Rotator cuff tear
thoughts on shoulder pain
Mathews No Cam
by Pat Lefemine
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I had my rotator cuff repaired Feb 1st. The Doctor says I can't start shooting my bow until Aug. 1st. I'm wondering who else out there has had this done and what did you do to get back to shooting again and how long did it take? Thanks Jerry
When I tore mine, I didn't get the surgery. My doctor recommended an exercise program and referred me to a physical therapist. It was 8 months before I even tried to draw a bow and I stopped, in pain, after the first couple of inches. It was nearly two years before I could pull my hunting bow without pain and even at that I had to lower the draw nearly 30 lbs to get started shooting. It took another three months to get back to my regular draw of 74 lbs.
Therapy, exercise and follow your doc's advice. Don't rush yourself. It's not worth starting all over.
The Old Sarge
I had mine scoped about 20 years ago. I had a tear and the flaps would overlap one another. YEOW!!! The doc just ground away the edges to keep them from overlappping. I recovered very quickly nothing like your doc is saying. I boogered it up recently as well but knock on wood, it seems good to go now. After years of lifting weights both shoulders aren't what they used to be but thank God I can still draw my bow! MO
Every shoulder repair is different. Trying to rush it and re-injuring it is not what you want to do. Follow the Doc's advice, providing he is familiar with the requirements of shooting a bow. If not, he may be overly cautious. I had my bow arm shoulder repaired in Jan. '09. I was shooting, cautiously and just a few arrows at a time by late May. It took more than a year, until just recently, to be mostly pain free.
On Jan. 29 I had the same surgery with a labrum repair added in for fun.
Just curious as to which shoulder you had done and which is your bow arm?
My Doc said I would be 100% by May 1st (with therapy). I didn't ask if I could shoot a bow or not though...hmm...
Jerry, On December 2nd I had the surgery with labrum repair also. I am now completed wtih physical therapy but am still working on building the muscle on my own now. Doc says I can not officially start shooting my bow until April 1st if the pain allows me to. Make sure you do as your therapist shows and do not rush getting back to bow form. Time is the crucial part so let it heal. Best of luck
well the bad news is it was my right arm and I'm right handed. I do think my Doc is the cautious type which is ok with me. My PT seems to be as well. Both wanted me to stay in the sling for 6 weeks. I just went for a check-up and the doc was impressed on how well I'm doing. When I get farther along I'm going to talk to the PT about how I should proceed to build up my arm. Right now I'm doing what ever they tell me to because I don't want to go thru this again. Thanks Guys, Jerry
"Right now I'm doing what ever they tell me....". If you will remember these words you wrote, you will fair well. I had my right shoulder done in 2001 and left shoulder done in 2003. Your recovery depends on the damage done and the amount of surgery required for repair. I listen to the PT and the dr. and recovered well.
Let it heal properly and you will have many pain-free seasons in front of you. Rush it and not allow it to heal properly- you will have many years of pain in front of you with even more opportunties for additional surgeries.
Therapy .Used Sportsplex in Orlando in 2002, Before the Surgery, and canceled both Surgeries, and still do the excercises.
Dang, you guys have me worried. Been throwing for 3 days straight in Batting practice for my sons little league team. My arm is hanging.....
i had this done along with the upper tendon repaired, it took about 7 months before i could shoot my bow, and all said it was a total of 10 months before i was released from physical therapy...that was in november of this last year, and even now it still bothers me when i sleep on it, or work it too much...not trying to scare you, but just giving you an idea how mine went...
I had a bad incident with a Mule which left my right arm hanging unattached to my body and was taken to the Hospital and was going into Shock from the worst pain you could imagine.
They tied me down on a bed and started wigglying my by now blackened arm and jimmied it back in the rotator cup socket and then put a sling brace on the arm connecting the arm by this brace to my body and told me to wear it for three weeks; on the way home I stopped by a friends place and he told me that the same thing happened to another guy he knew and by leaving the brace on for three weeks the arm kind of welded itself in that position and that the man from then on couldn't raise his arm to a shooting position.
I went home pulled the brace off and got a little 26 pounds recurve and started pulling it but could only pull it waist level; within a week I could raise my arm to shooting level by pulling this light weight bow.
