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Anyone ride after shoulder surgery - advice

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Anyone ride after shoulder surgery - advice

Old 12-09-21, 01:27 PM
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JerseyShore
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Anyone ride after shoulder surgery - advice

Hello,

just had a rotator surgery and labrum surgery combo done plus reset the shoulder back in socket.

can’t ride until end of May

Question - should I get a redshift - go specialized future shock ? Or Grizl ?

I’m 50 - do 60-100 + miles per week depending.

Concerned about going rigid again.

thx
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Old 12-09-21, 01:46 PM
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Are you concerned about making a full recovery?

I had a non-cycling accident at the end of July, tore the sucscap (the BIG rotator cuff muscle in front) completely off the bone. Six weeks later had 3 1/2 hour surgery to reattach the subscap and relocate the bicep tendon. Was able to ride the trainer up until surgery, and again after 6 weeks. 12 weeks out from surgery my numbers on the trainer are where they were a year ago (in other words, very good) and I’m back riding outdoors. Surgeon says it’s likely I’ll be completely back to normal in another month or two. So, it can be doneif you pay attention to the doc, do your PT and don’t pish it too hard too early.

And I’m 70, ride about 6,000 miles a year on pavement and gravel.
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Old 12-09-21, 02:48 PM
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Back in 1995 I blew out my left rotator cuff - bad T-shaped tear, out of socket, could not even lift the arm. I waas 55 at the time. Surgeon that did repair was an excellent sports medicine specialist that worked with colleges. I spent 6 weeks with the arm strapped down, six weeks in a sling, then 6 weeks of physical therapy.

I got back 95% of full motion. No major issues, strength is fine even 28 years later. It had no effect on my riding, still riding about 75-80 miles a week until winter sets in. No residual pain, no issues with shock from handlebars, etc.

The doc stressed that the secret to a good recovery is to be very diligent in the PT rehab process. It was no fun - the first session left me in a cold sweat and shaking! It gradually got easier and was well worth the effort to get the arm back. Doc was highly pleased with the outcome - and so was I!

Good luck on your recovery!
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Old 12-09-21, 03:10 PM
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You should expect a full recovery. Go to the physical therapy that you probably were told to start at some point after getting over the surgery. Do everything the DPT tells you to do. Did the surgeon tell you it was too damaged to fix or are you just imagining you'll be less than 100%?
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Old 12-09-21, 03:13 PM
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I can empathize with you. I have had both shoulders repaired due to bike and skiing crashes. My left shoulder was operated on a year ago. I am now just getting most of the range and strength back.

I ride drop bar bikes, with rigid forks. My touring bikes are set up with the seat about level with the bars. After both surgeries I was on the trainer as soon as the doctor gave me the OK , about 6 weeks. My first shoulder repair was the most serious and was done in March and I started back riding seriously in May. In July My wife and I went on a tour of the Selkirk loop in Idaho, and BC, Canada. That fall, 6 months after the surgery, we did a 1,000 mile tour from Oregon to Southern California. I was riding a lot and training for the fall tour once I got out on the road in May. A year after my first surgery we rode a 2,000 mile tour across 6 European countries. My point is not to brag, but to illustrate that the shoulder is fully functional after it heals. I was 71 and 77 years old for the respective surgeries. I've also had several more bike and ski crashes since the first surgery, and the shoulder is still in good shape.

Installing cyclocross interrupter brakes on my bike was one of the things that helped me during rehab. This allowed me to ride a little more upright while still being able to reach the brakes, and take some of the weight off of my shoulder. I liked the brakes so much that they are still on the bike.


My thoughts, FWIW are:
  • Work hard at the PT.
  • Keep up the advanced PT exercises 5 time a week combining it with weight training after the PT person releases you. I'm still doing this on the shoulder that was repaired 6 years ago. Actually, I'm doing it on both shoulders now
  • Go slowly on rehab, it is a marathon not a sprint, but work on it as hard as you can, within reason.
  • An honest surgeon will tell you it will take at least a year for the shoulder to feel "normal".
  • I don't think a suspension fork or suspension steering tube is necessary.
Good luck on your recovery

Last edited by Doug64; 12-09-21 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 12-09-21, 03:21 PM
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I had rotator cuff surgery in March of 2018 and was back on the bike much faster than I was supposed to. Full recovery took a really long time but in the end, my shoulder was better than new.

