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separated shoulder - what to do

.bishop

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I am super active, i would say fit. I am a triathlete and half ironman guy. I was on my way to a full early this year, but separated my shoulder snowboarding. I thought I was still young and can do sweet rail tricks, but woefully learned backside anythings aren't my forte.

I can't run with the impact of the ground shoots through my shoulder. i can't lift, i can't swim, all i can do is bike.

I am in dire need of something to fix myself, and time is what my therapist has said. I have been seeing a therapist every other day. it's been a little over a week.

anyone else experienced this? how did you get through it.

I love biking, but i am getting bored fast.
 

mfrege

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Continue to work out your lower body (I'm assuming you know the wide variety of lower body excercises that can be done) and listen to your therapist, but just to be sure mix in a few other therapists in there just to get other opinions and rehab techniques - no one therapist is perfect.

If your therapist just said "it will take care of itself in time, ultrasound, and interferrential... you can pay at the counter.", then he/she is a nutbag. If, on the other hand, he/she says that you might be out from full capacity for 6 months, maybe more, maybe forever, but all you can hope is that time, plus a gradual return with rehab will work things out, you have a good therapist.
 

.bishop

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my therapist is top notch. lot of muscle work around the AC joint along with the sonagram thing and the elextrical stiumulants.

she was the therapist for a few broad way shows and the US olympic soccer team.

i have just been biking and doing different leg work outs.

i just hate the time it takes to get back.
 

SJTrance

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I'm a physical therapist here in NYC and I've treated a few shoulder separations (mostly hockey injuries). There's nothing you can do about it to make it heal instantly. You need to let the shoulder heal but you also need to strengthen it. Sonogram (ultrasound) and electrical stimulation is good, but only if the injury just happened. If you're not going to surgically treat the situation, you'll have to go through a period of immobility so that some solidity can come about the AC joint. After that, there is to be focused stability and strength building to bring that shoulder back to where it was. You may see that the shoulder looks different than the other one, but there's not reason that it you aren't able to do all the activity you want with it. You have to be careful, though because rotator cuff issues may come about in conjunction with this.

edit: who am I kidding? I think ultrasound just doesn't work... at all. I've never in my 5 years seen a patient have a real benefit from it.
 

thebarsmydestination

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Why, sir. I only just separated my shoulder pretty badly. There's not anything to be done about it but wait, unfortunately.

I know it *feels* like something is out of place and needs to be put back, but the nuts and bolts of it are that you have damaged some ligaments and there is nothing to do but let them heal.

Has your doctor determined the grade of your injury? Separated shoulders come in six types; Grade I is nothing serious -- really a sprain in an awkward spot. Grade II suggests some tearing and a slight dislocation of the clavicle. Grade III, I think, definitely means tearing of some important ligaments and serious dislocation. IV - VI have their own definitions but it all breaks down to "HOLY CRAP WHAT HAVE YOU DONE."

If your doctor hasn't set you up for surgery already you're probably in the first three grades. These injuries can only really be treated by time, and, to preserve range of movement, therapy.

The real kicker for a gentleman who frequents a forum like this is that the position of your clavicle is very likely permanent; there is a surgery to fix it, but studies show that recovery without surgery is just as good as with surgery even in athletes, meaning it is, essentially, strictly cosmetic.

Find out from your doctor what you're able to do. Please don't quote me on this because it could, obviously, get you hurt, but my understand is that in most Grade I - Grade II shoulder separations your injury is mostly stable, meaning you can do whatever your pain will allow you to do. For the first bit of my injury I was afraid to do anything that was uncomfortable, fearing I would make my shoulder worse.

It's only been a week. Ligaments take time to fix. Think about if you cut a really deep cut. Would it be better in a week?

Again, I'm not a doctor, I'm a patient; I'm just echoing to you what my orthopedist explained to me, which is probably better than googling it. People say some crazy ass things if you do that. One guy said that if I did a martial arts kata he developed it would put my collarbone back in place.
 