Even though I have always been able to draw and shoot bows up to 60 pounds since that injury, the shoulder socket pops and still gives me some problems.
This injury happened about 1990.
I don't really know what they did to some of you guys but one thing I would recommend is that you get a light weight bow like in 20 or 25 pound draw to start rebuilding you arm with.
You start with a heavy weight bow and I suggest to you that you may ruin what the doctor repaired.
I never had my dislocation operated on but I would gladly had submitted to an operation for awhile; it really got to hurting days after they reset it and I was literally begging for my Doctor-personal surgeon to cut the thing off or operate on it; he didn't think either option was a good idea, thank goodness.
I have always wondered what a person would do if this happened when you were way back in the mountains and had no idea of what had happened to you.
I'll know the next time what's wrong.
I had my shoulder dislocated,broke my shoulder blade and tore my rotator cuff in a roll over accident.I had surgery for four hours on the rotator cuff as well as some screws put in my shoulder to keep my shoulder blade together.This was 11 days before we were to go hunt Idaho for elk.I killed this bull on the fourth day of the hunt with my bow.Exactly 15 days after the surgery.!!!!!! Of course I drew the bow with my teeth It shows you always have options until your r-cuff heals. By the way its been over a year and my shoulder still hurts everyday.I shoot my bow at 63lbs now. If I loose both my arms one leg and part of an ear-I might reduce myself to a crossbow, no on second thought Id apply for a draw lock permit-----maybe.
137buck - did you have a Bankart repair?
That is what I am being told to consider - it is the longest or one of the longest recovery shoulder surgeries.
I have yet to meet a bowhunter who has had it...would love to find someone who has survived the same procedure....
I had a Bankart repair done on January 19th on my left(bow)arm. Wore the sling for 5 weeks and basically kept my arm at my side the whole time. They put in two anchors and tied the labrum back onto the bone which it was tore off from (Glenoid). I am out of the sling now (10 days) and am slowly working it every day on my own per my Docs orders. He said 3 months off work (Federal Corrections worker) and the PT starts in 2 weeks from now. I can use it sparingly now and can lift #5 max with it.(It's still very stiff and most of my bicep has atrophied away). After 3 months it's pretty well attched and strength training can resume. I plan to be shooting again by June 1st. We'll see...
Try this. It works great for shoulder injuries.
Thanks Cleggy! That is about what I understand. They say you get 75% back in about 5-6 months with the last 25% of mobility in the last 5-6 months.
I am trying like mad to rehab it. I am doing exercises every day. It continues to pop out of socket once a week and I can put it back in place with a door frame. Last September it was coming out 2x/day. Not sure if i can avoid it or not.
38 birthdays have been hard on me...or at least the time spent between those days.
Good luck with your recovery!
Torn labrum, bow shoulder, 2 anchors, stitches and ground off accromium on March 17, 2009....Shooting my bow June 20, 2009. Benching 350 now, still not 100%, was at 495 before the injury, but doing great! All I can say, do the PT 2X daily and eat right and do your core conditioning as well. Oh, and I am 40.
I tore my rotator cuff a couple of years ago on my left shoulder and was scared to death because I could not pull back my bow. Lots of therapy using stretching and weights have brought me back to strength but not anywhere near where I was. Lifting was what tore the shoulder but on the flip side it is also what brought it back from the dead. My shoulder will never be the same and certain movements still send a shot of pain. But, as long as I can shoot my bow I am good. I'm going to be 42 and have finally realized I can't work out like I did when I was 20...at least not ALL of the time.
Listen to the Doc's recommendations. Some injuries can be rehabed without surgery. But on many, the longer you wait the more difficult the repair will be.
