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Recovering from Shoulder Surgery and Golf

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Any one here recover from surgical repair of a torn labrum (the cartilage at the top of the arm bone that seats the ball in the shoulder joint.)?

 

I tore the cartilage mid-September and had to abandon fall golf as the doctors did their thing.

 

Surgery was the day after Christmas and I get my sling off in a week.

 

They tell me 6 weeks of therapy 3x a week with a full recovery in a year!

 

So, I am curious as to how long it will take to be able to manage a full swing. I'm guessing this summer won't be a stellar golf season for me. 

 

It would be great to hear a success story if you've been here or know of one. 

post #2 of 27

I had a cyst removed from my right shoulder.  They found no tears, luckily.  For full recovery, about a year, but I was playing golf in two months with some restrictions.  Best advice I can give is to stick to the therapy and get your range of motion back.  This is especially important for the rotator cuff, both internal and external.  

 

I had a bit of trouble with frozen shoulder right after surgery (I am 52).  So as soon as they allow you to move it, move it to keep this from happening.  What got me really going during therapy was hanging from a bar with weight assist.  My YMCA has one of those assisted chin up/press up machines.  I could put 120 pounds on the assist and gentle hand on the bar to stretch the shoulder.

 

After that, I have really kept up with the PT exercises.  I do them as a warm up for any weight lifting.  I also do a lot of shoulder stretches to keep it from tightening up.  I really recommend doing this on a daily basis.  They are easy and you can do them anywhere.

 

Have your PT show them to you and be religious during recovery.

 

Lastly, ice is your best friend.  Ice it after PT exercises and any time your feel pain during the recovery process.  It really helps healing.

 

Best of luck.

post #3 of 27
I had a torn right shoulder labrum. Tore in '92 playing lacrosse. I had surgery on 12/16/09. From there I did 6 weeks in a sling with no mobility, followed by 6 weeks of PT, 2x a week. I went into PT telling the therapist my league started in mid april and I HAD to be ready. As much as she told me I might not be, I responded with I am playing!!!! 6 weeks of physical therapy followed by stretching at home, i loosened up pretty quickly. I was actually swining in my garage (lightly), by march 1st 2010, (but dont tell my physical therapist, she would kill me!) after 18 years on that bum shoulder I was a new man, it felt great, albeit a little tighter. It did take a few weeks to loosen and get rid of that tightness. I remember thinking after the surgery and after my 1st PT appointment, that due to the tightness, I would never be playing golf. my first bucket of balls was just a wedge, just to loosen up, I waited for the 2nd bucket for a full swing. But I started in mid april in my golf league and won my flight (which seems to be a 1 time fluke!) Just dont over do it and remember to stretch and ice! Best of luck!
post #4 of 27

Depends on your body, how hard you work at physical therapy, ect.. Look at Adrian Peterson, came back from a blown knee in half the time. So, it can be done, were you come back faster, but you got to balance pushing your self and rest.

 

If you haven't had surgery yet, look into some weight lifting exercises to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder, this will help stabilize the shoulder. They actually recommend this before having knee surgery, it can greatly decrease PT time after surgery because you have less muscle loss. 

post #5 of 27
A little late, just some info in case someone is wondering. I had surgery in Nov '12 and was 100% in May '13. Didn't start golfing until July '13, no issues so far at all.
post #6 of 27
Going in for rotator cuff and removal of a bone spur in 3 weeks. I am doing my full workout schedule until the last minute. I also believe that if I get the muscles in the best shape they can be in it will help in my recovery. There is only one exercise in my routine I am not doing due to pain, but have an alternate and am also doing some rubber band work specifically for the cuff. We shall see how it works out!
post #7 of 27
Update: had the surgery on October 22. Turns out had one tendon fully detached from the bone and folded back on itself plus a large bone spur. Pendulum hangs started that day after getting home, therapy two weeks after, twice a week for now. Start my fourth week of therapy tomorrow. Had doc appointment this past Thursday, all going well, plus go the go ahead to start swinging a putter, and in two weeks I can start chipping. All good progress in my book!
post #8 of 27

I work for a healthcare company that helps with soft tissue injuries (basically everything minus bone breaks), and I have heard many diagnoses for recovery. Depending on the length tear, and your overall health the recovery can vary. Shoulder surgery usually has at least a month of retraining the muscles and tendons. After the fact always make sure to properly stretch and ice down when you do get back at golf.

post #9 of 27
Thank you for the advice.a1_smile.gif
post #10 of 27
As of today, doc told me to start gently swinging an iron to stretch muscles to give more range of motion. Already putting and chipping. 3 days from now will be 2 months since getting cut.
post #11 of 27

2 c.

A co-worker of mine busted his shoulder breaking up a dogfight in the fall of 2012. He had surgery two weeks later (and of course a vet’s bill).

I don’t remember most of the details but after going through therapy all winter, and missing his two annual winter golf trips to Florida, his doctor cleared him to return to the game around May.  His first several rounds he Tee’d up his ball on every shot except putts, to avoid hitting the ground.

