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Horses after shoulder surgery ?'s

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  • Horses after shoulder surgery ?'s

    So the pain killers are no longer working and I have to get the tear and separation in my right shoulder fixed. I haven't slept in days - just can't due to the pain. I have to suck it up and git it done. So I have questions:

    How long did it take to get in and get it done?

    How long were you really down where people had to wait on you hand and foot?

    How long was your rehab?

    When could you clean stalls again?

    When could you saddle a tall horse on your own again, mount up & ride? Lunge(I have not been able to lunge comfortably for 6 years).

    I am not a good patient because I am impatient. And my farm is a one woman show by and large.

    I am scared to death - HELP!
    "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

  • #2
    I have to make this quick as I am heading out the door. I had the Bankart surgery last fall, four screws put into my shoulder. First week was brutal, second week, less brutal, and withing I think 12-14 days, I was riding my newly acquired OTTB. Now, I didn't tell the dr this, of course.

    Within 2 months I was better than ever, as good as new. Been riding all along. Did stalls and hay after two weeks. Never went for physio, and no joke....it healed really really fast.

    Don't do what I did. Follow Dr orders. I could have really done some damage but I was lucky.
    "Anti-intellect and marketing, pretty, pretty, who needs talent
    Crying eyes, we're so outnumbered, fight for the right to remain silent" Buck 65


    • #3

      You are amazing!

      I had mine the end of January (torn labrum, bone spur, clavicle reduction) and I am now riding. I agree the first week was realllllllllly painful. But I made myself move as much as I could stand; did physical therapy for a few weeks; and now I still have some pain to deal with. My surgeon says to give myself about 4-5 months to be pain free.

      Good luck and remember that ice is your friend!
      Just because I talk slow doesn't mean that I actually AM slow.


      • #4
        See my answers below...and good luck...it will be worth it!!!

        Originally posted by Woodland View Post
        So the pain killers are no longer working and I have to get the tear and separation in my right shoulder fixed. I haven't slept in days - just can't due to the pain. I have to suck it up and git it done. So I have questions:

        How long did it take to get in and get it done? From when we decided to do it until surgery was scheduled? About 3 weeks...your mileage may vary.

        How long were you really down where people had to wait on you hand and foot? About 12 hours. I live alone and had a friend drive me to/from the outpatient surgery (laproscopic for me). I had a different friend spend the night that first night, but he left for work the next morning and didn't come back. 3rd friend came that night to make me dinner, but I would have been able to do it...it was great to have help, though. I live alone and knew I couldn't lean too much on people. I set up hay feedings for a week all over my barn at waist height (on hay bales, in the bed of the truck, etc.) so that I would be able to slip my good arm under and carry it to her stall. She is and in/out free choice pony, so she doesn't use her stall to potty and it was winter, so I didn't worry about mucking. I also had done a bunch of cooking and had meals set aside for myself. I did a lot of napping that first week, but wasn't waited on.

        How long was your rehab? I started "baby pt" the second day after surgery...gently swinging my arm to work on range of motion. Started real PT at the 10 day mark and did that for a couple months. DO THE PT! It's not exactly fun, but I have full range of motion and no pain now. I know people who didn't do the PT and didn't have a great outcome.

        When could you clean stalls again? Using both hands...a couple months.

        When could you saddle a tall horse on your own again, mount up & ride? Lunge(I have not been able to lunge comfortably for 6 years). I started grooming, using the injured shoulder, a couple weeks in, I think. By "grooming", I mean taking a couple sweeps over her body. It got better over a few weeks time. I was riding 3 months after surgery. It helped that it was done in winter and just turning to spring, so I wasn't jumping the gun on riding. Probably could have gotten away with riding about the 2 month mark, if I had been certain that I wouldn't have to really use the shoulder. Your muscles are cut and have to have time to heal and then build strength.

        I am not a good patient because I am impatient. And my farm is a one woman show by and large.
        How large a farm? How many horses? Can they be (or are they) turned out so you don't have to muck? Can you hire a teen to help with chores until you can do them again?

        I am scared to death - HELP!
        Seriously, do it. I wish I had done it sooner. Your quality of life will be so much better!


        • #5
          The first week is awful. Not going to lie on that one. After that each week gets better. I was in a sling for a month and was not allowed to use it at all for 4 weeks.

