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Old 03-11-2005   #1
boof512's Avatar
Teacher, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 308

So in November I injured the bursa in my shoulder while skiing. I got it checked out at the Orthopaedic Center of th Rockies, and they put me on a rehab program of rest, and rubber band excercises.
It was feeling better until I paddled the Mystery ditch on monday and now it is like it was in November! I have plans of leaving work in april and paddleing until the water runs out, right now I am wonding if that is possible!

So I need your help, I need some recomendations of great sports med Doc's, acupuncture people, Witch doctors, your hillbilly uncle larry that has some amazing cure, or your personal experiance with Rotato Cuff Tendinitis or Bursitis!

I know I am asking alot, but please I have been working for the last three years to take this time off to just boat, and now I am seriously concerned with my ability to do so, with paddleing season just around the corner I am kind of freeking out!!

thanks for any help
email me at

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Old 03-11-2005   #2
Meng's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 787
Oof, thats rough, I can totally relate... Last June my shoulder just 'went out', loosing its strength and develloped deep shoulder pain (never dislocated though). I saw one of the best specialists in my area and was put on a rest and rehab program like you. I got MRI-arthograms and the whole bit, yet I could never get a concrete diagnosis. They thought it was maybe brusitis, slap lesion, ac-separation and ultimately settled on impingement. I was 'released' from the doc's care in November with instuctions to continue my exercises and that I would be fine.

So here it is 10 months later. I moved to UT to ski for the season (so I wouldnt paddle) and didn't go on a trip to Chile with friends. Took a job that would be easy on the shoulder.... Basically, I've been resting and rehabing my shoulder for 10 months and.... It still hurts. I was originally told 3-4 months. Paddling is my life and I don't know what to do if I cant paddle for a second season in a row. I just went to a new doctor on Wednesday and he shot me up with cortizone. Possibly wants to do surgery in 3 weeks. Kinda worried but im glad at least something other than just waiting is getting done.

Ok, so I know you asked for advice and im just ranting about my own shoulder problem here... sorry. The best advice i could give is just to do your excercises with devotion and give it time to heal. Dont rush into any kind of surgery and think about getting a second opinion if someone reccomends that. Its also important to find a doc you trust, especially if you end up on that path. If i did it all over again I wouldnt wait soo long to seek care again after not really getting better. On the plus side though my strenth is mostly back but there is just impingement pain (possibly the cortizone will temporarily fix this but right now, 2 days after the shot i can hardly move my right arm -- for anyone else reading...should i be worried about this???). I have also considered trying acupunture.... you might be on to something there.

I hope it works out for ya and you get your paddling trip this year. If you any specific questions feel free to email me. Also, if you find any miracle cures or try acupuncture and it works, let me know.

Good luck,

PS- If any of you who have experienced this send Patrick advice, please send it my way too:

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Old 03-11-2005   #3
alexhenes's Avatar
Systems & Process Design, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 196
Sorry to hear about your shoulder injury... I have had a few myself and they are no fun.

This is my method for rehab...

- Be sure you know exactly what is wrong with your shoulder... MRI
- Do your exercises religiously... do what the therapists tell you... no more no less
- Ice
- Prescription anti-inflams
- Patience

I have also had shots that make the inflamation go down but I am told they are relatively bad for your tendons in the long run.

Good luck
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Old 03-11-2005   #4
jonny water's Avatar
Geologist, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 583
Years ago, I was doing my roll wrong which torqued my shoulder weird. I got to the point where my shoulder would come out of socket nearly everytime I went paddling. I also noticed that when it did this, it would come out near the first rapid (especially if i flipped). I noticed that it was really bad when it popped out while going around a corner sitting passanger in my buddy's car. I was in a similar situation in that I had a permit to run the Tallulah gorge on the very first release to the public in 3 months and i was not going to miss the opportunity. So I had to do something. I never went to the doctor, but started swimming. I found that freestyle swimming was low impact and strengthened my shoulder by rotating it 360 degrees. I would work out but if I over worked it, it would pop out, so I kept my workouts to a moderate level. Eventually, it became very strong. At the same time, I worked on my roll and went back to the basics. I had to relearn my roll, and even started rolliing on my offside when possible.

