Shoulder injuries

Any Pnetters suffer a shoulder injury? If so, curious what the recovery time is

Got body slammed yesterday by a visiting standard poodle while playing down at the lake. From behind. Knocked me over and I landed full force on my left shoulder on the gravel. ER wasn’t fully staffed. Sent home with a crappy sling, ibuprofen prescription I couldn’t fill (no pharmacies open), diagnosis of humeral head fracture, and suggestion I contact my family physician. Really?

Will have to wait till Monday to see an orthopede. Any tips on coping most appreciated.

General rule
for breaks is 6 weeks of recovery. As the shoulder is a delicate area, I’d expect that as a minimum.

Bones, however, heal up reasonably well and are just as strong as before. The real question is how much soft tissue injury there is and which structures are also involved (muscles, ligaments, tendons). Those can take much longer to heal and, unlike bones, are not as strong as they were before. They need muscle strength to compensate for whatever stretching of tissues occurs in the injury. If soft tissue problems are not present and it is just a bone fracture, it should heal up fine.

Good luck.


Thanks, RIck
So bummed about this but grateful it wasn’t my right arm.

beats ibuprofen for that type of pain in my experience. I’m two months past shoulder surgery and have taken enough ibuprofen to kill a horse. It’s good stuff for sure, but I took a spill hiking last Saturday and fell backward catching myself with my right arm in a vertical position. Since then I’ve been hurting (and hoping and praying I didn’t stupid myself into a repair of the repair). On Sunday I accidentally discovered (due to lack of pain med variety when I really needed some) that Aleve does a far better job of reducing the pain; I mean exponentially better, and I’ve only needed one or two every 24 hours. Good luck.

You’ll recover
Sorry to hear about your injury but you should recover from it quickly and thoroughly. I had the exact same break in the Fall of 2012 when I slipped on a trail while hiking on vacation out in the Pacific Northwest – I hit a rock with my left shoulder and cracked the humerus just below the shoulder socket. I guess I was in denial about the pain of it, though my boyfriend (an ER doc, as it happened) was pretty sure it was broken. So I just tried to ignore it for two days and rigged a sling with a bandana to immobilize it while we continued daily hikes.

But then a dark, sharp edged bruise showed up and Doctor BF insisted that was an indication of blood leaking from a cracked bone and made me go to a clinic for x-rays. Fortunately we were in Canada at the time and the drop-in clinic our hotel directed me to had me looked at, x-rayed and diagnosed within less than an hour (for $215 total cost). They even gave us a CD of the films so my BF could inspect the break himself on his laptop. Both he and the Canadian orthopod said there was nothing that could be done other than immobilize it and be careful not to do anything that might aggravate or displace the fracture (which was not all the way through the bone). It was painful for a couple of weeks and looked pretty gruesome (and spoiled our plans to kayak and bike during the trip) but we finished out the trip, finding other things to do.

When I got home a week later I went to see my own docs here for a followup appointment that took nearly 5 hours and for the same inspection, xrays and sling I got in Canada the insurance carrier had to pay over $1400 – nearly 7 times what the services cost across the border. I tell this to people who think government health care programs like Canada’s don’t work.

The only real inconvenience I suffered for the next month was not being able to sleep on my left side, having trouble washing my hair (not being able to raise the left arm) and that I could not drive my stick shift car with one arm so my BF swapped one of his fleet of “hooptie” cars with me. (I think having to drive his dingy battered Accord that smelled like mouse turds helped motivate me to heal quickly so I could get my own nice clean car back).

By Spring, 6 months later, I was back biking and paddling, even some whitewater and some extended kayak touring, with no lingering after affects. So far it has been 3 years plus since the break and I have had no residual problems. I do use Greenland paddles, which cause less stress on the shoulders, so I can’t say if using a standard blade paddle would cause discomfort.

So, chin up – you’ll be OK.

Sorry for you, Rookie.
The discussion here of soft tissue vs bone healing time sounds right to me. I shattered a wtrist in July, had it surgically repaired, and was allowed to paddle again 6 weeks later. But had lots of lingering soft-tissue damage. Did the exercises the occupational therapist gave me and saw her frequently. Now I rarely think about that wrist anymore. I’m just about good as new. My point is that you WILL heal and that you should pay attention to the person who gives you exercises to strengthen and restore flexibility to soft tissues.

Good luck!

Being in such good company
and reading your success stories makes me feel less apprehensive and I thank you very much for that.

Just wish I didn’t have to wait until Monday (or later) to see a bone doctor and be better informed. The driving thing is major as my car is a stick shift, but will rent for a week if I have to. Hate being housebound for the weekend.

I do have full range of motion in my left hand and wrist - am typing this (slowly) using both hands with the keyboard in my lap. Nothing hurts, so maybe this is a positive sign?