I've had both shoulders operated on (rotator cuff) right arm in 94, had two day stay hosp. That injury took almost a year to heal. Before this injury I could throw a baseball from center field to home plate on one bounce! Now from second base to first on two bounces! Doc, advised me that my injury was very extensive, and if I was a pro ball player my career would have been over... Tore left arm in 98, that arm took six months. 02 tore my left biceps tendon one year to heal properly... Just recently re injured my right shoulder (partial tear) rotator cuff, but surgery not recommended... Six weeks of PT... Everyone has given you some good advise go slow and steady and build the strength and range of motion back. Oh and my strength in both arms always came back just the range of motion in my right arm was not the same, but I still shoot a 63lb. Bow, w/ no problems... Best of luck to you... : )
A real common tear for beauticians and mechanics. My wife tore hers completely away from the bone and had surgery (Right Rotator cuff) Tear was in December 2007 Surgery in June 2008, she is still going to physical therapy and her shoulder is only at 90% today..on top of that the surgeon would now like to do her left shoulder as the compensation for the right shoulder has caused problems with the left shoulder. The Docs tell you that you will be 100% in six months and then in 6 months they tell you that healing time is different for everyone and that you may never get back to a 100%..As far as pulling a Bow back again, it depends on your age, muscle tone, ability to heal and will power..It would kill me not to be able to bow hunt..so I for one can feel your pain..
Ask your orthopedic surgeon about having an open bristow prodecure done.
I had shoulders similar to yours from many skiing and wakeboarding wrecks to the point where i did not have any labrum left on either side and both of my shoulders would dislocate all of the time from the most simple of activities. Unfortunately when you have dislocated your shoulder that many times there is nothing that will make your shoulder 100% as each time you dislocate your shoulder it does more and more damage to the joint.
Long story short the open bristow relocates on of the heads of your biceps tendon and its attachment (coracoid)to the front of your shoulder joint in the place where the destroyed labrum once was. This bony process is then screwed into your shoulder blade and makes it so that in order for your shoulder to dislocate it has to either ride way up and over the relocated coracoid process or it has to rip out the 20mm screw holding it in. It is kind of an "oldie but goodie" procedure but is pretty strong. I have heard of many guys having bankhart procedures fail many times and having to resort to the open bristow. I was actually scheduled for a bankhardt but when the surgeon got in there he saw that the damage was too severe and opted to do the open bristow.
As for what you can expect afterwards. I have had one arm done for 8 years and have had no dislocations and have had the other done for 9 years and have had no dislocations. I still am very active with wakeboarding and skiing. Shooting my bow is the least of my worries. Throwing a football or a baseball like I used to be able to is really not an option though. They are still a little sore from time to time and physical therapy is kind of a lifelong thing for severe shoulder injuries. The reason for this is the joint is a weak joint to begin with and relies heavily on surrounding muscles for support. When you maintain good strength and conditioning of the surrounding muscles you will have much more stability of the joint.
If you have the surgery (either one) and take good care of your shoulder always staying active and keeping those muscles in good shape then you will have no problem being able to draw your bow back. Just don't try to throw a softball from the outfeild to homeplate without a cutoff man.
I also had the repair and just have to say do exactly what they ask of you and do all the rehab work. I then after 6 months was given the ability to start with a 20 lb longbow, after 3 weeks tried a child 30 to 45 lb compound and worked up by adding 5 lbs per week, then used a new alpine bow that was 45 to 60 lb in 29 inch draw weight. I left it at 45 lb for the hunting season with 100 gr BH, bemen 500 carbon arrows and was able to take a 7 point buck at 15 yards with the bow...
bjibber - that is a new one on me and from the bit I just read about it (after your post) certainly justifies a discussion with my ortho.
I lifted Friday on it and was able to incline press 225 on it for a set of 6 w/out it popping out. But then it will pop out on me doing something like reaching into the back seat. the pain is manageable...I just don't want to avoid surgery now at the cost of a longer recovery when I am older.
Thanks for your thoughts. This site is incredible for the vastness of the info transfer.
