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Nasty Broken Shoulder!

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Nasty Broken Shoulder!

Old 01-12-19, 07:48 PM
  #1  
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Nasty Broken Shoulder!

Boy, weve had a bad run at the house. My son had a ladder come out from under him at work in June and dislocated his shoulder. I crashed my bike in August and broke my hip. My wife tripped and fell hiking last Sunday and suffered a dislocated and severely fractured humerus. She underwent surgery Monday to do the repairs.



At least Im recovered well enough from the hip replacement to now play caregiver to her. Shes doing well post surgery but the surgeon has her arm in a swing with very limited movement of the arm, making sure it doesnt dislocate while recovering. Im learning to do a few things she normally did plus help with some basic care. I cut my first pineapple and made my first quiche this morning!!

Its probably going to be a while until I can take the time to do those 60-70 mile rides again. At least I got one ride in on the new bike! In fact I was out riding it last Sunday when my wife called me to let me know shed fallen and I suggested she go to the ER. I was 25+ miles from the house when she called so I rode a lot harder than Id planned to racing back home.

At least my son was with her and got her back to the car. They hiked down the trail to a road about 1/4 mile away. Then He flagged down a driver and got a ride back to the car that was about 5 miles away.

It sounds like its a pretty long recovery for a shoulder injury?? Were hoping the blood flow will reestablish in the ball to avoid a replacement. Well probably know for sure in 4-5 months. My wife has been traveling to my daughters house 2 hours away to keep one of our grands for 3 days a week. Her mom went into the hospital over New Years with heart issues but was back home. My wife was playing caretaker for her Mom along with her sister. The purpose of the hike was for some mental release from her responsibilities. Oh well.....
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Old 01-12-19, 08:16 PM
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Yikes. That was a bad break, pardon the pun. My shoulder injury last year broke only the coracoid process, a small finger sized and shaped bone that supports some of the shoulder. There was a grade 4 separation. Pretty painful for several weeks, especially when trying to sleep. Injury occurred early in May and it was mid-September before it really felt better. Hard lesson in patience and perseverance in physical therapy -- I did most of my own at home, with occasional checkups by ortho and PT at the clinic. They said I was doing fine, but I got really impatient a few times.

In my case I stayed off the bike for 6 weeks (did a lot of fast walking around the neighborhood, 2-5 miles per day), then tried the road bike on a Cycelops indoor trainer in mid-June, and my first road rides in mid-July. Seemed like my conditioning was still pretty good.

But I still had a lot of shoulder discomfort. The drop bar road bike was aggravating the injury. So I switched to my hybrid and swapped out the riser bar and put in a Nitto albatross bar -- huge difference in comfort, and not much slower than the road bike. I stuck with the hybrid for a couple of months before trying the road bike again in October. By then the shoulder was finally doing better and I could sleep and roll over without much discomfort.

I didn't need prescription pain meds every day or night, but was glad to have them for bad nights. An anti-inflammatory injection in the shoulder over the summer helped, and I switched from massive doses of ibuprofen to twice daily smaller diclofenac pills, a more effective NSAID.

Stopain roll-on topical analgesic really helped too. It's mostly strong menthol with MSM to penetrate the skin to surface level joints and muscles. Helped for about an hour or so at a time. I used it before and after PT sessions. Any comparable topical analgesic will help, as long as it contains MSM (methyl-sulfonyl-methane) transdermal carrier to penetrate the skin. One type of Blue Emu and one or two types of Biofreeze contain MSM. So does Ted's Pain Cream, although Ted's takes longer to be effective -- up to 5 days. Stopain is the cheapest and works immediately so I stuck with it. It probably just fools the surface level nerves into not hurting for awhile, but that's good enough to get through physical therapy sessions.

