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COTH Trashed Shoulder + Elbow Brigade!

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  • COTH Trashed Shoulder + Elbow Brigade!

    I have been threatening to start this thread for months, and now here it is. Share/whine/encourage, you name it.

    My most recent story began last fall when my right shoulder started bothering me after I rode. I had previously dislocated that shoulder, so I was sure it was related to that injury.

    It took MONTHS to get an MRI, diagnosis, and then to schedule surgery. I was diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear, a SLAP tear, and a subacromial decompression.

    In February, I had arthroscopic surgery and the tears were too minor to bother with, so I ended up with just the SAD surgery, which is relatively minor. Ten days in the sling, and then PT.

    So far, so good! I am easing my way back into the saddle. Technically, I was supposed to wait until June 15, but I feel too good to wait. I am really taking it easy and letting others do the serious riding.

    So, what's your story?

    And should the thread be expanded to include elbows? What do you think?
    Last edited by Bristol Bay; May. 30, 2013, 10:25 PM.
    A helmet saved my life.

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

  • #2
    I qualify for both shoulder and elbow gripes. My really painful elbow is due to an entrapped nerve, caused by rheumatoid arthritis, but it's the shoulder that is really annoying me. Why? Because I came off a bolting horse in 1991 and tore my rotator cuff in my right shoulder. It healed OK on its own. So why am I now having problems with my LEFT rotator cuff???? How does that possibly make sense? My rheumatologist says it's not caused by RA, and that I must have injured it. I haven't. Grrrr.

    Rebecca

    Comment


    • #3
      Dislocated my shoulder multiple times now - it's very loose and does give me pain, but when I had it x-rayed the doctor said nothing looked torn, just "stretched" (?), and referred me to PT rather than surgery. PT helped a bit but it still dislocates easily - not all the way out, that's only happened twice, but partially and then snaps back in. Doesn't even require a lot of pressure, just the wrong movement and *pop*. Makes me crooked when I ride because I am favoring it and tend to curl on that side, do others find this also?

      I am only in my mid-20s, and it's already bad. I worry about it!

      Comment


      • #4
        I'll join this brigade. You could put me on the poster. Neither of my shoulders even qualify as joints anymore. A recent flare-up has me scheduled for yet another MRI arthrogram. Why bother? I asked. After suffering shoulder-crunch on and off for the past decade, I know what's wrong. Just give me the excruciating steroid shots, send me to PT for six weeks, and I'll be on my way already.
        Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by ReRustica View Post
          Dislocated my shoulder multiple times now - it's very loose and does give me pain, but when I had it x-rayed the doctor said nothing looked torn, just "stretched" (?), and referred me to PT rather than surgery. PT helped a bit but it still dislocates easily - not all the way out, that's only happened twice, but partially and then snaps back in. Doesn't even require a lot of pressure, just the wrong movement and *pop*. Makes me crooked when I ride because I am favoring it and tend to curl on that side, do others find this also?

          I am only in my mid-20s, and it's already bad. I worry about it!
          You should worry about it! That ain't right. You'd need an MRI, not an x-ray. Was this an orthopedic surgeon who told you this?
          A helmet saved my life.

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

          Comment


          • #6
            ReRustica, ask your PT what they think. I had an MRI which showed no tears and only some thickening on one of my RC tendons so they sent me off to PT. After 6 weeks my PT sent me back to the surgeon because it was obvious there was something torn from my total lack of progress. Turns out I had 2 tears in one of the 'normal' looking tendons on the MRI but were quite obvious after the surgeon got in there. You are your own best advocate, ask for more therapy and a second look from the ortho. They will be much more likely to suggest surgery after you have done a full round of two of PT.

            Good luck!
            Freedom is the ability not to care what the other person thinks...

            Got air?! Member of the Asthmatic Riders Clique

            Comment


            • #7
              I had rotator cuff tendonitis last year and even after PT it still gives me twinges. It just won't completely quit. If i were a horse, I would be NQR.
              Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
              EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

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              • #8
                Oh, I can totally relate to this. I had a really bad shoulder with what I think was a rotator cuff tear. I actually just let it ride. It took three years and it finally just fixed itself. Now my left is in really, really bad pain. I think I have to suck it up and go get it checked out. But I hate the thought of surgery. I just came off a winter in a leg cast for a broken ankle and don't relish the thought of being incapacitated again! But I can't move the shoulder at certain angles now, and if I accidently do, it screams pain. Sleeping is hard, too. Sigh. (On a side note, it does not hurt while riding, thankfully.)
                “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                ¯ Oscar Wilde

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                • #9
                  Okay, here's my story: Diagnosed with carpal tunnel years ago and tennis elbow. Doc never suggested a refer to a surgeon. 8 years later I have carpal tunnel surgery and each elbow needed surgery. My surgeon said my elbows were like crab meat. If I had had surgery years ago, they wouldn't have gotten this bad,same with my carpal tunnel.

