shoulder injury

-- Last Updated: Aug-10-05 10:09 PM EST --

I dislocated it a week ago while training in the big lake, it was ugly. Had to do with a brace manover gone wrong. What now? I have this HUGE paddling event to do anytime now. It has been 1 1/2 years in the making. Depends on weather on the big lake we could launch anytime. Is there anything I can do to heal my shoulder FAST and be ready for this event or am I out? Its been a week since the injury and it is still really sore, stiff, and bruised.

** Gang, Thanks for all the great advice! It falls right in line with what I feared. It is very hard for me to think about staying off the water and out of the event I so desperatly want to do. I will begin PT tomorrow and take it (easy) from there.

Ask the doctor about…
a cortisone shot.

It might help.



Careful, I’ve know athletes who went right out and worsened the injury after a cortisone shot killed the pain.


Get in to see…
your local orthopedic surgeon. For most dislocations of the shoulder, a few days rest and then SLOW activity and therapy. Pendulum exercises etc. If you go out and go ALL out at this upcoming event, you may dislocate it again while out on the water. The worst that can happen? You become a chronic dislocator (comes out often)and you need surgery to help fix it. A cortisone shot won’t do a whole lot except help with the pain and inflamation. It may feel better with it but it won’t be totally healed up. If you can, do the above and head into the doc’s office. He can examine you thoroughly and give the final answer.

tens unit
If you go out and do whatever it is you want to do, you will at least continue to hurt it, and a good possibility is that you make it worse. You probably already know this in your heart. That said, If you can get your doc to give you a scrip for a tens unit which is an electrical stim unit, after any shoulder use, ice yourself for 20 minutes and tens for 20. Ice for another 20, and tens for another 20. Then slowly try to loosen up. Don’t forget ibuprophen with sleep aids at night to prevent the accidental rollover which will wake you up and keep you up. I know what it’s like to feel you MUST keep going, but your body will be heard one way or another.

Good Luck!

don’t do it mate.
do you really like paddling and other activities that require a strong shoulder? it sucks big time but take it very slow and easy until that shoulder is as strong or even stronger than before. you will have to do rotator cuff exercises and muscle building for the shoulder but the last thing you want to do is either risk another dislocation or develop the dreaded…


once you get an itis you are in a long time world of hurt my friend. tendonitis, bursitis, you name it, it will be hard to get rid of an slowly ruin your love of sport.

take it easy and get well!

the gospel …
take the following as gospel from a guy who has dislocated both shoulders and is now suffering through a very lengthy recovery and rehab, following surgury of my right shoulder.

don’t rush the recovery. let me repeat that. DON’T RUSH THE RECOVERY! you’ll only make things worse and risk a weakened shoulder which will dislocate again … if not today, then maybe tomorrow or next week, or next month.

then you’ll require reconstructive surgury followed by 8 months of rehab. that’s a looooong time to be off the water. trust me. your doctor SHOULD have given you some instructions on how to handle your injury. if not, you should see a doctor specializing in rehabilitation.

expect to be off the water for a month … maybe two or even three. i don’t know the extent of your injury so naturally i can’t judge. in the grand scheme, that’s nothing compared to the 8-9 months i’m going through. currently, i can’t even scratch my nose with my right hand, and i type with one finger of my left hand.

i wish i had listened to someone BEFORE i needed surgury.

Learn about the paddler’s box!
All of us try to keep doing things the same way until forced to realize that way no longer works. You may not have come to grips with this yet. There are stages of grief we all go through, first is denial, then bargaining (give me a shot I will keep on going), then anger it happened, then sadness and finally acceptance of new ways.

If and when you are ready, learn NEW ways to brace and roll that are safe for your shoulders. Learn how to do safe sweep and draw strokes, bow rudders, etc. The paddler’s box is a method of understanding how to use the safe strength of certain posiitons so this rarely IF EVER happens again. IT will make you a much better paddler. You will learn finesse, how to use of forces of water rather than muscle them. This will be seen as a turning point in your development rather than a hurdle.

can you elaborate on the paddlers box and refer me to reading material on this subject? Thank God I am not injured and in good health, but I am 50 and would like to maintain my health for as long as possible.