I just broke the scapula and clavicle on the same shoulder 3 months ago (along with 5 ribs, trochanter, humerus, and elbow

I had to get the weight off the bars, so, I put a Nitto Moustache bar on giving me a very upright position. The frame is a flexible steel one and 650B tires at 45 psi. I wish I could say it is fun. But the PT and Surgeon are amazed with my progress. So, I would say push it a little but listen to your medical people. I think aerobic activity helps the healing process. The ideal for you would be a recumbent trainer indoors. That also helped me last time
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Old 12-09-21, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
You should expect a full recovery. Go to the physical therapy that you probably were told to start at some point after getting over the surgery. Do everything the DPT tells you to do. Did the surgeon tell you it was too damaged to fix or are you just imagining you'll be less than 100%?
This

I've had impingement surgery as well as rotator cuff repair, 2 separate surgeries, now need 3rd as a snip of a torn bicep tendon (they don;t repair at my age of mid 60's). My past surgeries I was diligent at doing PT, but was lucky with good healthcare to cover the sessions. PT makes the difference and in both cases I was back and road riding 2 weeks after, pain tolerant. I was NOT mt. biking or swimming, that took a few more weeks.
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Old 12-09-21, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by JerseyShore View Post
Hello,

just had a rotator surgery and labrum surgery combo done plus reset the shoulder back in socket.

can’t ride until end of May

Question - should I get a redshift - go specialized future shock ? Or Grizl ?

I’m 50 - do 60-100 + miles per week depending.

Concerned about going rigid again.

thx
Get your range back.

Then strength is your friend. Especially your back muscles!
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Old 12-09-21, 06:43 PM
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I broke my should after a crash and had 5 surgeries to completely repair it. Had a lot of physical therapy, but have never had any issues with it when I start back riding. I always joke with my wife, that I am the 6 million dollar shoulder, they can rebuild it, make stronger, faster.... . Finding the correct PT guy was key, he was painful, but I regained 99% of my range and strength. I still have some nerve issues as as the nerves got tangled around some of the bone fragments as they grew back, but not a whole lot I can do about that. Only bothers me if you were to do a shoulder rub or something like that, else no issues.

I do not see a need for any suspension being needed for your issue.
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Old 12-09-21, 07:24 PM
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JerseyShore
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
You should expect a full recovery. Go to the physical therapy that you probably were told to start at some point after getting over the surgery. Do everything the DPT tells you to do. Did the surgeon tell you it was too damaged to fix or are you just imagining you'll be less than 100%?
This is me being protective.

I did this mTb - otb …

so my mind is thinking about a lot here
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Old 12-09-21, 11:48 PM
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Some incredible stories here and ages ! 70? Damn that’s inspiring- I’m 50 and I want to ride when I’m 70 too.

Some great advice - thank you for clearing my brain .

right now it feels like I’m never getting on a bike again but I know that’ll change .

5 months off the bike is killer but I’ll get thru it .

I just bought an ifit bike
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Old 12-09-21, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
I can empathize with you. I have had both shoulders repaired due to bike and skiing crashes. My left shoulder was operated on a year ago. I am now just getting most of the range and strength back.

I ride drop bar bikes, with rigid forks. My touring bikes are set up with the seat about level with the bars. After both surgeries I was on the trainer as soon as the doctor gave me the OK , about 6 weeks. My first shoulder repair was the most serious and was done in March and I started back riding seriously in May. In July My wife and I went on a tour of the Selkirk loop in Idaho, and BC, Canada. That fall, 6 months after the surgery, we did a 1,000 mile tour from Oregon to Southern California. I was riding a lot and training for the fall tour once I got out on the road in May. A year after my first surgery we rode a 2,000 mile tour across 6 European countries. My point is not to brag, but to illustrate that the shoulder is fully functional after it heals. I was 71 and 77 years old for the respective surgeries. I've also had several more bike and ski crashes since the first surgery, and the shoulder is still in good shape.