Jerry, I had the surgery done the thursday before Thanksgiving 09. Repair was for "Massive Global Rotator Ruture" 6 posts installed, cool cut scar;), attached everything but the biscep, basically everything that held the ball into the socket was gone, they never could "find" or reattach the long bicep tendion. In the process of making the short tendion bicep section of my arm into the primary bicep..Shooting time projection was pushing 12 months for 100% strength (I believe they may be right on that) 7-9 months before starting to shoot. Worked with my PT on my goals, well it was 3months almost to the day when I shot my first arrow. Yes light poundage, 40# but hey I shot an arrow :) It is part of my strength training, slow and only a couple of shots a day. Follow your PT excercises to the tee...it was my left shoulder and I shoot right handed...oh and I'm 55...Good luck and keep pushing forward...4finger
I'm 56 and I tried the physical theraphy for 3 months before I did the surgery. I wasn't getting any better in fact it seemed to get worse so thats when I decided to have the surgery. My job is what caused the problem. I fix garage doors so my arms spend alot of time over my head but the worse thing is winding torsion springs. It got so bad I could not wind them right handed anymore. After 3 knee surgeries and now this it might be time to find something else to fund my hunting trips. Sweet Bill thats kind of what I thought I would start with. If I could pull 45lbs by Oct.1st (the start of Mich. deer season)I could live with that. I've already decided not to go elk hunting this year.Thanks to all for you help, Jerry
I tore my rotator cuff and a bisep reduct done. They told me my bow season was done. So, I went and bought a left handed bow and shot my bull. I'm still shooting left handed to this day. I shot left handed better than I did right handed.
Houndy, Good for you! Not always the best thing to tell some of us we can't shoot. lol..:)...4finger
Had two surgeries on my bow arm done one month apart.First the AC shoulder joint was shaved and some rotator cuff fraying was smoothed out. Second one was my thumb, the carpel-meta carpel joint was shaved down and some bone marrow from my forearm was added to the joint. Also had a titanium plate with 6 screws over the joint for stability. The end result should be that I will be able to grip my bow again and raise my arm up to raise my bow. From what I've read here it seems unlikely I'll be pulling my bow in 8 weeks like the Doc says. Shoulder was done Jan 3rd. Have developed a clicking noise in the shoulder like someone cracking their knuckles. Doc says it will go away in time, PT's have never heard of the clicking problem. Anybody have this problem?
My AC clicks in my right shoulder.
Both shoulders will "pop" when they get tight. The stronger I keep my rotator cuff muscles, the less "pop" I have.
ttt from someone who's waiting for the MRI results now. Good info here.
Bow arm- Doc thinks labrum and rotator tear plus a possible tracking issue with my bicep tendon. Keeping my fingers crossed for minor tears and PT rather than surgery 4/8.
When you do start to use a bow, use a recurve. Pulling a compound isn't the issue so much as if you don't actually release, but instead let down. I've got shoulder issues and the let down is the hard part. There are a lot of cheap old bows out there that you could start with.
Don't even think about getting started early or you will be starting all over again! Happened to a golfing buddy of mine and several clients. You will mess it up and have another surgery with less chance of a good result.
I'm right handed. I had my left labrum repaired, bicep tendon reattached, and bone spurs in the joint ground off. This was the 8th of Feb. Dont know when I'll be shooting. I just hope that it is before the fall.
Saw the surgeon today. Bow arm RC Tear. MRI clearly showed it. Surgery 4/15. minimum 4 month rehab. UGH!
I'd be interested in what people's recovery time was to be able to pull back a bow with a similar injury/surgery. I planned on hunting elk around 9/1??? My August archery antelope plans just went out the window.
Thanks for any info.
I had surgery Jan 8th for a massive bowarm RC tear.I just started aggressive Physical therapy yesterday.I'm doing real well considering the size of the tear and being told at first a minimum 6 month recovery.I hope to be shooting my 37#(new limbs)recurve in 2-3 weeks.I may be pushing it but I feel that I'm making great progress and will be shooting again soon.
As I said in my earlier post my Doctor told me 6 months before I could start shooting my bow. I'm coming along good in the therapy but I don't plan on trying to shoot my bow until he says I can. Since having this done I've talked to a couple of people who started doing things to soon and had to have the surgery again and I for sure don't want to go through this again. Jerry
Had the surgery yesterday. Repaired torn RC and shaved some bone. He also removed a piece of broken bone that could of been there since 1994 when i originally injured it. Doc says he'll have me shooting my bow by August 15th. :)
Had mine done just over 3 years ago and was told that I would not be shooting for 3 months but therapy went so well that he told me I could start shooting after 10 weeks. Picked up my wife's bow first (35 pounder) it felt like a rubber band so I picked up my hunting Bow (70 pounder) and just pulled it right back no pain no problem. Those should strenghtening excerises really strenghten your shoulders, should be doing them all the time.