Also, when you went to this so-called "mystery canal" did it pop out near the beginning of your run? Stretch at the put in....I usually mimmick my freestyle swimming for at least 5 minutes and concentrate on using your muscles to rotate your arms, not just spinning them (which could dislocate your shoulder).

Another solution, which works, is to make a brace for your shoulder....i don't know if you have seen this, but you can make a brace so that your shoulder does not pop out. One piece of webbing works the best, but you can use a rope. Tie the webbing from your PFD to your arm just below the bicep and above the elbow. Make it long enough so that you can lift your arm so that it is less than 90 degrees at your shoulder. This will not let you do a high brace (which you should never do in the 1st place) and will let you still roll (plus if you are doing your roll wrong, you won't be able to roll with this brace). This will keep your shoulder from coming out in the future even if the current tries to rip it out.

Don't know if these suggestions would help your specific problem. But for me, who has dislocated my shoulder at least a dozen times, totally fixed my shoulder for good. I am 100% and never went to a doc and never had surgery.

I have more suggestions for different types of injuries if you describe your injury in more detail, but 1st you will have to tell me where the "Mystery Canal" is, specifically.
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Old 03-11-2005   #5
River Ranger
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 5
Shoulder Help

I have impinged both shoulders once on the grand - day 2 and once snowmobiling at work a little more than a year later. My Doctor of choice is Dr Abbott at the Vail Medical Center he specializes in shoulders and I was very pleased with him. I did am MRI with him and he did not cut me but put me on a very methodical Physical Therapy schedule. Both took a long time (8 to 10 months) but I was 56 when I impinged the first shoulder and the other was injured a year later. I rowed the Grand again last fall and am paddling my kayak again.

My recommendation is to work both shoulders when you do your therapy as you really compensate with the good arm and it may have added to my injuring my second shoulder.

Dr. Gottlieb of the same Medical Center started me on my first recovery with a cortisone shot and it took me about 4 days before I really noticed no pain and good range of motion and then to therapy.
Jay Dub
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Old 03-11-2005   #6
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3
Shoulder help...

I have some advice... I have just started Pilates in Salida, Colorado and I talked to my instructor about how many paddlers have shoulder problems. He was telling me that he has had a couple of clients were they couldn't even make a tennis serve, and almost had surgery but went the route of pilates and in 3 months was serving a tennis ball with no pain in the shoulder. Its a pretty expensive exercise, but every session that i have taken has helped me realize how I misuse my shoulder. If you have any questions about it let me know..
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Old 03-11-2005   #7
boof512's Avatar
Teacher, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 308
Thanks for all the comments

Thanks for taking the time to help me out, I think I am just going to have to do everything I can to get this thing working again(drugs, exercises, or voodoo medicine whatever)

But thanks again I will take all the advice that I can!!!
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Old 03-11-2005   #8
Highlands Ranch, CO Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 482

I had a different issue but hopefully this will help you some how. I tore my labrum and had to go under the knive hopefully you won't have to do that.

If I was you I would get a second opinion on your shoulder just because time is of the essence and you don't want to find out in 3 months that rest isn't doing it, I have been to Vail before and concur that Dr. Abbott is a good shoulder doc, my doc was Dr. Mchelheney in denver he was very thorough and works on alot of athletes, but my best advise is to find a good therapist. After my surgery I went to Broncos Sports Med because that is who my insurance would cover but they sucked I didn't go back after the first session. I ended up going to Physio Pro in cherry creek and would HIGHLY recomend those guys to anyone, Scott who was my therapist worked me hard and I was mtn biking and boating 3 months after surgery, when I truly didn't think I would be boating at all last summer.

I don't know much about cortizone shots other than they are a temporary fix, my old roomate has serious back problems and has gotten them a couple times but is trying very hard to find an alternative because he hates getting them for some reason.

Hope this helps and good luck

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