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Talk to me About Rotator Cuff Injuries and Horses

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  • Talk to me About Rotator Cuff Injuries and Horses

    Yes, I have "searched" this topic extensively BUT I would like some coth feedback on minor rotator cuff injuries like sprains and brusing from landing on my arm ~ I may have some issues going on as a result of my Labor Day = Unscheduled and Spectacular ZZ Dismount ~
    Yes, have been to Dr & headed to specialist to be on the safe side...

    and yes still doing everything I did before except now left handed lay-ups to fill hay racks & my pony tail makes me look like Pebbles ~

    Thanks in Advance any thoughts~ ideas ~ comments welcomed ~ AO ~ Always Optimistic ~
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

  • #2
    oh no massive jingles for you ! That did sound like a rough dismount that you took.

    Hope its nothing serious!

    A Wandering Albertan - NEW Africa travel blog!


    • #3
      I've torn my RT twice. Wish I could say it was from doing something interesting and exciting like a riding accident, but no.

      The first time, I didn't go to the doctor because I just thought it was "sore" from work I'd been doing around the barn (dragging 20 heavy rubber mats outside, powerwashing them, and dragging them back in). My shoulder bothered me a bit for the next several days, but like I said, I thought it was just regular muscle soreness and never went to see a doctor about it.

      It kind of "healed" on its own, until nine months later when I moved the wrong way and re-tore it. THAT was not pleasant, and it kept me up two nights in a row before I finally gave in and drove myself to the ER, thinking I might have dislocated it.

      (side note: trying to drive a stick shift when your right RT is torn is not a lot of fun, either).

      The doctor said that, if I tear it again, I will need surgery. However, I just did a round of physical therapy and that was all I needed.

      Hope you heal up soon!
      Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.


      • #4
        ZuZu- get yourself to an orthopedic practice. They will determine if you've torn the cuff or it is just "strained", but either way, you'll end up in physical therapy. Do this soon, as a frozen shoulder sucks to rehab and the longer you don't use your shoulder normally, the risks of that rise.

        PT for shoulder injuries is painful and fairly slow to progress. Shoulders are hard to rehab, and it is quite tedious (ask me how I know!) But...you should be able to return to regular riding and physical activities after they've either done the surgery or rehab or both.

        Good luck, and keep us updated on your progress. I'm on month 8 post broken humerus/shoulder. Haven't ridden at all in that time. UGH.
        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


        • Original Poster

          Thank You !!! Thank you ~

          Thank you Polydor ~ JollyBadger & Calvincrowe ~ very much appreciate your input ~ headed to Orthopedic surgeon tomorrow early am and hoping it is only bruised and rehab PT will "right" me ~ AO ~ Always Optimistic ~
          Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


          • #6
            Originally posted by JollyBadger View Post
            I've torn my RT twice. Wish I could say it was from doing something interesting and exciting like a riding accident, but no.

            The first time, I didn't go to the doctor because I just thought it was "sore" from work I'd been doing around the barn (dragging 20 heavy rubber mats outside, powerwashing them, and dragging them back in). My shoulder bothered me a bit for the next several days, but like I said, I thought it was just regular muscle soreness and never went to see a doctor about it.

            It kind of "healed" on its own, until nine months later when I moved the wrong way and re-tore it. THAT was not pleasant, and it kept me up two nights in a row before I finally gave in and drove myself to the ER, thinking I might have dislocated it.

            (side note: trying to drive a stick shift when your right RT is torn is not a lot of fun, either).

            The doctor said that, if I tear it again, I will need surgery. However, I just did a round of physical therapy and that was all I needed.

            Hope you heal up soon!
            This has been my experience too...right down to the stick! lol!

            The one thing that has helped in a BIG way was kinesio tape. It has been a god send!!!!!!
            I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

            Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.


            • #7
              I ruptured all the rotator cuff muscles in a bucked off incident. Had surgery, bad PT, no patient education, and am still crippled several years later.

              Good patient education is critical in recovery. You should be sat down and taught what you can and should not do. Barn chores are what made my surgery a failure, I do believe.
              "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
              Thread killer Extraordinaire


              • #8
                I got launched and landed in soft sand, I thought I was ok because my shoulder only hurt a bit. I could not move my arm at all the next two days. The pain got somewhat better and I had some mobility but after two weeks the constant throbbing pain that ran from my shoulder to my elbow drove me to the doctor. He said I had messed up my rotator cuff and the nerve running down into my elbow. He told me if I wasn't better in two months I'd have to have surgery. He gave me a sheet of exercises to do and that was it.

                It took seven months to heal. At the two month mark the constant throbbing pain was gone. I still had pain and extremely reduced range of motion so I opted to give it more time. I used a heating pad on it every time I sat down. I could not sleep on my right side for months. I couldn't dismount by just swinging off, the jarring hurt too much so I dismounted onto a mounting block. It has healed very slowly and being able to do little things like scratch my back with my right hand or reaching up with both hands to wash my hair were a huge milestones toward regaining full range of motion.