See a doctor
Go to an orthopedic doctor as soon as poosible to start moving in the right direction. Many times it is recomended to have surgey after the first dislocation to repair the damaged labrum of the shoulder socket. If this is not repaired your arm will easily dislocate again. The more your arm gets dislocated the more damage you will do to the cartilage of your arm. I wouldn’t even think about paddling at all until you see an orthopedic doctor. Take it from someone who’s been down this road. there isn’t any shortcut.

Speaking from Experience
Let it heal completely or you may do even more damage that’ll take at least twice the time to heal. I didn’t listen when I messed up my knee in the early 80s and lived in pain until it was operated on AGAIN. When I experienced a shoulder impingement last year I didn’t touch a paddle for 9 months and then only with the doctor’s blessing.

Yes, there were plenty times I felt I could have paddled, especially after getting a shot in the shoulder, but I’m glad I waited. I now paddle pain and worry free.

SYOW (when you are healed)


am I crazy?

– Last Updated: Aug-10-05 9:44 AM EST –

Or are all of you? LOL.

I dislocated my shoulder (anterior) in a bike accident a few years ago and also chipped the bone a little in my arm at that ball at the top. There is no freakin' way I could have paddled or anything for about 2 solid months. I spent two weeks at home on Vicodin and really couldn't use my arm at all for about 6-8 weeks.

I read about people who swim around, ride their bikes, or even contemplate using the arm and I'm just amazed.

So, am I a big, giant wuss? Are there different levels of dislocation? In fact, about 3 years later my shoulder still aches and I have some very minor mobility issues with it. Okay, maybe I'm just weak or something.



– Last Updated: Aug-10-05 10:56 AM EST –

The paddler's box is the imaginary plane that extends from the top of your shoulders out to your elbow if arms straight out to your sides, down to your hip and in. Anything you do in front, behind, above or farther out than that box risks various injuries to the shoulder, neck, back, etc. Not only is this method of learning hand and arm placement safer, it is alos the MAXIMUM way to have strength from torso rotation in your strokes, your braces, and your roll.

Mention of it is in most comprehensive texts on kayaking
Not bad

Please listen
to all the good advice you’ve been given. I had a different type of shoulder injury, paddled until I couldn’t lift a paddle and was out(in a great deal of pain and inconvenience) for over 9 months. It’s been a year now, and the shoulder is still weak. There will be other events. Take care of your shoulder.

In Agreement
With the other posters. I severly pulled a muscle in my shoulder and kept going. Now I’m paying the price of no paddling for probably the rest of the season and going to PT 2x wkly. Let yourself heal, there will be other events down the road.


Had a shoulder dislocation . . .
last year during a rolling practice session. My Doc, a sports medicine specialist, x-rayed and MRI-ed the shoulder (same day as the injury), gave me painkillers, and immediately set me up for physical therapy (within 2 days of the injury). He told me that trying to rehab the shoulder right away was critical and my only chance to avoid future surgery. It took several months of rehab, but the shoulder gradually improved. Now I’ve got good strength and range of motion, but I’ve been gun-shy about practicing my roll again.

Back Off
I dislocated my shoulder in a training accident, and finished the course, anyway. That shoulder never healed, and has hurt me ever since

See a pro!

– Last Updated: Aug-10-05 9:35 PM EST –

I knew a paddler that would fall out even in a pool session. He was given rehab exer. & didn't do anything, then wondered why he didn't get better. When you recover AVOID behind neck presses, upright rows, pullovers sideways on a bench & dips (all death for dislocations/seperations). Don't take a chance for one paddle! Good luck.

Agree with all of the above
I’d definitely ask to have a dye inject MRI done of the shoulder…and then have a ortho surgeon explain what the mri showed…in laymans terms.

From someone who (still) has the shoulder problem, I’m going to say it up front…There Is NO quick fix…no magic cream or purchased brace.