Pilot

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Ever seen lethal weapon?
 

airblaster503

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First off, have you gone to see an orthopedist for this? You need to find out just how bad the separation is. I separated my shoulder almost 2 years ago snowboarding, and not to toot my own horn but I am pretty damn good and thought I was invincible. Not the case, caught an edge landing switch in a icy park and my clavicle completely separated from my shoulder joint, only thing that could have made it worse was breaking my clavicle as well. Yours doesn't seem as bad, but knowing other people that have gone through lesser degree separations you are still looking at 1-2 months of rehab at least. I would imagine though you can start running at least in a couple weeks, if not get a sling to stabilize your arm/shoulder and hit the elliptical for a no impact cardio workout.
 

willpower

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Unfortunate injury because it takes a long time to heal. Even when the pain goes away, the stiffness can persist. Happened to me when I fell off my bike and broke the fall with my outstretched arms. I could still feel stiffness 10 years later.
 

.bishop

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Originally Posted by SJTrance
I'm a physical therapist here in NYC and I've treated a few shoulder separations (mostly hockey injuries). There's nothing you can do about it to make it heal instantly. You need to let the shoulder heal but you also need to strengthen it. Sonogram (ultrasound) and electrical stimulation is good, but only if the injury just happened. If you're not going to surgically treat the situation, you'll have to go through a period of immobility so that some solidity can come about the AC joint. After that, there is to be focused stability and strength building to bring that shoulder back to where it was. You may see that the shoulder looks different than the other one, but there's not reason that it you aren't able to do all the activity you want with it. You have to be careful, though because rotator cuff issues may come about in conjunction with this.

edit: who am I kidding? I think ultrasound just doesn't work... at all. I've never in my 5 years seen a patient have a real benefit from it.



I never thought ultrasounds do anything. I went and had therapy done immediately after the injury and have been getting ultrasounds and the electrical stim. i do about 15 minutes of actual muscle work. It's a grade 2 separation. It's getting better, but there is no way i can do any press/shoulder exercises, just light weight rotators cuff works that i have always been doing. just lighter weight.

i think this thread was more out of my irritation of the injury. i would have much rather it just pop out of the socket.
 

Cary Grant

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Be patient... you've been one week. You won't want to hear this but I've had to deal with simple tendonitis pain in my right shoulder for several months... and have a wrist sprain that's nagged off-on for two years. Sprains/strains take a long tikme to heal... longer if you don't give it a break.
 

.bishop

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oh i know what you are talking about. i have tons of pain that have just become a part of life
 

Svenn

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7 years later and I'm still waiting for mine to heal... probably best just to sit back and be zen about it.
 

tehbry

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I suffered a low grade shoulder separation a year ago - from a cycling accident. You need to wait it out. You won't lose much fitness if you still hit the bike and do some lower extremity lifting. I'd give the shoulder plenty of light exercising and mobility exercises as long as you can do it pain free without pain the following day. My doc didn't want me to sit still - instead had me doing band exercises (about 10 different ones) twice a day from only 3-4 days into the injury.

Sports Doc tried to tell me I can't do bench presses anymore, and no overhead work - but I was lifting at about 75% weight just fine about 4-5 weeks after the injury, with only slight tightness and twinges.

Everything turned out alright for me, despite, sadly, less flexibility in the injured shoulder on interior rotation. Really isn't a big deal, as my shoulders are too mobile and flexible as it is. It hasn't effected my swimming long term, either.

You'll be okay if you don't stress and let time heal you.
 

TowleY

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Didnt read all the posts, but did you consider getting a scan done. Maybe worst case scenario is you would need surgery since it soudns according to some of the posts like it might not heal completely.
Also why cant you swim? I work in a pool and a lot of the people who swim daily use it due to an injury, theirs might not be as serious as yours. You shold be able to do kicking drills?
 

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