          I think I was on my horse at 6 weeks. I couldn't pull a girth for awhile, 10-12 weeks for that. I had the ligaments shortened in my arm to keep it from dislocating all the time.
          University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2012
          Member of the Asthmatic Riders & "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" cliques


          • #6
            Here are some general thoughs for you. I broke my shoulder in 2001, so I know my situation is different, and since I was only taking lessons at the time I don't know at what point I would have done a lot of that.

            I think some of your timeline will really depend on what specifically they will be doing in the surgery- if they have to do any muscle shortening/repairing, that will most likely be more painful and also has a longer recovery compared to a scoping/cleaning out/minor ligament repair.

            DH has had two shoulder surgeries, one involving muscle cutting and repair and he said that was pretty rough- def. worse than his ACL reconstruction. Because it takes 6 weeks for the muscle to heal, he was pretty much stuck in a sling for 6 weeks for that. When he was scoped to repair his labrum, it was a much shorter recovery time.

            I broke my shoulder (can you tell we have lots of shoulder injury experience ), and I will say that being very faithful with your PT is HUGE. It can make a big difference in how things feel long term (as DH found out when he wasn't as consistent with it the first shoulder surgery).

            Good luck!


            • #7
              I just had surgery on my shoulder in February (not as intensive as your but major bone reduction) and ditto what everyone else says. Do the PT (especially the exercises they send home!!) even though it hurts and you'll be back sooner than you think.

              I had outpatient arthroscopic surgery - in and out of the hospital in 5 1/2 hours - I'm a horrible patient. Can't stand being in the hospital and can't stand having other people wait on me. My boyfriend insisted I stay drugged up for 12 hours and then I was on my own the next day when he had to work. I was up and doing minor movement with it in about 24 hours. I stopped with the pain killers within 24 hours as well. Don't like being on drugs either...

              Did 1st PT 3 days after surgery and only ended up going 3 times since it healed faster than my Dr. thought it would. I could lift my arm straight over my head about 5 days after surgery - hadn't been able to do that in years. He now says that riders are his favorite patients - I've even beaten out the farmers! I'm about 2 months out and have almost full range of motion and no pain - 1st time in 10+ years!

              Good luck!


              • #8
                Oh boy, my favorite topic. Not. Have had both shoulders done-- open surgery on the right with full thickness rotator cuff repair, clavicle resect, removal of bone spurs; arthroscopy on the left for bone spurs, clavicle resect, and two small tears which just got cleaned up a bit and didn't need to be screwed back down again like the other one.

                The open surgery was hellishly painful for a week or so and took over a year before it felt truly 100%. The good news is, it was almost six years ago and my shoulder is great-- I never even think about it. I, too, am a one woman show around the barn-- 10 horses-- and wondered what the hell I was going to do. You do get creative-- I found out I could actually clean stalls while wearing the shoulder immobilizer. Also, that it pays to have at least one horse in the barn that neckreins! I found that even though I could tack up and get on, it was a while before my shoulder really was strong enough and flexible enough to offer quality rein contact to my horse-- so I just rode one-handed for a while. Honestly, it is good practice!

                The arthroscopy was way easier in the immediate post-surger stage-- way less painful and more movement right away, less time in the sling. Full recovery, though, still a lot of work. I am 55 and in excellent shape--actually doing all the shoulder therapy has been good for my riding and overall well-being since I am even more attuned to the importance of posture and core strength. Additional strength training (after PTis over with) has been extremely helpful iin aiding complete recovery.

                Good luck, and have faith. Horse people are nuts, creative, tough, and nearly bulletproof!


                • #9
                  I have had 4 surgeries on my shoulder. 1/2 of my collar bone is gone, I have 6 screws and a bunch of plastic in there as well.

                  I am with the others FOLLOW THE ORDERS. Seriously if not, the chances are it wont heal right.

                  I am still recovering from my last one but, I can saddle a horse, trim horses, carry water buckets ride and so fourth.

                  Not everyday is pain free for me, but it is manageable and my shoulder does not pop out of joint all day.


                  • #10
                    I wrecked my shoulder shortly before getting pregnant and though I needed surgery (rotator cuff tear) I couldn't have it. I ended up having to take a break from everything for a few months (not related to the shoulder) and whadyano - the darn thing healed itself! Blew my medical mind, but I'm certainly not complaining!

                    Give the drugs and rest a good shot before you opt for surgery, IMO.

                    Good luck!


                    • #11
                      sorry to come to this late--I think that 40 years of horses has put my right shoulder over the edge. It was many years of hauling buckets, and the one year of stall rest(leading an obstreperous horse is murder) did me in. My job is not helping me.

                      So, what were your symptoms? I have a hard time getting my arm up straight over my head--and can't rotate my arm to read my watch to save my life.