                  Moral is don't let things get so bad that they are not totally fixable. I will always have to be careful with my elbows.
                  RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

                  "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'll join in here. I fell a couple of months ago. Osteo surgical PA diagnosed as a rotor cuff injury, no way to tell whether it was torn unless an MRI is done. My insurance company would only authorize that MRI if I was contemplating surgery. I wanted to see if it would heal on its own, so went straight to PT. It didn't take long to determine that the PT wasn't doing the job (it felt worse, even after a month) so back to the Osteo and an MRI. Here I am thinking that I would have to have shoulder surgery and wondering how I was going to get along one-armed during recovery.

                    I went to see the surgeon last week, to get the results of the MRI. The good news was that I don't have to have surgery. The bad news is that I don't have to have surgery because there is no tendon left to repair. He says that this is a very old injury, years, in fact, and the fall only aggravated it to the point where it became painful. The tendon has totally retreated from the joint area. Apparently, I have a very high pain tolerance level. I'm betting, by the way, that the original injury happened on one of the times I came off while riding, and that I was hurting so badly all over that I never isolated that one thing as a potential problem.

                    So, no more PT, as that only results in bone on bone wear. I can't do any kind of exercise involving weights. Since I stopped the PT, the pain level has gone down, and I'm learning to deal with this thing. It still hurts if I move it wrong, and probably always will. And, my range of movement is quite restricted. I'm finding the thought of living with this for the rest of my life to be on the daunting side, but I'll adjust. After all, there are a lot of people living with a lot worse.

                    I'm thinking of taking up yoga, as an exercise that might strengthen the arm without doing further damage. Any thoughts on that?
                    If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
                    Desmond Tutu

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Although at this point my shoulders are "almost" normal, I'll add my story.

                      Back in late 1999, before I started riding again, my shoulder joints started "freezing." I gradually lost range of motion until I couldn't raise my hands above elbow level (I was teaching at the time, and it was back in the blackboard days, so this was a problem.) I have Type 1 diabetes, which makes me more prone to stuff like this. I did a round of PT, but continued to get worse, and finally ended up having surgery on both shoulders at the same time.

                      "Frozen shoulder" is a condition where the joint develops adhesions, so the surgery (simple version) is to put you under, yank your shoulder around to break up the adhesions, and get you into PT that same day, because the adhesions can re-form very quickly. For the right shoulder, that's what the surgeon did, but for the left he had to go in with a scope and break up the adhesions. I was in PT 5 hours after surgery and continued with PT 3-5 times a week for 8 weeks (at which point I joined a gym, because my insurer wouldn't pay for more PT.) I went from about 50% ROM before surgery to 90% in the left and 95% in the right. It's been 13 years and my shoulders still get a bit cranky, especially in cold weather. But riding really helps.

                      In 2006 I started riding again, and in 2008 had a riding accident that trashed my left collarbone (I also broke 5 ribs on the left side, and partially collapsed my lung. Fainted while riding at a hand-gallopy pace between jumps, slipped right off and landed on the point of my left shoulder.) So my left shoulder is collapsed in, and the hardware holding the collarbone together means I can't "uncollapse" it. I can't turn my torso to the right as much as to the left, so I am an "asymmetrical" rider. Luckily I can still ride; it would be a problem if I was trying to ride at the upper levels, but since I'm really just your average middle aged adult re-rider, it's more of a frustration.

                      But yeah, this isn't fun stuff.
                      You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                      1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Louise, have you thought about trying some water exercises? My PT does aqua therapy but most pools have aqua-aerobics and similar type programs. The neutral buoyancy and resistance from the water is good for helping strengthen without all the jarring and stress that dry land exercises can sometimes impart.

                        Just a thought

                        CB
                        Freedom is the ability not to care what the other person thinks...

