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Dislocated my (other) shoulder

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Several years ago I dislocated my right shoulder skiing backcountry. After several additional dislocations I had successful labral repair in '97 and that shoulder has been rock solid.

2 years ago I subluxed the left (non-operative). The other day it dislocated completely during a hard fall. I had my wife gather my skis, and then skied to the bottom of Vail, picked up my skis with my "good" shoulder and walked to the ER where the kind doc reduced it for me. Been there, done that

I had my shoulder surgeon, who is a good friend, FedEx me a shoulder stabilizer brace and after a few days of snowshoeing, I enjoyed a foot of fresh on Vail today - despite the soreness.

So....another surgery is coming up, followed by 6 weeks of immobilization and then PT.

I know the game, I know the score, and i know what I'm looking at. Am dealing with it pretty well - all things considered - and I just figured I'd use the forum as my shrink.

I hope everyone else has a safe & happy season :) Happy new year and stay safe out there.
Edited by The Squeaky Wheel - 12/31/09 at 4:32pm
post #2 of 22
That sucks man, I know the feeling.  I did my right shoulder about 10 years ago, skiing in NM.  I got it fixed after a few more dislocations, and wouldn't want to go through it again.

Good luck.
post #3 of 22
Dislocated my left in January 09 at Jackson Hole. The clinic at the base reduced the dislocation and a follow-ups with a local ortho surgeon did not indicate need for surgical repair. I know it will never be as stable. When you ski, falling on it is only a matter of time and how hard the blow.
 
I keep wondering about how to gameplan this years skiing in difficult terrain which I have not had access to yet. Sitting out most of a season let's one appreciate how good it is just to be on skis.

Good luck and speedy  recovery.
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post

Dislocated my left in January 09 at Jackson Hole. The clinic at the base reduced the dislocation and a follow-ups with a local ortho surgeon did not indicate need for surgical repair. I know it will never be as stable. When you ski, falling on it is only a matter of time and how hard the blow.
 
I keep wondering about how to gameplan this years skiing in difficult terrain which I have not had access to yet. Sitting out most of a season let's one appreciate how good it is just to be on skis.

Good luck and speedy  recovery.

I do recommend a shoulder stabilizer brace. It likely won't do much in a direct hit to the humerus in a high velocity fall, but it will help prevent dislocation from an external rotation movement and provides good proprioceptive input (read: reminds you that a problem exists). Biggest downfall is that it's bulky neoprene so it gets hot, and it's restrictive - by design.

http://www.ortho-net.com/brg/shoulder_stabilizer.htm

post #5 of 22
Squeaky,
Thanks for your thoughts. I have this dream, perhaps a foolish one, that I can ski as in the past. This year, part of the plan is just to make better decisions as I should not have been where I was. Plus my overall conditioning is better. I simply hope to be one of the skiing community who continues with a weak body part. Time will tell.

My memories of the fall are vague, but, I had a direct shoulder to snow contact and even wearing that brace would not have helped. Limiting upper arm movement seems like a good idea, but, I wonder if locking in the arm does subject the body to other injuries.

Would you wear that device on the outside of a ski jacket?
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Proof,

I share your dream.

Agreed, that device won't do anything for a direct hit on the shoulder, which is how my recent injury happened. But once that injury happens, dislocation can occur with external rotation or abduction and the brace prevents both. Also, my shoulder surgeon has instructed me to wear it, and so I am.

Then again, he told me to wear it on my right following surgery on that joint 2 years ago and I never did after the first year.

Injuries happen. It's inherent to the sport we choose. I was not doing anything out of the ordinary when my recent accident happened. It was just a hard fall at speed because I failed to recognize a change in terrain in flat light - nobody's fault but my own.

I wear mine under the shell. It's not so bad when cold out, bur murder in warmer spring temps.

My MRI is Thursday. Surgery is inevitable. The joint is farqued. I'll ski another 5-10 days with the brace and am scheduled for repair in early Feb.