Bottom line listen to your Dr. and work hard at the therapy.
1 month out of surgery. Just working on the rotation that's about 70% now. Will start some resistance exercises for the first time in 6 weeks.
For guys who have had the RC surgery how long did you have dull pain at the surgical site? PT said it's common to have a dull pain for 8-10 weeks?
This type of info helped me as a bowhunter when I was faced with a full RC tear on my bow arm March 6th.
13.5 weeks out from surgery now. 34 days of going to physical therapy. Strengthening every other day for 7.5 weeks.
Physical Therapist cleared me today for gradually pulling/shooting 40# recurve. YES!!!
I will be ready for elk season.
FYI. Something I learned but never considered during my surgeon research:
Use reputable PT clinics as a solid reference for a surgeon. Ask the head of PT who they would have do the surgery if it were them. (Explain injury) Their therapists rehab all the best surgeon's patients and know who's patients recover from their injuries sooner. The surgeon spends 1-1.5 hours in surgery, the physical therapist and yourself spend 4 months together.
Hope this info helps.
I absolutely feel for anybody who has had shoulder pain and/or shoulder surgery. I separated by ac joint. A grade 3 separation. The doc first recommended letting it heal on its own. It healed up decent but I am a very active person so I opted to have surgery because my shoulder wasnt "all there" and there was still some pain. I also had a nasty bumb on my shoulder. They took a tendon from my leg and put it in my shoulder. Tomorrow (thursday) is the 12 week anneversary since my surgery. Full mobility was gained by week 6. I started resistant band exerecises a week and a half ago. I am cleared to start light lifting, which I will probably start monday. Might even go golfing tomorrow evening :o) Anyways good luck to anyone who has had a shoulder injury. It is absolutely MISERABLE.
Now shooting my compound bow at 58# with very little discomfort! Should be at 65# in 2 weeks. 4 months to the date from surgery I pulled a 54# compound back. This was exactly what my surgeon told me to expect with aggressive PT. Couldn't be happier.
I had it done 3 times in my Bow arm. Had them done in March and Shooting in AUG. and hunting in Oct. It will be GOOD YEAR til your normal.
I got released from the doctor on Aug.3rd. I'm back to working with no restrictions. The doctor did say to take it easy as it can take up 18 months to heal completely. I'm shooting my recurve with the 45lb limbs and my compound at 45lbs. Since I'm not going elk hunting this year I've got until Oct. to get the 55-60lbs I plan on hunting at so I'm in no hurry.
Jerry1cam- sounds good. you'll be there definitely by October. I was surprised at how fast I gained poundage once I had the strength to start shooting 35#'s.
I had a slight rotator cup rupture and bone spur occur while in Iraq in May 2008. Had surgery April 28 2010. Three incisions, one each on the front, side and back of shoulder. I am finished with PT but still have some slight pain and discomfort. I have begun to lift weights for additional strength and still working the flexibility. 90%. The doctor told me that I have no limitations but.....I can't seem to get up enough nerve to draw my bow....got to get the mind right I guess. I wll try this weekend. Good luck to all who have or have had the same.
Had shoulder ac joint and partial rc cuff surgery on Jan. 4th. Am shooting with no pain. Do have soreness when I sleep on that side (left). It's a long recovery but if you do "exactly" as the doc an PT tells you and no more and no less, you should be fine.
I shoot right handed and had a tear in the right labrum repaired late April (they cut through the rotator cuff to get there), plus some bone grinding for clearance on the AC joint. Still doing the recovery on my own, no PT yet. Plan is to be in the woods for bow season opener in 4 weeks!!
Plan A is to crank my bow back to 50 lbs. Plan B is to use my sons bow cranked back even lighter!
First two months was nothing but range of motion. Now I am doing some light cable and machine exercises.
Gonna be cutting it close....
OB- If you're not already, I'd start by pulling a 40# recurve not a compound. With a recurve or a long bow you can pull back as far as you want and let down. Build strength this way. It's all or nothing on a compound.
I've got some small tears according to my Dr and I have been doing the rubber band exercises since about March, along with a lot of ibuprofen. Shot for the first time today. My 70# single cam really hurt. I cranked it down, its a little better. Going to shoot a few arrows every day for the next month and see how it goes.