Getting Back in Your Routine After Surgery

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    Aug 31, 2010 11:09 PM GMT
    So I had shoulder surgery and had Physical Therapy for 6 months or so to get in shape to play baseball again. My arm never really got back in shape to play again and after baseball was over I never got back in a good strength training routine.

    Does anyone have some ideas to get motivated and back in shape. It's not that I got fat I'm still 165 and 6'1'', its I lost interest in training because I am self conscious about the weakness in my arm.
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    Sep 01, 2010 1:47 AM GMT
    It sounds trite, but stick with the training and don't expect too much too fast. I had shoulder surgery - rotator cuff - exactly a year ago on September 1. A buddy of mine told me not to expect to get back to baseline for a year and he was totally correct. I had great physical therapy, but it really has taken until now for me to get back to where I was. I got really discouraged around February/March - right around where you are now.

    If you think that you didn't fully take advantage of your PT or if you need some outside motivation or help, ask your doctor to prescribe some additional PT sessions, or sign up for a few sessions with a reputable trainer - one that specializes in sports or baseball - and stick with it religiously. Don't push too fast.

    All the best.
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    Sep 01, 2010 1:53 AM GMT
    What did they exactly do on your shoulder?

    I had shoulder surgery almost a year ago (11.5 months now). Bankart repair of labral tear, re-attachment of middle shoulder ligament and a non-treated Hill-Sachs lesion.

    It still hurts every day, I still get depressed over it a lot, I still cant swim freestyle, I still cant do pullups (as I found out today), I still can't bench, and my right arm, which is the dominant arm, is still thinner than the left one. As of now, I have very little confidence I'll ever get back to "normal" again, which is an extremely depressing thought. But it does get better over time, albeit extremely slow.

    My surgeon told me "no contact sports for 4 months" at the 6-week checkup. At almost a year I feel nowhere near fit enough to play contact sports.

    So the advice I can give you would be this:

    1. Hang in there. this is a long term project, so treat it as such.

    2. Don't overdo it - I had to take month-long rest periods because I trained too hard too much too soon and that just sucks ass

    3. Swim. Swimming breast stroke is very good to work your shoulders. It worked really well for me. It works the shoulders, works your stamina - well, it's almost the miracle exercise for this kinda thing. Right now I built my entire schedule around swimming, with going to the pool 3x a week and to the gym only 2x (sometimes 3x if it feels good).

    4. Ice it whenever it hurts

    5. Keep swimming. It really helps.

    All the best mate, I wish you luck.
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    Sep 01, 2010 1:57 AM GMT
    italnorlando saidIt sounds trite, but stick with the training and don't expect too much too fast. I had shoulder surgery - rotator cuff - exactly a year ago on September 1. A buddy of mine told me not to expect to get back to baseline for a year and he was totally correct. I had great physical therapy, but it really has taken until now for me to get back to where I was. I got really discouraged around February/March - right around where you are now.

    If you think that you didn't fully take advantage of your PT or if you need some outside motivation or help, ask your doctor to prescribe some additional PT sessions, or sign up for a few sessions with a reputable trainer - one that specializes in sports or baseball - and stick with it religiously. Don't push too fast.

    All the best.


    Hey yea I had that too, the 6 month mark is the most depressing in my memory.

    So are you back at baseline after 1 year?

    I'm on almost 1 year now and not even remotely there.
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    Sep 01, 2010 2:53 AM GMT
    Thanks guys. I had a post laberal tear in my left (dominant) shoulder. I had my first surgery in 06 and reinjured close to a year ago. This time around has been a lot harder because of the fear of another injury. I think the swimming will be great until I feel more comfortable to work it out.

    Thanks for the input
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    Sep 01, 2010 3:43 AM GMT
    October 2008: Subacromial decompression, distal clavicle resection, excision of calcific tendonitis in the biceps tendon at humeral insertion, and generally cleaning out a bunch of shreds and chunks of junk that had been building up for almost a decade of overuse. I also saw an Orthopedic Oncologist because for about 3 weeks they thought some of the calcification in my biceps might be a "growth". And I'll tell you, I'm pretty happy to have escaped with just a plain boring structural procedure.


    It was 16 months before I was consistently able to engage in a wide range of activities without pain/swelling/tenderness/tightness/discomfort/tweaks/twinges/crunchiness. Now, almost two years out, I've gone 6 very physically active months without any symptoms whatsoever. In fact, my shoulder feels better now than it did for years before my procedure.

    The worst part of the rehab was definitely ME and my difficulty laying off activity. I am a workout/sports/outdoors/adrenaline nut. There were dozens of times I would go to the gym and tell myself "It's okay, I'm only going to do light-weight high-rep exercises today, and tomorrow when I'm coaching my niece's volleyball team I can run all the drills without actually having to use my shoulder at all, and then this weekend when I'm helping Jeremy move I'll just help to pack boxes instead of carrying anything...."


    Yeah right. SUCKER!!!

    Once I'm in the moment, I'm gonna do 50 push-ups and lift at a big percentage of my 1Rmax, and I'm going to start hitting balls at the team during practice, and I'm going to see how many boxes I can carry up three flights of stairs at one time. And just for good measure, I'm going to suddenly get an irresistible urge to climb a really cool-looking maple tree I see while at the park.

    Or at least, that's how I was until 16 months of looooong rehab with multiple setbacks and flareups finally conditioned me to slow it down a little. Just because I know I *can* add 30 more pounds to that lift this week, doesn't mean I have to, unless I really want to be all swollen up again to where I can't get the peanut butter down from the cabinet without wincing.


    And yes, you kinda feel like an idiot standing there at the free-weight rack curling your little 5-pound Barbie weight for a couple months, but you have to get your mind to realize that you're not going to magically wake up one day and be all better and suddenly bench 240lbs 3x15 times with no pain. It's an incremental process.You have to tell yourself there's no such thing as "being buff someday", there is only "becoming a little bit stronger today", lather, rinse, repeat. But this is true in general: Being is an illusion, there is only the continual process of becoming.

    I agree with the other advice you've been given. If you're still feeling weakness in your shoulder, ask for another PT scrip. This time, tell your therapist you want to focus on transitioning to an independent normal gym workout. I did exactly that 8 months post-op when I had tried going to the gym thinking "Okay, I graduated from PT so hallelujah I'm healed and can get back to working out." Nope, sorry. I could not do ANY bench-presses, push-ups, pull-ups, without soreness (the bad kind, not the normal muscle pump) for 12 months. And even then there was 6-8 weeks of easy incline pushups standing up and just leaning over against the kitchen counter before I started to put some bigger stress on it. And military press or any similar overhead lift was a complete no-no until just this past April. Personally, I discovered that I could do the decline press without going through any of the problematic ranges of motion. After two months of decline press, I incrementally leveled off the bench more and more until now I can do flat bench and dumbbell military presses with no problem (still at a decent incline with the dumbbells -- two different Orthopedic Surgeons and my PT told me they make a lot of house/car payments off of all the guys doing the perfectly straight up shoulder presses.)

  • real_diver2

    Posts: 88

    Sep 19, 2010 12:04 PM GMT
    Thanks for all of the personal stories. I am 3 months post-op on a rotator cuff repair. Things are going well. Have about 2 more weeks of PT and then I am on my own.

    Nice to have a window into what to expect the next several months.