Deuce, am so sorry about that fall and sure hope it doesn’t mess up your recovery. Did some reading today about the negative effects of ibuprofen on bone healing and while I took one 600 mg of the prescription, switching to acetaminophen for night time and then nothing but my vitamin routine, unless absolutely necessary.

Willow, we share the same sleeping pattern. Did you ever find a work around? Showers and hair will take some planning. Getting dressed is a big enough challenge.

Ginger, that’s an excellent recovery! Wish I could start rehab tomorrow.

I appreciate the inspiration and well wishes.

back to the minors
Dude…you are dead meat.

Maybe a year…2 years…depends on age, physical workout well being before.

I turned my back on the ocean, hit by a small breaker on the scapula. Soft tissue injury from abt 500 lbs sq/ft.

I throw rocks as a hobby. Couldnah throw for 2-3 years at 60. Crippled tight, no sregth.

OK now and the screwball works n drops like I was 20.

Everyday I use arm weights with wrist grips rotating and twisting while gripping. ? I assume the glenohumerous is healthy.

The left deltoid goes erk erk when lifting strait up …from horizontal extension. Following the Boomerang drive to home.

I forgot to mention that I did go to PT weekly for about 8 weeks, then continued afterwards doing the exercises they gave me – since the bone was not displaced and was healing fine, the workouts were to keep the socket joint and surrounding soft tissue and ligaments flexible and strong. I have full range of shoulder motion now and can lift just as well on both sides, almost like it never happened (though it does get a dull soreness at the shoulder socket after longer bike rides, more annoying than debilitating). As I said, it as never bothered me from paddling at all.

Also, I was 62 when the accident happened, so being older does not necessarily spell doom for such an injury.

As for showering, I have one of those detachable flex hose pulsating shower heads so I was able to take it down with my right hand and use it to rinse my hair well at close range. Couldn’t lace my shoes – wore slip-ons for a month – and had to figure out how to button things singlehanded. But having had left wrist surgery 4 years earlier (distal radius fracture from ice skating) I had already mastered some of those skills.

There is really nothing you can do about the sleeping bit – you will not be able to tolerate lying on your left side for about 4 to 6 weeks. I slept mostly on the right side spooning one of those long body pillows to support the bum arm. To change position, I’d put the pillow along my left side and lie sort of on my back though canted towards the right with the pillow cushioning the shoulder.

I think I was able to drive my own car after about 3 or 4 weeks – there was enough left arm mobility to grasp the steering wheel while shifting with the right.

I recall the pain abated significantly after about ten days and I never took pain meds after the second week, and only took them at first at night (Alleve for the most part).

shoulder dislocation
is apparently fairly common among serious paddlers.

I asked Horodowitch n he said …

I did one up a fed intercoastal bridge…knee slipped loose. painless. Amazingly painless zoooop no knee. Wong gear.

Dragged my foot for months.

not dislocated
She has a fracture, not a joint dislocation. Big difference.

Sorry hear that
What a bummer.

Tendons involved?
You probably aren’t sure yet. FWIW, my experience with dings from falling off of horses in my younger days was that a torn or severely overstretched tendon took about three times as long to stop hurting as a regular muscle. I walked away from a particularly bad one, in shock as it turned out later but being younger has amazing good results, with way beat up and overstretched muscles and a tendon. The muscles responded well to early chiropractic intervention and I was fully back in business again after 3 weeks. A sitting trot, which hit that one little tendon, was a teeth gritting experience for at least a month and a half.

Never got out of the minors, DK,
so my only path is up.

No doctors available.

– Last Updated: Nov-28-15 1:39 PM EST –

There were no docs at the ER. A PA and a few nurses. Did talk with the x-ray guy who showed me the pictures because I had been hoping it was just a bad bone bruise. Maybe Monday will be my lucky day for medical care.

I was on loose gravel when I went down. So unexpected and happened so fast my arms never extended to break the fall. I can shrug both shoulders with no pain but possible soft tissue damage still up in the air.

Did discover today that I can't slice bread. Big bummer. Have baked my own sourdough for years. Buying what passes for bread in the stores is a repulsive thought.

A good excuse to get a slicing machine?
Gotta get something out of it…

Sorry to hear it is still coming on.

Depends on age
25 - three days

45 six weeks

57 - four months

Bummers Man! But With Due Respect
To your injuries, I couldn’t help but wonder how the poodle was doing?

Haha! That very rambunctious
standard poodle pup thought it was great fun and even leaped on top of me after he took me down.

We were playing a game. He won.

Note to self: don’t play games on loose gravel.

on my '78 Raleigh LG is deadly…on my steel Redline WC replica XC racer with a larger front tire, a double rib tire with a Conti Vapor in back abt ,25" narrower…the rig goes down the hill n across the gravity feed gravel flow at speed no experience necessary.