                I feel for your pain, there are several threads on this in the Disabled Riders forum. Based on what I read there I wanted to do anything to try and avoid surgery. If my improvement hadn't been steady, if slow; I'd have gone back to the doctor.


                • #9
                  I was bucked off and was finally diagnosed with two full thickness tears of my RC. The buck-off happened on Oct. and I had surgery in December. The orthopedist told me that the longer surgery is delayed with a tear, the harder it is to get full mobility back because the tendons contract. The surgery is miserable, as is the PT required afterward, but I have full use of my shoulder, and for that I'm very grateful. FWIW, diagnosing those tears took time, and wasn't conclusive without an MRI. Until then, I was miserable with the pain in my shoulder and lack of ability to raise my arm higher than my shoulder.
                  Mystic Owl Sporthorses


                  • #10
                    This is an interesting comparison to Clint as my injury also happened in Oct. Dec was when I was to go back if it wasn't better to start the process of having surgery. My doctor did nothing more than an exam in his office and didn't even mention MRI or anything else. I count myself lucky that it worked out or it wasn't as severe an injury.

                    At the Dec mark I could hold my arm out at shoulder level but couldn't reach back or up or put weight on it. By April I was able to reach almost to the middle of my back. Now I don't notice any problems with range of motion and can do backward tricip lifts with an 8 lb weight.


                    • #11
                      After a brat of a rescue horse whipped around BEHIND me as I was leading it, I had the surgery to repair the torn right RC. The surgery was laparascopic, not that bad, the PT was boring but I did it and got 100% back. Now I think last winter's carrying of water buckets to an extra paddock has done some damage again. (Got a new hydrant put in for this winter!) You know you need to go for help when the pain keeps you awake at night. Unfortunately, I have read that rotator cuffs just wear or get thinner with age and use, and I probably caused some extreme wear by painting my entire house by myself.


                      • Original Poster

                        Thank you all ~ appreciate your stories !!

                        Thank you all ~ I have not had much discomfort not taking even tylenol ~just some lack of range of motion but that has gotten better within the week like now I can pick my nose ~ my main complaint is : I can not ride my unicyle as I need both arms fully functioning to balance ~ My horses have helped with halters by lowering their heads ~ ponies are just at right height ! Hopefully it is minor as I am not a good patient ~ extrememly short attention span like that of a gnat or fruit fly ~ Tomorrow I hope to have some answers ~ Thank you again & AO ~ Always Optimistic !
                        Last edited by Zu Zu; Sep. 14, 2010, 01:51 PM. Reason: punctuation
                        Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                        • #13
                          I have a torn rotator cuff and some spurs in that area that need to come off, that are waiting for surgery.

                          I just spent Sunday night at the ER with a gallbladder attack, had more test run today, so now the shoulder surgery may be postoned again, if they decide that silly gallbladder needs to come out first. UGGHH, what a year, jumping from the frying pan into the fire with health misshaps, it seems!

                          I agree, you can't very well halter a horse from the left if you have a bum right shoulder, so do what I do, turn around, halter from the front, run the crown piece over the ears and then fasten it on the left.
                          Or get a rope halter, turn it inside out and halter from the right side.
                          My horses all know to lower their heads to halter them, but if you are as short as I am, I still have to reach way up there to halter.

                          Be sure to get an orthopedic surgeon, don't mess around, because those type injuries, if they don't heal well, will haunt you later.
                          Hopefully yours will repair itself.


                          • #14
                            I'm dealing with some rotator cuff issues right now. I broke my right humerus in 2005. I ended up with a frozen shoulder and it wasn't until I had an MRI that they realized I had a small rotator cuff tear. I did a ton of PT and regained most of my motion. I still can't sleep normally on my right side.

                            Turns out that I've compensated enough over the last 5 years that I know have 'rotator cuff syndrome' in both shoulders. I'm back in PT to deal with it. My left shoulder is bugging me enough right now that I can hardly sit here.
                            Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                            Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


                            • #15
                              I injured my RTC in late July. Wish I could tell you how bad it is. I'm pregnant and could not get an MRI or an Xray. I went to a ortho specialist (best in area) and he said he is confident it is btwn a mild and complete tear.

                              Problem (one of many) is- he doesn't know just how bad the injury is. If it is really bad- I need to restrict movement. If it is mild- I need to encourage movement. I am in a steady low level pain every minute of every day. Mornings and nights are the worst. I can't sleep through the night. I wake up in dire pain from my arm being at/on a certain angle. I do have more mobility and range of motion than I did 6wks ago- but it's also hurting more consistently than before.

                              I've kept up my barn work and dealing with my 2yo dd. The only thing I can take is Tylenol- which is worthless with this kind of pain.