Oh well.........
post #7 of 22
I had my first hard fall involving my shoulder today. Fell heavily on it and it passed the test fine. Not quite the direct blow that damaged it originally. It's a milestone worth passing and more than a little relief to have a solid blow behind me.

I was walking into the ski lodge and new outside paver flooring was installed outside the doors. The stone surface was like a hockey rink and my feet went right out. It's amazing that there is rubber flooring leading right to the doors, but the last 2 steps are a very slick material. Go figure.

Did a minor rant with the mountains management. Two people did the same thing a little earlier.

SW, Good recovery to ya! Keep us informed with your progress.
post #8 of 22
Sorry to hear about the shoulder, but are you sure you need surgery?
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by seattle_sun View Post

Sorry to hear about the shoulder, but are you sure you need surgery?

Well, this type of surgery is always "optional" in the sense that it is not life-saving.

However, the labrum is torn in multiple places and I have a very large Hill-Sachs defect - and that was on MRI 3 years ago when I first dislocated it. I survived that interval without dislocation until my fall on Dec 26, but that one was a doozy and was the first time I required manipulative reduction by another person. My MRI is this afternoon so I'll know more shortly.

Having said that......I know from past experience on my other shoulder that once the second dislocation begins to happen (combined with the damage to the labrum), it's just going to occur with more and more frequency. Plus, it hurts like hell. And I do a lot of backcountry stuff both on snow and on my bike and I'm fearful of getting into trouble in a remote scenario.

I have a superb Ortho here in CO who is a very experienced  dedicated sports- shoulder guy and I trust him fully. I'm also a physician so I'm not exactly going into it blind.

Sure, I could not do surgery and take my chances but I think the risk for recurrent dislocation and further damaging the joint is huge and my philosophy is that I'd rather get it taken care of proactively and be done with the rehab so I can salvage something of my bike season.

Besides, the snow here in Colorado really sucks this year. Definitely the worst I've seen in my 20+ years skiing Vail.

Of course, contrary opinions to the above are welcome. I'm not that hard-headed
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Got my MRI.

Yeah, I definitely need surgery. The labrum is carnage.
post #11 of 22
I feel your pain TSW  I dislocated my left side really bad in a fall last Tuesday.  I hit a chunk of ice and it popped my downhill ski off.  I was going pretty fast, and when I went down, I had my arm out straight.  Duh!  I tried getting it back in on the hill, but no luck.  At the er they tried with me awake but the spasms were so bad that I was in really bad shape by then and they had to put me out.  I dislocated this same shoulder when I was 8 months pregnant 16 years ago and have to have it repaired a year later because just turning my blinker on in my car was causing it to dislocate.

  I haven't seen an ortho yet, because I don't want my season to be over, but it has now popped out twice in the last 4 days.  After reading your post, I guess I need to get my stubborn butt to an ortho doc to have it looked at.  Maybe he'll let me just use one of those stabilizer braces until ski season is over.   I'll cross my fingers.  Thanks for the info.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Good luck Snowmiser.

My best advice is to find an Ortho specializing in shoulders. I'm fortunate to have a very good one here in No Colorado who also happens to be a close friend.

I've skied several days with the brace since dislocating. I have 7 days in Snowmass followed by 2 more days in Vail coming up, then I'm off to repair so I can at least salvage half of my summer bike season.

This is the year to do it here in Colorado. It's the worst snow in 25 years.

ps: For the record, my Ortho advised me not to ski, but I'm hardheaded that way :)
post #13 of 22
I'm pretty stubborn myself TSW!  I've re-dislocated my shoulder 4 more times now since the original injury, but I'm still teaching and skiing.  It's not going out on the hill that dislocates it, but doing simple stuff like grabbing a glass out of the cabinet or getting laundry out of the dryer that keeps popping it out.  I see an orthopedic doc specializing in shoulders on Monday.  I'm hoping he's a skier, because I'm not really ready to give up on the season.  When I'm on the hill, I just keep a belt around my arm to my torso to keep it in place.  The ski patrollers cringe when they see me go by.  :D
post #14 of 22
TSW

I just dislocated my right shoulder for the second time yesterday at Breck.  The skiing was fantastic (the best of the year so far).  I hit a submerged log in the trees -- saw the telltale signs of a rotted log at the last instance and it was too late to do anything.  I lost both skis and slammed  my body along the length of the log, resulting in a dislocation.  The real bummer was that I missed the rest of a great day of skiing, but there's more to be had once I heal.