I’ve never played with him, as he’s much better than I am, but he’s a great guy to talk Golf with.

Best wishes on your recovery.

~Tom B.

post #12 of 27

Many thanks Tom.  Fully intend on doing the Tee for every shot, do not need to suddenly contact something like a root!

 

Have a great Holiday season!

post #13 of 27
My favourite approach to shoulder rehab is to use a technique called 'proximal faster than distal' this is where you mobilise the shoulder in all directions by driving movement with the lower body but keeping the arm fixed in different positions. It sounds odd but is a great way to get the shoulder to experience a larger range of motion without moving the painful shoulder.

Hope this helps!

Steve
post #14 of 27
Well, had a doc appointment last week. It has been just over 3 months. Doc gave the go ahead to hit the range, going easy, about 4 times minimum and then shoot for 9 holes. Went to the range Friday, it was a very, very ugly sight. Basically have to relearn how to hit a ball! All part of the healing...........felt good, but sore afterwards. Going again today.
post #15 of 27
Might sound odd. Around 50 yrs? Shoulder and hip bad on one side? Maybe an elbow as well? If thyroid is low this can happen believe it or not. It did to me. Thyroid fixed. No joint pain now. I know. Sounds crazy. Just saying. Gaining weight but trying to lose? Have your M.D. check T3 T4 and TSH. Just throwing this out to anyone who is curious about the shoulder thing and trying to find solution for their particular issue. Very commonly missed diagnosis. Hope this helps someone.
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post
 

Depends on your body, how hard you work at physical therapy, ect.. Look at Adrian Peterson, came back from a blown knee in half the time. So, it can be done, were you come back faster, but you got to balance pushing your self and rest.

 

If you haven't had surgery yet, look into some weight lifting exercises to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder, this will help stabilize the shoulder. They actually recommend this before having knee surgery, it can greatly decrease PT time after surgery because you have less muscle loss. 


Great answer!  The better you go into the surgery, the better you come out.

 

I can say with years of experience the single biggest mistake is people who get 80-90% of the way there and then push it too far.  It's human nature and totally understandable.  The surgery will be painful to an extent, but by far the hardest part is patience when you feel so close and "ready." 

post #17 of 27

I tore my labrum junior year of high school (fall '97), had surgery to repair it in June of '98.  Full recovery is relative, but especially if it's your rear shoulder in golf you should be fine after a year if you put in hard work at rehab.  My surgery felt like a failure cause I hurt it playing football but I was best in all my sports as a pitcher, and I never threw the ball harder than 75 mph again.  Not for lack of trying though.  Had the surgery and PT from the same two guys who treated Schilling for the same injury.  Just wasn't in the cards for me (as I was warned was a possibility).

 

But, the good news is, pitching is probably the hardest thing to get back to.  I played my senior year high school baseball season (at 1B!) starting March of '99, so 9 months after surgery.  Wasn't super strong, but there were no pain or restrictions swinging the bat, just throwing the ball.  If it's your rear golf shoulder, I'd guess you can at least get to play a normal round without pain or risk by the end of the summer.

 

Will reiterate the patience thing.  After you get the sling off there will be what feels like a very long time with very restricted motion.  I don't remember the exact time frame, but it was a pretty long time after the sling came off that I still couldn't even lift my arm straight out from my side past parallel to the ground.  I'm a golf obsessive too, but don't jump the gun just to get an extra month or two of golf.

 

But you definitely need to push it.  There will be parts of PT that are really uncomfortable or super tight and weird and even a tad painful.  Stick with what your physical therapist prescribes, and make sure you ask questions about how far you can push it and go up near the limit.  If you hold back too much or just don't put in the work you'll just stay weak longer and end up with a super restricted shoulder.  But push too hard and you can reinjure it pretty easily within the first year.  My memory is that basically that you want to work within the framework set up by your therapist and push it to the point where it feels weak and tight and uncomfortable, but never sharp pain.

 

Last thing, and obviously you'll get this from your PT, but when it gets to the point that it's not dangerous, working on flexibility is as important as strength.  If you're overly cautious about moving your arm much because of reinjury and slack off on the stretching but do the strength work you'll end up super tight and it'll feel restricted.  My right shoulder is still tighter than my left, and that's after hard work at rehab, 3 years of continuing stretching it during my years as a weak armed DIII outfielder, now 10 years of regular yoga, and my wife and I had a 3 year run obsessing with amateur partner acrobatics and hand balancing classes where I was intensively stretching my shoulders many times per week (this was many years after the surgery).

post #18 of 27
Update: went to the range two more times, both went great. My therapist did his magic before the first time, went right after therapy, then again the next day, Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday played 18 holes, went really well, no pain, just swung slower. Did not have a ton of distance but most shots were where they were aimed. Have my last therapy session Friday, will be doing the gym for strength and stretching for range of motion, also doing as much as I can at home, made up some items to help do it. Friday I also turn 58.
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