Installing cyclocross interrupter brakes on my bike was one of the things that helped me during rehab. This allowed me to ride a little more upright while still being able to reach the brakes, and take some of the weight off of my shoulder. I liked the brakes so much that they are still on the bike.


My thoughts, FWIW are:
  • Work hard at the PT.
  • Keep up the advanced PT exercises 5 time a week combining it with weight training after the PT person releases you. I'm still doing this on the shoulder that was repaired 6 years ago. Actually, I'm doing it on both shoulders now
  • Go slowly on rehab, it is a marathon not a sprint, but work on it as hard as you can, within reason.
  • An honest surgeon will tell you it will take at least a year for the shoulder to feel "normal".
  • I don't think a suspension fork or suspension steering tube is necessary.
Good luck on your recovery
that is incredible - I hope you documented your journey (s) - 71 & 77! Damn
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Old 12-10-21, 01:19 AM
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I have recent experience with both rotator cuff surgery and Shockstop stems.

I had rotator cuff, etc. surgery early March of 2020, just before the pandemic halted most elective procedures. I stayed off the two wheeler until given the go-ahead by the doctor, whatever benchmark he had for "fully healed / as strong as it could be", which was about 3-4 months post op (I had the sling on for 6 weeks, then another couple of months healing and PT. I just followed whatever the surgeon said, but really can't remember too clearly the exact timeline, sometime in the middle of the summer.

Anyway, before the snow melted and while I still had the splint, I walked many, many very hilly miles (150 miles in April alone). When the snow melted, I bought a recumbent "tadpole" type trike. I bought a Performer brand which is a decent quality "real" recumbents (as opposed to the $200 ones with grocery baskets on them). It had free shipping cost and came unassembled, so that gave me a fun project. It was fun riding the trike and giving it a try. I did hit 40mph downhill on a curvy smooth paved road! Uphill it was a real PITA.

Anyway, I rode the trike for a couple of months after I got the sling off, and then got on the bike and sold the recumbent for just a few hundred $ less than it cost. Worth it for a couple months use and to try that sort of ride. If it hadn't been snowy and icy in March and most of April, I might have ridden the trike with the sling on, but as it worked out, researching, purchasing, receiving, assembling and waiting for the ice to melt got me past the sling phase before I got on the trike.

Once I got on the bike, frankly, I didn't feel nor haven't felt any discomfort or stress on the shoulder. Before the surgery, I couldn't raise the arm to signal a turn, but it didn't really cause any discomfort other than that. Afterwards I can ride and signal turns without appreciable pain or limitation. The risk was falling and damaging the shoulder repair before it reached the benchmark where the doctor felt the repair fully healed and strong which is why I was conservative. Not that it couldn't be hurt, but no more "fragile" than a healthy shoulder.

I do use a Redshift shock stop stem on my gravel bike and am thinking of getting a couple more for my road bikes. Not for the shoulder - I really don't think they contribute meaningfully to shoulder comfort. But I have arthritic elbows due to old injuries which actually can get painful sometimes when I'm riding, and the Shockstop does help with that, especially on chip seal and gravel.
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Old 12-10-21, 07:03 AM
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Back in 2012, at age 55, I had a complete thickness full tear of my rotator cuff. When they did an MRI that finally figured that out the surgeons I went to said "Oooh, and there is retraction, too" which meant the torn ends had pulled back, making repair even harder. Oh, and in compensating I had sawn through my biceps muscle (a common thing) and that had to be sewn up, too.

Successful surgery, got back full range of motion but not full strength, and 9 years later I'm going miles of outdoor (mostly road) cycling each year.

The surgeon I chose told me something that stayed with me. He said "What I did was essentially sew two pieces of pinky-thick spaghetti back together - pretty easy for that to tear out. But over time, scar tissue builds up and two things happen: (1) you will probably have a "noisy" shoulder (I do); and (2) the scar tissue makes the connection much stronger."

Then, the part that stuck with me: "This coming year is the only time that scar tissue has a chance of forming - you have all the years after that to cycle. And, the most common way for the surgery to fail is if you fall and that arm/shoulder takes the weight of the fall." He said it wasn't likely I was going to hit a bump in the road and damage it - but if that bump threw me off the bike, different story. Mountain biking may be a different story, I'd ask the surgeon.