I'm supposed to go to Aspen the weekend after next to ski with Jim Schanzenbaker.  I can't recall how long I was out of commission last time. Is it realistic to think that I might be able to be back on the slopes in two weeks?  Perhaps the brace can help out...

Mike
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

TSW

I just dislocated my right shoulder for the second time yesterday at Breck.  The skiing was fantastic (the best of the year so far).  I hit a submerged log in the trees -- saw the telltale signs of a rotted log at the last instance and it was too late to do anything.  I lost both skis and slammed  my body along the length of the log, resulting in a dislocation.  The real bummer was that I missed the rest of a great day of skiing, but there's more to be had once I heal.

I'm supposed to go to Aspen the weekend after next to ski with Jim Schanzenbaker.  I can't recall how long I was out of commission last time. Is it realistic to think that I might be able to be back on the slopes in two weeks?  Perhaps the brace can help out...

Mike

 
sorry to hear that Mike. It's hard for me to say whether you can/should ski again in 2 weeks. The risk for redislocation in the immediate aftermath is high.  I was skiing again within 6 days with my restriction brace described above, but it was against medical advice and knowing that I was going in for surgery. Your mileage may vary.

If you are interested in the name of a superb shoulder surgeon up here in Ft.Collins, drop me a PM.

ps: I had my reconstruction a week ago today. Hasn't been the best week but I'm turning the corner. Unfortunately, I damaged the posterior articular surface of the humeral head, which means I'll likely get osteoarthritis in that shoulder as the years go by. Big bummer.
post #16 of 22
Thanks, I appreciate it.  See the orthopod this afternoon.  He is well regarded here, and did both of my wife's shoulders.  He has also dealt with my prior dislocations of both shoulders.

Mike
post #17 of 22

I just hurt my rotator cuff, didn't dislocate my shoulder but just read this thread.

 

Something that I recently had explained to me is that when you're younger (say in your 20's) a dislocation makes the likelihood of another one about 80% likely, it will come out pretty easy the second time.

 

When you get older apparently this reduces to a 20% chance because all the tendons are tougher, stiffer and thus tighter around the head of the humeris.


Edited by SkiMangoJazz - 12/23/10 at 11:07am
post #18 of 22

How do you think a brace like this would compare?  It's a lot cheaper.

 

http://www.amazon.com/EVS-Shoulder-Brace-Small-SB03BK-S/dp/B001E9F5PQ/ref=pd_sbs_hpc_5

post #19 of 22
That doesnt look substantial enough to bother with. The one I got does not allow your arm to rise above your shoulder. The amazon thing wouldn't prevent that motion in a fall.
post #20 of 22

agreed, this one looks better,http://www.braceshop.com/productcart/pc/DonJoy-Sully-Shoulder-Stabilizer-55p1877.htm

 

but I think the Breg looks the most specific for abductor movements.

post #21 of 22

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post

I just hurt my rotator cuff, didn't dislocate my shoulder but just read this thread.

 

Something that I recently had explained to me is that when you're younger (say in your 20's) a dislocation makes the likelihood of another one about 805 likely, it will come out pretty easy the second time.

 

When you get older apparently this reduces to a 20% chance because all the tendons are tougher, stiffer and thus tighter around the head of the humeris.


Yup, it's why it's too bad that I did my first dislocation at about 24.  3 more dislocations later (easier and easier each time) I decided to have surgery on it.  It just wasn't worth the hassle anymore.

post #22 of 22

Meant 80% of course, not 805, just edited the post.

 

I just ordered one of the Breg stabilizers new off ebay for $150.  Looks perfect for protecting against that flailing motion and I want to have it to show to the PT, not ask her what to get.  I want to ski 2 days after I see her if possible!

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