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Old 06-02-2015   #1
Knoxville, Tennessee
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 19
labrum surgery - when can i return to paddle??

Hey yall, I know theres been a million posts on this subject, but I want feedback for my specific case, because I have not seen a post that really met where I was post surgery. So I had a labral tear and Ac joint decompression after a nice Gauley carnage. I only have ONE anchor...and I am now about 9-10 weeks out (had surgery on March 20th, 2015.) I have been doing a little more than doctor recommended, and I have flatwater paddled at about 7 weeks about once a weekend around the lake. I only hand paddle which seems to feel absolutely fine ( I have not tried a normal paddle yet.) My doctor said at 3 months or 12 weeks he has cleared me to flatwater paddle as therapy. I have read a few forums that have said boaters have returned to class III about 4 months out and class V at 6 months out. My doc has said to not really do any serious kayaking until 6 months out, but he is rather conservative. My question is how reasonable is it to get back into class II-III pretty soon? Im not even cleared for flatwater paddling until 3 months but hell I feel like I could go jump on a river right now after flatwater hand paddling, which I believe has strengthened the surrounding muscles quite a bit. I'm not expecting to be full blown back to boating, but I would like to know from some boaters who have undergone the same surgery, what their realistic back to paddling times were. And what class rivers they were paddling at what months post op. Like I said, I have almost zero pain and full range of motion back. Any advice would be helpful!

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Old 06-02-2015   #2
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 807
I had six anchors and micro-fracture. Was paddling Class IV 4.5 months out and Class V six months out. I think your schedule largely depends on how good of a boater you were before. If you were a Class V boater, then it is very unlikely that you are going to get worked in Class III, so that is probably fine. Paddling is great rehab. Just keep it a level below what you feel you can do for at least six months. Even after that, it might be smart to walk a few rapids that you might normally run if you anticipate the possibility of a flip onto your new shoulder. Good luck.

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Old 06-02-2015   #3
Knoxville, Tennessee
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 19
That's encouraging. Did you just jump back into your class III? My deal is I feel fine flat water paddling, I want to kind of known when I can progress to that. If I should wait another month flat watering or if I should test it out on a smaller river. And I am a solid class IV boater
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Old 06-02-2015   #4
Castle Rock, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 8
I had a labral tear and a torn rotator cuff muscle due to a dislocation. I waited 6 months to paddle after healing and completing therapy. I did the Numbers for my first run and boated 65 days last year. Surgery was in late Oct 2013. My recommendation to you is don't push it because you don't want to repeat surgery again. Do what feels right and keep up with strength training. I've been on the water 25 times so far this year, but after 10 runs or so on Class IV I had pain in my shoulder again. I backed off a bit and then worked through it. My shoulder feels solid, but I do get a twinge now and then and just keep working through it. Good luck.

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Old 06-02-2015   #5
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 807
I think the first whitewater I did was the Gunnison gorge (class 2-3) at about 4 months out. I moved up pretty quickly from there because it felt fine. Again, I don't think there is any set schedule. Just don't paddle anything that would make you nervous in your current condition. It sounds like you are nervous about class 3 at this point, so probably better to hold off.

You want to focus more on taking good strokes and how it feels than actually having to worry about you lines. Focussing on technique in your recovery can make you a better paddler once you are healed. Also, I would suggest popping a few rolls in the pool before paddling any river where you are likely to flip. If you don't feel like rolling yet, stick to the super mellow stuff.

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