Best wishes. And take care of yourself as well. It's easy for caregivers to fall into the trap of self-neglect -- not eating properly, getting enough rest, neglecting medical needs, etc. I did that for almost 20 years as caregiver for my grandmother, then mom. It all caught up with me last year when I ended up with thyroid cancer. I knew I had a thyroid problem -- the lump was noticeable but I thought it was just an ordinary goiter. I had surgery in November and and gradually beginning to feel stronger. But I hadn't been to a doctor in almost 20 years, so I was pretty much asking for trouble.
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Old 01-12-19, 08:21 PM
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Thread moved from 50+ to 50+ Pills and Ills.
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Old 01-12-19, 11:24 PM
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Gee.. so sorry to read about the injury. At least you are recovered enough to look after her. See the Addiction thread in the Road section to see what happened to Trsnrtr's wife not once but twice, and how she is recovering.
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Old 01-13-19, 03:06 AM
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@jppe sorry to hear about your wife. I hope she heals quickly and well.

You are a good husband.

Quiche is overrated.
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Old 01-13-19, 03:54 AM
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Wow, that's tough to see. At least she's in good hands. Best wishes and good healing to you all.
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Old 01-13-19, 09:10 AM
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Yikes. I guess we are all getting more fragile. :-( Her repair looks so much like my tibia repair ... I should have given you my hardware.

Did the doc say anything about soft tissue damage? I hope she avoided that ... bones heal pretty well, but soft tissue damage can be a much harder nut to crack.
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Old 01-13-19, 09:37 AM
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Ouch hope she recovers well.
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Old 01-13-19, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
Yikes. I guess we are all getting more fragile. :-( Her repair looks so much like my tibia repair ... I should have given you my hardware.

Did the doc say anything about soft tissue damage? I hope she avoided that ... bones heal pretty well, but soft tissue damage can be a much harder nut to crack.
Great question and one we were really concerned about. The surgeon said she was lucky as there wasnt any tissue damage such as the rotator cuff. That was at least one positive outcome. So for now were just hoping the bone heals and the blood flow returns.

Interestingly in the ER, they attempted to put it back in place and realign the bone to hopefully avoid surgery. Im no doctor but with that kind of fracture but after seeing the X-rays Im really surprised they even tried that. She was in even more pain after they tried it.

He did did talk about what a lengthy recovery it would be for this type of shoulder injury. Shell be in the sling for at least 3 months with very minimal movement during that period. Then just very minor improvements and movements for several more months. He said shed probably never be able to hold her arm straight up in the air again but he hoped to get her close to that over a long period.

Its interesting how long it takes us to get everything done in the mornings. Just the basic stuff.....I get her ready then get myself ready.

Shes currently doing minimal pain meds every 4 hours so at night I get up with her to help her get back in bed, change ice packs etc. Im not complaining at all, just an observation on whats required for basic stuff. Im sure anyone whose been a caregiver for family or friends can really elaborate.
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Old 01-13-19, 06:36 PM
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While I didn't have a severe break like that (just the coracoid process, which healed without surgery), my separation was about the same.

I thought I'd never regain flexibility in my right shoulder. For almost five months I was pretty much left handed. I figured if I got stopped by the police I'd be in trouble because I wouldn't be able to put my hands overhead, behind my head or behind my back.

But around mid-September, almost five months after the injury, it began improving. Now I have about 95% of the original range of motion. In the military parade rest position I can't quite match my right arm to my left. Ditto, hands behind the head. But I have almost full range of motion with little discomfort, although I need to warm up slowly before riding my bike or doing any serious exercises.

There's still a bit of a knobby lump and gap at the acromioclavicular joint, which the ortho docs say will be permanent. It aches every day, mostly in the middle of the night and morning, but eases after I'm up and moving around, and there's little pain when I'm exercising -- which is great. Just riding my bike or indoor trainer and getting the blood and brain chemicals flowing is a great analgesic and anti-anxiety treatment. But it can be a bit depressing to fall asleep feeling great and wake a few hours later with the same old aching again.

Anyway, with encouragement your wife's recovery should go well. It can be frustrating after awhile because it seems to take several weeks to feel any improvement. But in my case the shoulder felt better quickly after I noticed the first improvements a little over four months after the injury.