                      I am right handed, and while I don't ride anymore, I work, and use that arm for most everything (shoveling poop and grooming included), not to mention eating and other things. I can't imagine NOT having my arm for 3 weeks or more.

                      Tell me, how did you get it diagnosed? I had an xray and was told I have a calcium deposit on the subscap muscle at the attachment. The MRI is $1200, most of which I would pay as deductible.

                      Can you all give me an idea of how much surgery runs, just out of curiousity? I'm 47--and I have this niggling feeling I really should do this sooner rather than later. Especially because I have a teenager still at home who could help me a bit.

                      Ellipses users clique ...


                      • #12
                        I had x-rays, dye injections, MRI's and cat scan. Mine were paid for cause I was hit head on to her neglect of wearing her glases *duh*

                        Mine was, could not turn my arm, no over the head stuff, popping out of joint, aching, blue fingers and constant pain sometimes bringing me to my knees.

                        Most hospitals do sliding scale fees or charity care, something to look into.


                        • #13
                          oh yeah, and I can't sleep. It hurts like a mother at night. I finally just went with Ambien, it's less hard on the stomach than anti inflammatories.

                          I do have insurance---just curious.
                          Ellipses users clique ...


                          • Original Poster

                            My Symptoms? Sleep is impossible without lots of drugs. While I have good range of motion, but I have a lot of pain doing it. No strength. It "catches" constantly. Have to use the BIG mounting block because I can not help myself up. I feel little "ripping" impulses in it all the time.It feels like anything from a dull knife to a searing hot sword through it at all times. I have 90/10 BC/BS with a $250 deductible - which I have not even begun to use. I find out Thursday......
                            "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"


                            • #15
                              How long did it take to get in and get it done?

                              It took me about three years to get a doctor to actually do x-rays, because I had great flexibility and range of motion. When I finally went to a good doctor it was about 2.5 weeks from first appointment to surgery day (those weeks were filled with a referral to a better doctor in the same practice, MRI's, nerve tests, numerous x-rays, and lots of poking and proding by my MD and some med students). Once I saw the better shoulder doctor it was exactly 1 week from that appointment until surgery.

                              How long were you really down where people had to wait on you hand and foot?

                              A week of actual hand and foot waiting on - I couldn't do ANYTHING myself, about six weeks where I needed help with dressing, brushing teeth, etc. 3.5 months of needing someone to drive me everywhere, and then it was another two months before I was comfortable driving on the interstate.

                              How long was your rehab?

                              In a sling for over 3 months, 10 or 11 months of PT, and it's now almost 2 years since surgery and I still have pain in shoulder and neck. My MD wants me to start PT again.

                              When could you clean stalls again?

                              Probably a year. I can now clean a stall or two, but I don't think I could do more than three stalls without lots and lots of pain - this is 2 years post op.

                              When could you saddle a tall horse on your own again, mount up & ride? Lunge(I have not been able to lunge comfortably for 6 years).

                              I wouldn't risk lunging even now (unless it was a horse that can basically lunge itself). I was riding after 1 year, but it was painful, painful, painful. Saddling a tall horse after 1 year, but took some major creativity. I really don't have much strength in my left arm.

                              For whoever asked about cost of surgery, I added up mine (which was covered 100% by insurance) and the actual cost of surgery was just under $90,000. I needed one on one work with a physical therapist for the first 6 or 7 months and my PT was not covered by insurance - it was $99 a visit x 2 a week. Needless to say it was costly. I had problems with one of my MRI's being covered, and paid just under $1,000 out-of-pocket, it took 1.5 years to reimbursed for that. I spent $300-400 on taxi cabs and/or paying a friend to drive me places, and also had my boyfriend (for free) driving me to and from work everyday. I couldn't type for about 3-4 months, and still have lots of pain after a long day of typing. The surgery itself took close to 6 hours.

                              The weird things I never would have thought of that really bothered me were: wearing a bra (I had to tuck the straps in on the left side, bc even the slightest bit of pressure really hurt for quite a few months, washing my hair (couldn't blow dry or style it for about 6 months), buttoning pants, and moving clothing from laundry to dryer (plus folding it).

                              In case you were wondering my surgery was to repair multiple direction instability causing recurring dislocation, and a handful of tears. My x-rays from pre-surgery are quite funny... the shoulder is literally 2 inches below the socket.
                              "While girls schools are notoriously wild, the true party-hearty girl attends Hollins" ~The Preppy Handbook