For a year, I only did indoor cycling or rail trail riding with my wife. Since then, many miles of cycling with one road rash incident that didn't cause damage to the repair.

So, my advice is err on the side of caution in choosing activities/routes/trails where you might end up on the ground and ask if you need to worry about the arm/handlebar shock load.
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Old 12-10-21, 08:42 AM
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I'm following this thread with some interest as I was diagnosed with a torn labrum ~20 years ago and didnt have enough time to devote to recovery. I just gave up on rock-climbing and pull-ups.

Ive recently added about 20km of indoor rowing to my weekly exercise as the winter approaches and am beginning to feel that old ache in my shoulder.

My recollection from 20 years ago was that the surgeon said recovery would be considerably shorter if he could repair the tear arthroscopically (sp?), longer if he had to open the shoulder up. I wonder if anyone knows whether techniques have changed/improved in the intervening 2 decades? Sounds like shoulders still take a long time to heal.
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Old 12-10-21, 12:35 PM
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Biologically, nothing has changed- you get cut, you have to heal just like before.
But they can do almost everything arthro these days, which really speed up the healing process so you can get right into PT.
Mine was major- a very large cut in front to reattach the subscap and three small arthro incisions to do the bicep tendon and some cleanup work while they were in there.
The small incision work healed up quickly- small cuts. The big work takes longer to mend cuz larger cuts.
Even so, was in PT five days after surgery, twice weekly since then. A lot of folks would consider things done and done at this point.
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Old 12-10-21, 01:07 PM
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I wouldn't do anything at this point other than the physical therapy. I am 59 and have had 5 major shoulder surgeries. Following each one, I had to work my way back to being comfortable on my bike. I got there. My shoulder is so trashed that I'll never be pain free, but I can still enjoy cycling on all of my different bikes. Relax!
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Old 12-10-21, 01:23 PM
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I just want to reiterate what others have indicated above — Work hard at your PT, and don’t really do any more than what the doctor and PTs allow you. I had a torn rotator cuff (Supraspinatus) repaired when I was about 52 (I’m 60 now). Post-op, about all I was allowed to do outside of PT was stationary cycle…mostly on a recumbent (lots of reading and listening to music during that). I also swim and run a lot. Obviously the swimming was out. I asked if I could run (jog) on the treadmill while in the sling, and holding onto the rail with my good arm/hand. The doc said that the healing process at the injury repair is so sensitive that the slight bouncing up and down of my surgical arm while jogging would cause lots of little micro tears in the muscle where the suture was made, and result in lots of unwanted scar tissue. He said it wouldn’t cause trouble (e.g. pain) in a year, or even five years. But eventually it would…and probably require another surgery. AND…as I’m sure you’ve already discovered…recovery from rotator cuff surgery is a b!tch. Not something I want to go through again. Just hang in there and do recovery the way the professionals are telling you. You’ll be better in the long run. As I said…I also swim a lot. I’d kinda thought my days of ‘fast’ swimming were behind me. But once I was allowed to resume swimming…I was eventually swimming faster times than prior to my injury. Good luck.

Dan
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Old 12-11-21, 06:19 PM
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Never had shoulder surgery, but my advice on orthopedists (based on personal experience) is to call up the local professional sports teams, and/or colleges with big time athletic teams and get the same of their shoulder, or knee, or back, what ever, guy and go see him. He will be top notch and will be used to patients for whom curtailing activity is not on the table.
Good luck.
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Old 12-11-21, 07:20 PM
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I had full shoulder replacement with a metal ball . It’s called a Ream and Run. You have to work hard to rehabilitate it, and some of its painful. Google “Dr. Frederick Masten, UW” . Prior to the surgery my left arm was really useless. The cartilage was all gone. I rode my bike mostly with my right arm . When I pulled up to the drive through I had to unlatch my seatbelt and use my right arm.
Two years later. I barely notice it .A couple of times I broke a fall with both arms. The coolest thing was when I was painting my house, I had to stretch my left arm like a gymnast to reach a funny spot and swivel it to handle the brush.
Boy what a miracle. A plastic shoulder would not have been very useful.
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Old 12-12-21, 02:37 AM
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Originally Posted by force10 View Post
I'm following this thread with some interest as I was diagnosed with a torn labrum ~20 years ago and didnt have enough time to devote to recovery. I just gave up on rock-climbing and pull-ups.