I think what I missed most wasn't being able to brush my teeth, comb my hair, putter in the kitchen, etc. -- all the stuff I was accustomed to doing right-handed. It was not being able to sleep on my right side. For months I had to prop myself up with pillows to prevent myself from rolling over onto the bad shoulder in my sleep -- that was excruciating. But by September I noticed I'd waked up a few times on my right shoulder and it was only a bit achy and stiff, but not agonizing pain. I still need to arrange a few pillows just right, including propping up my right hand and forearm with a thin pillow. But I usually fall asleep on my right side now -- the pressure on the shoulder actually feels good.

And I do a little stretching all day. Not full PT sessions, but at least once an hour I'll do a full range of motion and stretching. Only takes a minute or two. We probably should all do that anyway. But it's essential now.

And it's motivated me to improve my bike fit. I'd been accustomed to poor posture, hunching my shoulders and neck. But now I'm making lots of little adjustments when I find myself trying to force my body to fit the bike rather than the other way 'round.
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Old 01-15-19, 09:37 AM
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Sorry to hear! But good that your injuries, surgeries and recoveries/rehabs weren't simultaneous.
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Old 01-16-19, 11:46 AM
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So sorry to hear of your wife's accident. Blessings on an uneventful recovery. Take this time to re-establish your need for each other. Take precious care.
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Old 01-19-19, 10:10 AM
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I had a full tear in the supraspinatus tendon in my right shoulder last winter after a fall on wet ice, and a subsequent surgical repair, which is basically a neatly trimmed end to the tendon inserted into a groove they grind into the top of the humeral ball, and fastened with braided sutures and titanium anchors that help hold it until it attaches biologically and more strongly. I did 6 months of supervised PT after that, although after the first 3 mos it was less frequent. At first it was just gradual flexibility work, and then some very light but gradually ascending strengthening. Had to be very careful for the first year, no throwing a ball or casting a fishing rod even. Feel pretty good now though,just a little stray tenderness at times, but nothing like it felt when torn off. Both my surgeon and the physical the****** were very good, and I followed their advice to the letter, which I think was very helpful.

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Old 01-20-19, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by YankeeRider View Post

I had a full tear in the supraspinatus tendon in my right shoulder last winter after a fall on wet ice, and a subsequent surgical repair, which is basically a neatly trimmed end to the tendon inserted into a groove they grind into the top of the humeral ball, and fastened with braided sutures and titanium anchors that help hold it until it attaches biologically and more strongly. I did 6 months of supervised PT after that, although after the first 3 mos it was less frequent. At first it was just gradual flexibility work, and then some very light but gradually ascending strengthening. Had to be very careful for the first year, no throwing a ball or casting a fishing rod even. Feel pretty good now though,just a little stray tenderness at times, but nothing like it felt when torn off. Both my surgeon and the physical the****** were very good, and I followed their advice to the letter, which I think was very helpful.
Wow........crazy looking. What is the braided material made of?
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Old 01-22-19, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by jppe View Post
Wow........crazy looking. What is the braided material made of?
I am not sure, it looks like nylon, but it could be some other synthetic. They don't dissolve, and they and the anchors stay in there forever, but the biological "glue" that forms between the end of the tendon and the bone is supposed to eventually provide most of the strength of the repair, because the forces are spread across a lot larger area of the tendon with a kind of collagen / bone matrix that should grow in place over a few months of healing. I think of it this way - if you over stress the repair (prior to healing), the tendon will rip free from those sutures long before the sutures break or the deeply set titanium anchors pull out of the bone.

The product page for the anchors is here: https://www.depuysynthes.com/hcp/mit...-Suture-Anchor
...and I think they used the same company's sutures shown here: https://www.depuysynthes.com/hcp/mit...ic-Suture#tab1
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Old 01-25-19, 12:08 PM
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Do bad things happen in threes? I hope so. That means this run of bad luck is now behind you.
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