                              The specialist said to come back in Dec after I have the baby and we'll see what it looks like from there. A coworker recently fell and fractured her shoulder and I would bet money I have a fracture AND a tear!!


                              • #16
                                What we call our "rotator cuff" is really not a cuff per say but where the muscles of our shoulder, a rather shallow joint, connect and keep our humerous in place.


                                Speaking from experience, I have had rotator cuff tears in both shoulders. They were not due to horses orginally, one was from a two man (or woman in this case) auger while we were making fence post holes, yup it "bucked" and threw me. My first tear was about 12 years ago. I nursed it back myself (background in sports medicine). Same with the other one, again a tramautic injury.

                                BUT now at age 47, and from working with horses for years and years, training, riding, babies, youngsters, and yes being thrown, wear and tear, I have terrible arthritis in both shoulders. In June of this year I had a bad fall from my big show gelding. I landed on my left shoulder, hip and upper back. I Fractured a rib, seperated my shoulder etc. This was the "good" shoulder. Not anymore.

                                Take the time to let the shoulder heal AND be reconditioned.

                                While I had the original injuries, it was the overuse that got to my joint. Now I have to take a narcotic when doing work with horses or barn work and find the time to get the arthorscopic surgery to relieve some of the daily pain. At my young age I cannot raise my arms straight out to my sides and then over my head without any pain and have reduced ROM.

                                Get a shoulder orthopedic to look at you. If you are near a teaching hospital they will have orthopedic specialists who only focus on ONE joint. It's worth the effort.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by JollyBadger View Post
                                  (side note: trying to drive a stick shift when your right RT is torn is not a lot of fun, either).
                                  I've torn both my rotator cuffs in falls, but I was lucky and both healed well. And both times I had a stick shift!

                                  I did not need surgery for either, but I did do PT and was very very cautious about using the shoulder until it healed. It definitely went against the grain for me, but my doc pointed out that if I tore them again I would probably need surgery. So - I didn't ride, didn't do much. Except sulk.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Does not think it is torn BUT MRI scheduled for next week

                                    Dr. does not think it is torn ~ but has scheduled MRI to be sure ~ can now touch my head so ROM inproves daily ~ AO ~ Always Optimistic ~ He did not put me on any restrictions ? but I am continuing "CAREFUL" ~ should know for sure in a week ~ this is a slow process to find out the extent of my injury ~ NO Pain ~ just sore ~
                                    Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                                    • #19
                                      A topic close to my heart... or should I say shoulder. I've torn my rotator cuff twice - the first time changing a tire and when it was just about healed I went down a flight of stairs and went through the drywall with that shoulder and tore it again. A couple months ago when I actually dislocated it - and so badly they couldn't get it back in and had to put me under - was it horse related.

                                      I'm going to physio and have some movement back and I can now pick up things like feed, even though I'm not supposed to be. Filling the hay racks... I think I manage to get more in my bra and shirt than in the rack and I can honestly say, I don't know how they eat it - hay does NOT taste good. But slowly it's coming along.

                                      They actually want me to get surgery but I've had 5 surgeries in 2 years - 2 major - and I'm enjoying the fact that I just passed the one year mark with NO surgeries. So I'm going to try and heal it without.

                                      I too have to go for an MRI but our wonderful Canadian healthcare system has me scheduled in December. The appointment was requested by my family doc as an 'emergency request' in July.

                                      I was very proud last Thursday (yes I even know the date! ) I managed for the first time to get a 'real' bra on versus the loose old one or the front closing ones.

                                      It is slow. I've done it before and slowly am doing it again. I've been bad with my exercises the last week or so and I can tell. Movement is being affected... my bad. I'm really ticked that I also sprained my hand and I guess fingers are still swollen, none of my rings fit....... still. *sigh*

                                      Good luck and hopefully it's not too bad. Glad you're ok otherwise.

                                      ETA: I've always told the horses that if they hurt me, their care will go seriously downhill. And I've just proved it. Thank goodness it was summer and they could be out a lot with the worst part being sunbleached coats. The mares and donkeys are easy, the youngsters have had to learn a few things.... like lowering their heads for halter and fly mask on / off and that at times mom does NOT have a sense of humor.
                                      Sometimes I just think funny things - Dudley Moore in Arthur
                                      Come join us at - TheMuckBucket


                                      • #20
                                        ---"...the youngsters have had to learn a few things.... like lowering their heads for halter and fly mask on / off and that at times mom does NOT have a sense of humor. "---

                                        I hear you there.
                                        Some times, it just seems like one more thing making life a little bit harder than it needs to be, honestly.

                                        On the other hand, I think that horse folks heal so much better and faster than other people because they just have to keep on trucking, there is no letting up, chores need to be done and all that getting around keeps the injured part also in better shape than just waiting for it to heal sitting on a sofa watching TV.