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Rotator Cuff revisited

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AliNouveau
AliNouveau Posts: 36,287 Member
Awhile ago probably September (my first diagnosis) I posted about torn rotator cuffs

Well I had an MRI last week and it shows that I still have this darn tear and now lists it as a high grade partial/near full thickness tear affecting it and another tendon from what I can figure out. I also have a small tear in one of the other tendons, so of the 4 tendons there I have 3 with some damage and then there's an area of concern with my bicep tendon for potential lateral tearing. No wonder I'm in constant pain.

I see my Dr on June 7th, that's the first appt he had available, but I just want to be prepared for whatever he might say. So has anyone had something like this? My family is convinced I'll need surgery and Dr. Google seems to imply I will need surgery. Also if anyone has had a full thickness tear what's it feel like? If the thread it's hanging on with happens to snap does this mean excruciating, black out kind of pain or just loss of mobility? I have a very high pain tolerance which is probably what got me to this point. I just hate being a burden on people to help me and I hate showing that something is bothering me.

On the plus side it says I have good muscle bulk, I've always had big shoulders so I guess that's a good thing.
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Replies

  • Phirrgus
    Phirrgus Posts: 1,894 Member
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    Yes, I had to have a full tear repair. I have a very high tolerance for pain as well, but that doesn't mean much in the face of the problems trying to live with a torn RC can cause long term.

    I was given a nerve block, the repair was done (all arthroscopic) and the cause of the impingement (bone growth) removed.

    If I can stress two things heavily - take your pain meds before the nerve block wears off. The second is to do everything you can to minimize movement of that arm until your follow up with the doc and he/she gives you clearance to start PT.

    My recovery went textbook, but I have to tell ya, it hurt like hell. have someone there to help you out and swallow your pride, let them.

    I was back at work 3 months to the day, but my doc wanted me out at least another month. I couldn't as the insurance company screwed my disability payments up badly and we needed that paycheck to avoid missing mortgage payments.

    I wish you well...
  • AliNouveau
    AliNouveau Posts: 36,287 Member
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    Thanks. I'm still hoping I don't need surgery. It's not quite a full tear although it feels weaker every day.

    My impingement comes from a downsloping acromion which I suspect is what has cause the tears.

    I've been doing physio to treat it and it's been working with my strength. I will keep that up so in case I need the surgery I'm in good shape.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,865 Member
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    Not me personally, but a co-worker of mine had similar...she tried to heal with time and PT, but ultimately things got worse and yes, she ended up requiring surgery.
  • AliNouveau
    AliNouveau Posts: 36,287 Member
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    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    Not me personally, but a co-worker of mine had similar...she tried to heal with time and PT, but ultimately things got worse and yes, she ended up requiring surgery.

    I don't like this story haha
    I have been doing physio since Sept and it's not better. I feel like I'm prolonging the inevitable
  • Phirrgus
    Phirrgus Posts: 1,894 Member
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    AliNouveau wrote: »
    Thanks. I'm still hoping I don't need surgery. It's not quite a full tear although it feels weaker every day.

    My impingement comes from a downsloping acromion which I suspect is what has cause the tears.

    I've been doing physio to treat it and it's been working with my strength. I will keep that up so in case I need the surgery I'm in good shape.

    Mine started with the impingement and was injured again between the MRI and the scheduled surgery - My best half tripped while we were walking and she grabbed my hand on that side on the way down :D Just a reaction ya know? Even so, the doc said I was much better off having it repaired...but if your Doc clears you with the PT, take it. I'm trying to keep from sounding overly dramatic, so lets just say I never, ever want to go through that again, ever lol.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,865 Member
    edited May 2019
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    AliNouveau wrote: »
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    Not me personally, but a co-worker of mine had similar...she tried to heal with time and PT, but ultimately things got worse and yes, she ended up requiring surgery.

