ER visit and an ortho consult. Not by myself.


              • #8
                double tap....


                • #9
                  There are four different muscles that make up the rotator cuff. I completely ruptured three of mine and tore the fourth. So there are MANY different ways to injure the rotator cuff and its muscles.

                  You and your orthopod really need an MRI to see what is what.
                  "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                  Thread killer Extraordinaire


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks for the insight.

                    As an FYI I am already working with an orthopedic and I already have an appointment set up with another doctor as a second opinion . I've had the MRI and X-rays and the whole nine yards done. I h e so already tried physical therapy which did not work for me and I have had this pain for an ongoing 2 years now.

                    While it has not been %100 confirmed that surgery is nescesary it's at about %90. I'm just trying to figure out how long I may be out of the saddle for.


                    • #11
                      but in your post you mentioned that it is "believed" that you have a tear.

                      With MR you should know for sure. Did you see the MR? what did it have to say?

                      avoid surgery at all costs.
                      I've seen the surgery they do. I worked with some Docs and cadaver shoulders.
                      It looks unpleasant.
                      And what is really interesting!! Is that it takes them all of 10 minutes.
                      Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                      • #12
                        Sent you a PM
                        A helmet saved my life.

                        2017 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!


                        • #13
                          I can tell you firsthand (and am in the PT to prove it) that there are plenty of things you can't see on an MRI, which I would not have imagined. I went in for a lateral reconstruction on my knee, came out with a totally diff't procedure because the scope finally revealed the whole truth. So the one thing I can tell you for sure is that they don't know for sure until they actually see the inside of thing. Bleh. My sympathies though, it suuuuucks.
                          Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                          Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                          We Are Flying Solo


                          • #14
                            How long before you can ride? Start by asking the doctor. Having said that, my doctor threw up his hands at the question and exclaimed: "Riders are the worst!"

                            My doctor did not want me to even touch a horse, much less ride, for four months. I took that to mean I would not touch my mare with my bad arm. I was rehabbing my horse and she needed handwalking. My solution was to wear a glove on my good hand to remind myself to use that one. I also put my bad arm in a sling when outside the house, both to remind myself to not use that arm and to keep others from touching or grabbing the arm (especially since it was the right arm). I discovered I could longe a horse one handed, both whip and line in one hand -- something I already knew since I once had a lovely trainer who only had one hand.

                            I suspect this might have been following the letter of the law set down by the doctor, but if he had found out he would have killed me. Being at the barn and doing stuff kept me sane, but it was a risk.

                            I started to ride at 3 1/2 months, figuring I would be taking it very easy since my horse and I would both be moving along slowly at that point. The very first time I trotted, after those 3 1/2 months off, my mare went down, because she tripped and didn't have the muscle tone to stay upright and I didn't have enough yet to help her. All the way down I kept thinking "left shoulder!" so I could roll onto the good shoulder. Lucky that is what happened. I also seemed to have time to think that my doctor was going to kill me if I hurt myself again. He had been very firm in stating that if I hurt the shoulder during the rehab period, that it couldn't be put back together again.

                            After the surgery, PT for me was 3X week for 4 months plus exercises at home. These are hugely important, and they will HURT. I kept myself laughing through it all by trying to kick my therapist when he got my shoulder back to the point of agony. He got good at dancing out of range. And he was a way cute therapist, which helped.

                            My recommendation is to find someone to ride your horse for you. At least, be very aware of the potential risks you are taking.