I'm creating this thread to keep track of my arthroscopic shoulder surgery for a torn labrum in my left shoulder. I'll update this on a week-to-week basis mostly just to keep track of my recovery, but also as a reference for anyone who might go through this in the future. It might be cool to look back on this when I'm fully healed (hopefully in a little more than six months).
Nov. 26, 2012
Partially dislocated my left shoulder when I lost an edge playing ice hockey and crashed into the boards with my left shoulder taking the brunt of the blow. I managed to maneuver my shoulder back into place about 10-15 minutes afterwards -- didn't feel the need to go to the ER so I just went home and iced it.
It wasn't until I got the results of an MRI that I had learned I had suffered a torn labrum, and I decided to get arthroscopic surgery because of the likelihood of future dislocations -- a pain that I never want to experience again.
** I was in a dark, dark place since I dislocated my shoulder. I was depressed with a capital 'D' knowing I wouldn't be able to play hockey or lift weights for MONTHS. In my mind I thought all that hard work in the gym was GONE. I was in the best shape of my life, too! All that hard work - GONE. **
Dec. 6, 2012
Day of surgery. I'm nervous and scared beyond words. It's my first surgery and the fear of the unknown is getting the best (or worst) of me, but I want to eventually get back to my normal lifestyle without fear. So I accept my fate and go ahead with the procedure.
I had five anchors attach my labrum back to the bone and the procedure took approximately an hour. I woke up with my arm in a sling and was able to go home shortly after.
Pain wasn't too bad initially because of a combination of local anesthesia and pain medications. I was able to eat and sit on a couch with pillows to support my shoulder and arm.
Week One (post-op)
It's been four days since my surgery and I'm off of pain meds and doing gentle range of motion exercises out of my sling. I was able to take off my heavy bandage 48 hours post-op and shower. I also stopped using my cold therapy machine which I HIGHLY recommend for anyone who has this surgery. It provided amazing relief to my shoulder.
The soreness in my shoulder is much, much less today (Dec. 10) than in the three days since surgery. Very tolerable. I'll occasionally feel a twinge of pain if I accidentally move my shoulder in a funny way. My shoulder does feel very tight, though. Overall I'm comfortable! Had my first dump in five days -- what a relief!
With that said, sleeping has been a challenge since I haven't been able to sleep in my bed. Instead, I'm propped up on my couch with pillows.
I'm going to try driving around my parking complex tomorrow and my first post-op appointment is on Friday.
I know I have to take it slow, but my spirits are up and I'm not depressed anymore. I'm looking forward to being 100% again!!
Week Two (post-op)
I'm now 15 days post-op and typing this from my gate at Denver International Airport. Looking forward to heading home for Christmas!
Although two weeks isn't very long in the big scheme of things, it feels like I've been in this sling for an eternity. It hasn't been the easiest of days -- since my shoulder is still pretty tight, it has a hard time moving fluidly. Instead of smooth movements, my shoulder occasionally jerks into position giving me discomfort. It's more of a nuisance than anything because it'll happen out of nowhere sometimes. Oh well. I don't want to jinx anything but it hasn't done it much today! We'll see how the flight goes...
I started physical therapy on Monday and it's pretty shocking how much of a difference it makes. People aren't lying when they say PT is the most crucial aspect to recovery with this operation. I've gotten to at least 0 degrees with my external rotation and my goal is to get to 30 by the 26th. My forward flexion has also improved thanks to a pulley I use. I've been averaging five stretching sessions each day, each lasting approximately 30-35 minutes with my first starting at 6:00 am every morning.
I can finally sleep in my bed, too. I was sleeping in a semi-reclined position on the couch for nearly two weeks and woke up every few hours because of the discomfort. Sleeping in a bed is a huge victory for me.
It's funny how people go out of their way to avoid me when they see the sling. I guess that's a good thing because the last thing I need is someone bumping/running into me. Actually the last thing I need is slipping or falling; wouldn't that suck?
I can't wait to get the sling off for good. I have another five weeks with it I think but I'll rejoice when this thing is off for good. Maybe I'll bury it in the ground.
Although I have MONTHS of recovery ahead of me I can finally breathe a sign of relief knowing the worst is (hopefully) behind me.
Week Three (post-op)
Hard to believe it's been 22 days since the operation. It feels just like yesterday when I was being prepped for surgery.
Physical therapy is picking up in intensity, as I'm really starting to see progress in my forward flexion and external rotation exercises (I've gotten to 35 degrees!). I also started lifting weights -- only with my wrist, with a whopping five-pound dumbbell. Ha! Those wrist curls wore me out, though. But, hey, it's the first weight I've picked up in over a month. Small victory.
The bandages have been removed and my sutures have absorbed. They look great! It'll make for some small talk when sitting by the pool. Or beach?
Still dealing with the jerking inside the shoulder capsule. Most of them don't cause the discomfort I was experiencing during Week Two but it's still there, more annoying than painful. I can't wait for the day when it disappears altogether. Can't really complain because my rehab has been steadily progressing.
Here are the stretching exercises I'm doing now (Week Three):
*Pendulums (side-to-side, clockwise/counter clockwise, forward/backward)
*External rotation stretch (with stick, pvc pipe, etc.)
*"Saw" -- flexion stretch
*Standing external rotation stretch (elbow tucked to side)
*Isometric stretches (elbow, wrist, fist)
*Internal rotation (hand behind my back)
*Wrist curls with weight ***added at Week Three***
*Forward flexion (both arms up and overhead with stick, pvc pipe, etc.) ***added at Week Three***
*Forward flexion (one arm, supported at the wrist with the other arm, up and overhead) ***added at Week Three***
Hopefully I'll see more progress come Week Four.
Happy New Year!
Week Four (post-op)
One month is in the books! Just had my most grueling physical therapy session to date as they're really starting to open up my shoulder's external rotation. I'm currently at 40-45 degrees and my forward flexion is around 140-145 while laying down and about 110-120 while standing upright.
I'm only wearing the sling when I sleep, drive and walk around in public. Other than that it's off and it feels so good to be out of the sling. I was given clearance to sleep without it so we'll see how that goes.
I've been able to use my left arm to do the basics like wash my hands, hold items, put on clothes, etc., and I can type with no problem. The jerking still occurs but only when my arm is bent 90 degrees and close to my body, like how it is when I'm in the sling. Occasional pain/discomfort but it's not the end of the world.
I'm currently doing wrist curls with 9 lb. dumbbells now! Ha! At least I'm getting a good burn in my forearm. I also did my first set of triceps extensions with resistance straps. Felt good to activate the triceps again and hopefully I'll get to (very) light weight training beginning in a week.
Cardio exercise isn't giving me any discomfort in the shoulder and I've been able to get a good sweat doing intervals on the stationary bike. My next step is to jump on the elliptical because the bike is starting to bore me. Going to start incorporating more body-weight squats, lunges and leg press exercises to keep the lower body strong.
Curious to see what my orthopedic surgeon says next Friday during my second post-op visit. Hopefully he'll let me ditch the sling altogether but I have a feeling I'll be wearing it for another 2-3 weeks.
April 26, 2013
Had my last PT session today and have full range of motion.
November 26, 2012 - tore labrum in left shoulder while playing hockey
December 6, 2012 - arthroscopic surgery to repair labrum (five anchors)
April 26, 2013 - final day of PT, full range of motion achieved