    I don't like this story haha
    I have been doing physio since Sept and it's not better. I feel like I'm prolonging the inevitable

    It's always the best first option, but it doesn't always work. Another friend had the same with her knee...spent months doing PT and no improvement. She's an athlete and couldn't do her sport and they told her she probably never would again unless she had the surgery...she had it and now is fully recovered and back at it, though the recovery was rough and it took her almost a year to get back into full form.
  • sammidelvecchio
    sammidelvecchio Posts: 791 Member
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    I had a +60% rotator cuff tear, a torn labrum, a torn biceps tendon. I had a full reconstruction in 2010 and they repaired everything and also shaved bone. The first week after surgery was by far the hardest. The nausea, the pain, no sleeping unless you're knocked out on pain meds - its not fun. I started PT very quick, about a week after my surgery, and was back to work in about a month.

    If you have to have surgery, block out time for it and 100% as stated above have someone there to help you. I cut my hair even because I couldn't wash it. You can't take showers until your staples come out. I was living with my dad so it was a challenge for a lot of stuff I needed help with. Luckily some days my mom could come over, but things like putting on a bra and bathing were nearly impossible for a little while.

    I felt my labrum tear, and it hurt but not horribly. When I felt my rotator cuff tear (it was already torn @ 40%, and then i felt it tear to +60%) I won't lie it was pretty painful. I didn't black out, but I cried for sure.

    If you are in constant pain, surgery is probably the only option. Because I was a collegiate athlete and I needed to finish my senior season, I used prednisone and cortisone shots for about 9 months to get me through, but that was just a band aid. Good luck!
  • Chieflrg
    Chieflrg Posts: 9,097 Member
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    Depending how young you are its pretty common to have torn rotar cuff to one degree or another.

    I tore my RC as a pitcher in high school opted out if any surgery. Then tore it slightly again along with my labrum at the end of my career in football which I also opted out of surgery in my thirties.

    My flexibility isn't there compared to younger years but that's common in a male as we get older regardless. I have other health issues that cause progressive damage to my joints so I wouldn't hazard if I have pain at all from the tears or not.

    I will say once I began focusing on strict powerlifting movements and removed all the accessory movements that are typical bodybuilding lifts I feel much less pain or stiffness compared to years ago.

    I hope the best for you.
  • Gisel2015
    Gisel2015 Posts: 4,155 Member
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    I had two RC tears; one in each shoulder and they both needed full open surgery. They were not fun, specially the rehabilitation, but they were needed.

    No PT will repair tears in so many tendons, so admit that you will need surgery eventually, if you want to retain full mobility in your shoulder. Pain will not go away, just because you wish it. It’s the harsh true.

    My husband had problems in both shoulders as well; he had “some” PT and didn't want to f/up with surgeries; he never regained full range of motion in either of them. One day doing something stupid and not waiting for my help, he torn the short biceps’ tendon in his right arm. Instant pain, and black and blue all over his arm. Rushed to the ER and put on morphine to help him with the pain. Very little could be done after that because according to the doctor the surgery would be very involved and painful, and since he had too many tears in the other tendons the recovery would be long. Obviously, he has limitations now, cortisone shots once a year, and he had to say good-by to tennis.

    Take home lesson: the longer you wait, the worse your situation will be. PT will be painful and hard to endure after the surgery, but it will be worthy at the end. I wish you good luck.

  • AliNouveau
    AliNouveau Posts: 36,287 Member
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    Thanks everyone
    My background is doing a sport competitively which has probably contributed to the deterioration. I have hyper mobile joints so to most I'd appear to have no issues with range of motion but for me it's off I can't get into some positions.

    I kinda wanted to compete at a skating competition in January so if I could get away with injections until then that would be ideal. I just always think though one fall and that could be it. And btw I'm almost 46. I'ma t the age where tears and such are common however I know this is from years of abuse and "toughing it out". I spent two years ago in constant pain and it wasn't until I couldn't do planks or push ups i went and got help I'm stubborn
  • Phirrgus
    Phirrgus Posts: 1,894 Member
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    AliNouveau wrote: »
    Thanks everyone
    My background is doing a sport competitively which has probably contributed to the deterioration. I have hyper mobile joints so to most I'd appear to have no issues with range of motion but for me it's off I can't get into some positions.