Ive recently added about 20km of indoor rowing to my weekly exercise as the winter approaches and am beginning to feel that old ache in my shoulder.

My recollection from 20 years ago was that the surgeon said recovery would be considerably shorter if he could repair the tear arthroscopically (sp?), longer if he had to open the shoulder up. I wonder if anyone knows whether techniques have changed/improved in the intervening 2 decades? Sounds like shoulders still take a long time to heal.
YES, improvements have been made with joint repair and replacement.

2016 I had a complete right shoulder replacement at age 66. My Doctor was the Cincinnati Reds Team Ortho for 11 years. Shoulder was installed on Monday. Tuesday I saw the PT at which time the sling was removed, inspection made, directions given about allowable movement AND confirmation that I could get back on my bicycle the following day for an easy ride. I waited until Thursday and biked 10 miles without issue. Six weeks later I rode Six Gap Century of 103 miles and 11,000' climbing. Replacement heals quicker than repair. July 4th this year a bike mishap caused a left shoulder MINOR ROTATOR CUFF tear. I am still nursing that injury with my riding abilities still compromised.

IMO, one should do as was mentioned earlier in THREAD, seek out a very experienced ORTHO with PROFESSIONAL sports injury background.
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Old 12-13-21, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
YES, improvements have been made with joint repair and replacement.

2016 I had a complete right shoulder replacement at age 66. My Doctor was the Cincinnati Reds Team Ortho for 11 years. Shoulder was installed on Monday. Tuesday I saw the PT at which time the sling was removed, inspection made, directions given about allowable movement AND confirmation that I could get back on my bicycle the following day for an easy ride. I waited until Thursday and biked 10 miles without issue. Six weeks later I rode Six Gap Century of 103 miles and 11,000' climbing. Replacement heals quicker than repair. July 4th this year a bike mishap caused a left shoulder MINOR ROTATOR CUFF tear. I am still nursing that injury with my riding abilities still compromised.

IMO, one should do as was mentioned earlier in THREAD, seek out a very experienced ORTHO with PROFESSIONAL sports injury background.
Remarkable that replacement is so much quicker to heal.

I have somebody in mind for the surgery.
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Old 12-13-21, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by force10 View Post
Remarkable that replacement is so much quicker to heal.

I have somebody in mind for the surgery.
Many doctors still advocate an extended time frame for replacement healing.
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Old 12-13-21, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
Never had shoulder surgery, but my advice on orthopedists (based on personal experience) is to call up the local professional sports teams, and/or colleges with big time athletic teams and get the same of their shoulder, or knee, or back, what ever, guy and go see him. He will be top notch and will be used to patients for whom curtailing activity is not on the table.
Good luck.
Yes, get an actual specialist in shoulders if you can. That's what I did. My town has fine general orthopedists. While I'd never heard any complaints about their shoulder work, I had the opportunity to get mine done at a medical center where the ortho group served the various local major pro league teams. My guy did nothing but shoulders and elbows. Would I have been perfectly happy with the local generalists? Most likely yes. But given the opportunity to have an actual shoulder specialist do it, why wouldn't anyone do that?
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Old 12-14-21, 06:59 AM
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jpescatore
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
Never had shoulder surgery, but my advice on orthopedists (based on personal experience) is to call up the local professional sports teams, and/or colleges with big time athletic teams and get the same of their shoulder, or knee, or back, what ever, guy and go see him. He will be top notch and will be used to patients for whom curtailing activity is not on the table..
I got opinions from 4 surgeons, including one who was the Johns Hopkins sports team shoulder specialist. After showing all of them the MRI shot and talking to them, I took two off my list because they seemed kind of awe of the MRI ("Wow, that's a big tear!" "Hmmmm....") I chose the JHU guy for several reasons (one was I found an article from some East Coast magazine "What surgeon do surgeons go to?" and he was the one shoulder surgeons went to) but the fact that he talked to me in terms of returning to all my athletic activities vs. just having a successful surgery was the deal maker. Turned out to be a good decision.
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