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Old 06-05-2006   #11
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 524
There seemed to be some talk of doing PT through this thread, but I don't think it's importance can be over-emphasized. The shoulder joint is a ball and socket, but (unlike the hip) not a very sound one. It has all the inherent stability of a softball resting on a soup spoon. You've got two things holding it all in place, muscles and ligaments. If you tore (or even stretched) the ligaments, you're down to just muscles keeping your arm attached. Whatever course you take, adhere to the PT schedule religiously for as long as you want to lead an active life. You can stop wearing out those over-sized rubber bands when you finally decide to trade the paddle in for a remote. Good luck, stay with it, and you'll be back to 100% before you know it.
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Old 06-05-2006   #12
Ft. Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 139
So what's the best way to prevent a shoulder injury from paddling as far as technique and preventive PT?

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Old 06-05-2006   #13
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4
Question for Phillip...

Sounds like your orthopedic surgeon was also a kayaker. I'm scheduled to have an operation on my shoulder next month. I didn't completely dislocate, but did subluxate to the point that I tore my labrum to some degree. My orthopedic surgeon is excellent. He operates on professional athletes (mostly MLB pitchers) daily. My concern is he does not kayak, never has, has never operated on a kayaker's shoulder, and probably does not really know what a kayaker's shoulder goes thru.

Who was your surgeon? Is he in the Denver area?

Sounds like you've had good success with your labral repair. Care to elaborate any further?
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Old 06-05-2006   #14
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1
dude, I did the same thing on bridges last week. Painful!
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Old 06-05-2006   #15
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 166
Ken Duncan is a class five boater and O surgeon at OCR in the fort.
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Old 06-05-2006   #16
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 8
can depend on age and severity

I subluxated (the bone goes up on the edge of the capsule, then goes back in) a lot after messing up my shoulders skiing in college. I finally went to a sport physiologist at age 30, went on a twice per week workout regimen, and never subluxed for 10 years. Then I blew it out in Panama last fall. Torn labrum, ligaments, the works. I had the arthro surgery and while I have not recovered 100% range of motion, its great. I can paddle.

If you are over 40, PT is usually the way to go. If you are under 40 or really tore it up, surgery is a good option. If you do get cut, make sure you start PT ASAP. BTW, PT is not that painful in IMHO.
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Old 06-05-2006   #17
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 19
Hey Spankinamos,

My doc's name is Jon Erickson out of Lafayette. He doesn't kayak himself, but loves the sport. Hell, kayaking injuries has probably paid for more than a few of his vacations. I heard he does about 250 shoulder surgeries a year, so I imagine he's got experience with just about every possible way you can blow out a labrum.

Both my shoulders had severe anterior tears (front side out) from two different injuries. The first one took me so long to rehab that there was no friggin' way I was gonna' to sit on the sidelines for another 2-3 years while I nursed the second one back into shape.

More about the procedure...

I had three anchors put around the "cup" of my right shoulder and four anchors positioned around the "cup" of the right shoulder. Each one is fashioned like an eye-bolt with a sucher attached. Once they are in place the doc threads the sucher through the cartledge wrapped around my ball joint and ties it down. In addition to being able to really rachet the joint back into place, it apparently allows the labrum to readhere to the other goo that makes up the whole ball/joint assembly.

After that the socket is pretty dang secure, in fact, most of the PT is focused on loosening up the newly attached labrum while rebuilding the sorrounding muscle. Pretty cool stuff, and typically these operations go so well that the biggest problem is that people tend to feel too good, too quick. If the surgery fails it's usually b/c the patient thinks they're totally healed. Getting full range and stregnth back can be very deceptive. So watch out, do the PT and don't push it too hard. When all the scarring is healed THEN you can go full bore.

Hope that helps. Later!
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Old 06-05-2006   #18
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 5
Sorry to hear about the shoulder. I have had both of my shoulders operated on and I am back kayaking class V. There is hope! One injured from kayaking and one from skiing. I am not a doctor but have spoken to my doctor quite a bit about shoulder injuries. Typically when you go in for the first visit they check your strength, move it around, and recommend PT for awhile. If you dislocate again they will order an MRI. An MRI is the only way that they can really tell if you have torn something and need surgery. When I hurt my second shoulder the doc said that they almost always go the PT rout first (cheaper and most people can recover). However, I insisted on an MRI as it had been over a month and my shoulder was still very weak, and I didn't feel like experimentally finding that my shoulder had a tear by dislocating again doing something in the backcountry. So, they did and MRI, it was torn and they operated. Long story short, no MRI, no real way to tell whether there is actually a tear or not. I don't mean to scare you, but something to chew on. I have a friend who dislocated kayaking, went to the doc, doc recommended rest and PT. He followed the instructions religiously went back kayaking. Later in Bailey we had to put his shoulder back in. Then the doctor ordered an MRI would it have been found the first time?

If you get surgery the PT is very, very, important and will determine the success or failure of your surgery. I have heard of many people who have had shoulder surgery and more problems later because they slacked on PT. It is easy to forget and just kind of a pain in the ass, but its worth it.

As far as avoiding injury kayaking, keep your elbows in.
best of luck
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Old 06-05-2006   #19
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 41
And make sure to use the RUBBER BANDS if they give them to you for PT (right Slick?), because as was said above... we all know people who have slacked on their physical therapy and a good friend of mine is positive you live and or perish by those things... use the rubber bands.
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Old 06-05-2006   #20
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 176
It works and you don't have to go under the knife. I partially separated both, the left worse than the right. After years of pain and discomfort I finally gave it a try and after three sessions and four hard paddling seasons later I can say i am having my right done this fall. I wont lie to you it hurts, but if you can get beyond the short term pain (2 days) the results are fantastic, cheap (relatively), and you can use your arm again within a week. This is not a process you can opt for right now as you need to go through the initial 6-8 week healing process but this fall call up the Doc because you can have a shoulder stronger than it was before without costly surgery with a substantially shorter recovery.
My 2 cents
Does anyone else think i should sell used cars?

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