    I kinda wanted to compete at a skating competition in January so if I could get away with injections until then that would be ideal. I just always think though one fall and that could be it. And btw I'm almost 46. I'ma t the age where tears and such are common however I know this is from years of abuse and "toughing it out". I spent two years ago in constant pain and it wasn't until I couldn't do planks or push ups i went and got help I'm stubborn

    I get it, seriously. It wasn't until I realized that the relatively short recovery time not doing anything far outweighed the potential time I would live with not being able to do anything.

    I'm stubborn as hell..it got me nowhere ;) Just about at 60 by the way, and within 6-8 months after I was almost back at my regular activities...pain free in that shoulder.
  • jyamiolk
    jyamiolk Posts: 37 Member
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    I am recovering from a full thickness tear of my supraspinatus and bicep tendon. I fell and hyper extended my arm backwards causing the trauma. I had to do 1 month of PT before the MRI which did not help and elected to have the surgery. It is my dominant side and can say that there were many challenges and had to become lefty for a while. I was in some considerable pain after the block wore off but stayed on pain meds for about three days and then changed over to Tylenol and advil which worked well. I had my surgery back in November and am finishing up with PT and started back to the gym (OrangeTheory) about two weeks ago. I can do most exercises like full thrusters but with light weight for now. Tried a few burpees which were challenging. I went from 3 to 4 times a week to the gym to 0 days for about four months. That was difficult. Surgeon said that I will have about 98% recovery from my injury. Some tips: Get extra large shorts and cut slits down the sides as it makes it easier to get on. Get pump bottles of shampoo and gell. I also got a brush on a stick for my back. If you don't have one i highly recommend a recliner. I spent close to two months sleeping in the recliner as I would not lay in the bed with the sling due to pressure on the shoulder and also the straps cutting into my back. The recliner was my best friend.
  • Phirrgus
    Phirrgus Posts: 1,894 Member
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    jyamiolk wrote: »
    I am recovering from a full thickness tear of my supraspinatus and bicep tendon. I fell and hyper extended my arm backwards causing the trauma. I had to do 1 month of PT before the MRI which did not help and elected to have the surgery. It is my dominant side and can say that there were many challenges and had to become lefty for a while. I was in some considerable pain after the block wore off but stayed on pain meds for about three days and then changed over to Tylenol and advil which worked well. I had my surgery back in November and am finishing up with PT and started back to the gym (OrangeTheory) about two weeks ago. I can do most exercises like full thrusters but with light weight for now. Tried a few burpees which were challenging. I went from 3 to 4 times a week to the gym to 0 days for about four months. That was difficult. Surgeon said that I will have about 98% recovery from my injury. Some tips: Get extra large shorts and cut slits down the sides as it makes it easier to get on. Get pump bottles of shampoo and gell. I also got a brush on a stick for my back. If you don't have one i highly recommend a recliner. I spent close to two months sleeping in the recliner as I would not lay in the bed with the sling due to pressure on the shoulder and also the straps cutting into my back. The recliner was my best friend.

    All excellent tips. I wouldn't have slept at all were it not for the adjustable bed we bought.
  • Gisel2015
    Gisel2015 Posts: 4,155 Member
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    Phirrgus wrote: »
    jyamiolk wrote: »
    I am recovering from a full thickness tear of my supraspinatus and bicep tendon. I fell and hyper extended my arm backwards causing the trauma. I had to do 1 month of PT before the MRI which did not help and elected to have the surgery. It is my dominant side and can say that there were many challenges and had to become lefty for a while. I was in some considerable pain after the block wore off but stayed on pain meds for about three days and then changed over to Tylenol and advil which worked well. I had my surgery back in November and am finishing up with PT and started back to the gym (OrangeTheory) about two weeks ago. I can do most exercises like full thrusters but with light weight for now. Tried a few burpees which were challenging. I went from 3 to 4 times a week to the gym to 0 days for about four months. That was difficult. Surgeon said that I will have about 98% recovery from my injury. Some tips: Get extra large shorts and cut slits down the sides as it makes it easier to get on. Get pump bottles of shampoo and gell. I also got a brush on a stick for my back. If you don't have one i highly recommend a recliner. I spent close to two months sleeping in the recliner as I would not lay in the bed with the sling due to pressure on the shoulder and also the straps cutting into my back. The recliner was my best friend.