                        Got air?! Member of the Asthmatic Riders Clique

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I've thought about it, canadianbacon, and am going to ask my doctor the next time I see her. The only problem is that community pools really ick me out (not the pool as much as the locker rooms and deck, though the thought of all the kids who have pee'd in the water is not pleasant). I'd have to work my way through that particular phobia.
                          If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
                          Desmond Tutu

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yeah this is my thread. I fell off a horse in 2001 landed directly on my shoulder, fractured my collar bone, and my scapula partially tore my rotator cuff and separated my shoulder. My shoulder healed on its own after it was in an immobilizer for 6 months and extensive physical therapy. Re-injured a year or two later and had sharp nagging pain. It took 4 years, 6 MRI, one contrast MRI to find the tear in my labrum. Had arthroscopic surgery and two pins in my shoulder. 2 years ago had the same surgery done on left shoulder. And now 4 years after right shoulder surgery my biceps tendon is fraying, I have been getting PT and my doctor just told me that I will need surgery. That PT and cortisone shots aren't fixing anything. I don't want to get it now and am hoping that I can wait another year. But if anyone needs a referral to a great shoulder surgeon in the Philadelphia let me know.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Elbow here. Dislocated it about five weeks ago. My moron 2yo reared while I was putting halter on and her foreleg caught my forearm on way down.

                              It had been doing ok until yesterday when I hyperextended it again, and now I've got the ouchies again .

                              Not riding anyway since am still in a back brace so at least its getting some rest

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Rotator cuff tendinitis here! Hurt for 2-3 months before I finally got it checked out but just finished my second session of PT. Got kinesiology tape on for the next few days, which surprisingly helps A LOT.

                                how's everyone else??
                                Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
                                White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

                                Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by bluecharm7 View Post
                                  Yeah this is my thread. I fell off a horse in 2001 landed directly on my shoulder, fractured my collar bone, and my scapula partially tore my rotator cuff and separated my shoulder. My shoulder healed on its own after it was in an immobilizer for 6 months and extensive physical therapy. Re-injured a year or two later and had sharp nagging pain. It took 4 years, 6 MRI, one contrast MRI to find the tear in my labrum. Had arthroscopic surgery and two pins in my shoulder. 2 years ago had the same surgery done on left shoulder. And now 4 years after right shoulder surgery my biceps tendon is fraying, I have been getting PT and my doctor just told me that I will need surgery. That PT and cortisone shots aren't fixing anything. I don't want to get it now and am hoping that I can wait another year. But if anyone needs a referral to a great shoulder surgeon in the Philadelphia let me know.
                                  I had that problem with the bicep main front tendon being shredded by a spur growing in the wrong place, courtesy of hitting a tree many decades ago.

                                  The surgeon repaired that a year ago and the rotator cuff and some other here and there and it was good until a few months ago, when I fell on that shoulder again and something is not right, the bicep is not quite working right.

                                  I am giving that time, see if it heals on it's own, have become allergic to doctors these past few years.

                                  You better have that tendon fixed, as they told me if I didn't, I would lose function of that arm and the surgery to fish and repair that tendon once torn completely and the muscle flopping would be an emergency and harder.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    So the doc said I can finally start thinking about riding again next month, and suddenly I find myself terrified of hurting that shoulder if I fall off. Has anyone ever used a body protector with shoulder pads? I know it won't protect against everything but I'm debating if it would be helpful even from a mental stand point. My physiotherapist said it takes 1 year to recover physically and 2 years to recover mentally and there is no way I'm staying out of the saddle another 18 months until I get over this fear....
                                    Freedom is the ability not to care what the other person thinks...

                                    Got air?! Member of the Asthmatic Riders Clique

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Add me as one with "frozen shoulder". Sounds so benign for something so painful. Started PT this week. Luckily riding isn't too hard because of the position. It is just impossible to lift the arm very high or reach behind me (hooking bras kick my butt). It has been going on over a year. They say it can take one to three years to "thaw" but hopefully with PT and the cortisone shot it won't take that long.
                                      “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                                      ¯ Oscar Wilde

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by canadianbacon View Post
                                        So the doc said I can finally start thinking about riding again next month, and suddenly I find myself terrified of hurting that shoulder if I fall off. Has anyone ever used a body protector with shoulder pads? I know it won't protect against everything but I'm debating if it would be helpful even from a mental stand point. My physiotherapist said it takes 1 year to recover physically and 2 years to recover mentally and there is no way I'm staying out of the saddle another 18 months until I get over this fear....
                                        Don't worry about it too much. The more time passes, the stronger and more normal your shoulder feels, the less you will fear re-injury. Riding is so second nature, you will soon forget while in the saddle that you ever had an issue. You will feel it later and want to ice it, but it isn't hard to stay in the moment while riding. You'll be thrilled to be back on a horse. I'm so happy for you!
                                        A helmet saved my life.

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

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