    All excellent tips. I wouldn't have slept at all were it not for the adjustable bed we bought.

    Me too!! Recliners can be our best friend in situations like this. It also allowed me to take day breaks and naps without going to bed. It makes the getting up and down much easy to do.
  • AliNouveau
    AliNouveau Posts: 36,287 Member
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    oh man you guys aren't making this sound fun.
    I am used to being a very active person this is totally going to cramp my style, I've people relying on me to do some stuff in January. Darn shoulder
  • MikePfirrman
    MikePfirrman Posts: 3,307 Member
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    I was trying to see if Platelet Rich Plasma or stem cell injections might help you (my wife had a partial tear and it helped her when nothing else could), but it looks like PRP or stem cell injections are mainly used when it's less than 50% torn. With it being a full thickness tear, not sure it would help you. Sorry!
  • Phirrgus
    Phirrgus Posts: 1,894 Member
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    Gisel2015 wrote: »
    Phirrgus wrote: »
    jyamiolk wrote: »
    I am recovering from a full thickness tear of my supraspinatus and bicep tendon. I fell and hyper extended my arm backwards causing the trauma. I had to do 1 month of PT before the MRI which did not help and elected to have the surgery. It is my dominant side and can say that there were many challenges and had to become lefty for a while. I was in some considerable pain after the block wore off but stayed on pain meds for about three days and then changed over to Tylenol and advil which worked well. I had my surgery back in November and am finishing up with PT and started back to the gym (OrangeTheory) about two weeks ago. I can do most exercises like full thrusters but with light weight for now. Tried a few burpees which were challenging. I went from 3 to 4 times a week to the gym to 0 days for about four months. That was difficult. Surgeon said that I will have about 98% recovery from my injury. Some tips: Get extra large shorts and cut slits down the sides as it makes it easier to get on. Get pump bottles of shampoo and gell. I also got a brush on a stick for my back. If you don't have one i highly recommend a recliner. I spent close to two months sleeping in the recliner as I would not lay in the bed with the sling due to pressure on the shoulder and also the straps cutting into my back. The recliner was my best friend.

    All excellent tips. I wouldn't have slept at all were it not for the adjustable bed we bought.

    Me too!! Recliners can be our best friend in situations like this. It also allowed me to take day breaks and naps without going to bed. It makes the getting up and down much easy to do.

    Yep, I had no idea what kind of stress simply laying down flat would cause on the injury. It took a little to get used to because I normally fall asleep on my side, but wow, really saved me a lot of grief.
  • Phirrgus
    Phirrgus Posts: 1,894 Member
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    AliNouveau wrote: »
    oh man you guys aren't making this sound fun.
    I am used to being a very active person this is totally going to cramp my style, I've people relying on me to do some stuff in January. Darn shoulder

    It's no fun at all, sadly, but you'll be glad when it's done and over with. Really REALLY glad lol.
  • Chieflrg
    Chieflrg Posts: 9,097 Member
    edited May 2019
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    AliNouveau wrote: »
    oh man you guys aren't making this sound fun.
    I am used to being a very active person this is totally going to cramp my style, I've people relying on me to do some stuff in January. Darn shoulder

    Hence why I elected not to do surgery on my second. I've been a athlete my whole life and didn't want the time off after the first one healed ok from what I was told.

    That and all my friends that did surgery, ended up retearing them again and surgery happened again. Kinda like a hernia, isn't the best track record of healing.

    At age 45-46 I stopped feeling what I perceived as the pain that could of been the tear. IDK.

    You would think that surgery has improved though.

    Good luck again.

  • lalalacroix
    lalalacroix Posts: 834 Member
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    I also had fully torn rc. I was on pain killers for 6 months during surgery and 3x per week physical therapy. I have a high pain threshold and was still in awful pain. The therapy was so bad that at times there would be tears running down my face.

    I'm now about 9 years post surgery. So happy I've had it done. I have full range of motion and all strength back, but honestly it did take a few years.

    If I had to do it again, I would still do surgery.