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Reflections on Golf and Life After ECU Injury - Part 4

cipher

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I was pretty convinced that my problem was a rare and poorly documented sports injury called ECU subluxation.  The ECU tendon is the tendon that sits in a groove on the outside of the Ulna bone and is covered by a thin sheath that holds it in place.  ECU subluxation or dislocation of the tendon happens when that sheath tears or stretches and the tendon itself becomes dislocated from the bone.

 

Here are a couple resources on the injury. 

http://radsource.us/extensor-carpi-ulnaris-subsheath-injury/

http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/47/17/1105.full

 

When I went back to the doctor I showed him how the tendon would dislocate itself by picking up an object of some weight in a position of ulnar deviation to the wrist.  It was pretty clear to him that the problem was the ECU tendon at that time.  He gave me two options, I could have surgery right away or I could continue to immobilize the wrist and it is possible that it could settle and I would be able to get rid of the irritation and pain associated with the injury.  The problem was not as much about the tendon popping out itself as it was the pain and irritation that goes with it.  I decided to give it one more shot at healing through rest and immobilization.  He also gave me a cortisone shot at this time to try and settle the irritation in the area of the injury.  I was hoping to avoid surgery if at all possible.  

As a potential candidate for a spot in the 2015 TST Newport Cup, it was a very difficult decision for me.  I reluctantly put the clubs away, removed my name from consideration for the tournament and decided that I was going to wait until the early fall to try and swing again.  The sinking feeling began to fully set in at this point.  I did my best to keep my spirits up, but I would be lying if I said I did not struggle some during this time.  I was really looking forward to 2015 and everything that was happening with the golf swing and the Newport Cup.  I did not fully understand at the time, how that one swing had already changed my life. 


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In looking back, and particularly given the ease with which you could dislocate the tendon, and also how far it would move… it sounds like you'd choose to have the surgery sooner in hindsight.

Is that accurate?

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27 minutes ago, iacas said:

In looking back, and particularly given the ease with which you could dislocate the tendon, and also how far it would move… it sounds like you'd choose to have the surgery sooner in hindsight.

Is that accurate?

That is a tough one. I think I would have been back trying to swing sooner for sure.  However, if in the end I am/was not able to swing a club anymore, I would have been left second guessing my decision for surgery right away.  I may have wondered if I would have been better to just leave it alone.  There was also the Health Savings Account plan issue I decided to work around, which I plan to talk about in the MRI/surgery portion of the blog(probably #7).  I did delay things considerably with how I chose to do it, and in the back of my mind I felt I was probably going to need the surgery.  So maybe I did not choose the best option.  I am torn really.  I can see where I should have maybe just gotten it over with sooner for sure.  At the same time I don't feel any major regret.  

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I don't think you should second guess anything bud. Its such a weird situation. It's not common enough to have a ton of conclusive info on how to handle it. I still have a good feeling your going to be playing this year.

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I agree cipher. It is difficult. I found out Jan 2016 about my left shoulder. After a second opinion I decided 'I could wait. As the summer went on and hitting metals became not so much painful as distressing, I knew I had to do something. Then an MRI on the right shoulder showed 2 tears as well. I decided to get the left shoulder done. I too had to think paying for it. I figured that waiting until January would max out my deductibles for the year and I would have the full FSA to use. In all it should only cost $3,000 out of pocket. But I can't swing until June and that's only if the left shoulder heals right and the right shoulder doesn't get worse. Playing has to take a back seat this year.

So I feel your pain.

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On 2/3/2017 at 9:32 PM, Jakester23 said:

I don't think you should second guess anything bud. Its such a weird situation. It's not common enough to have a ton of conclusive info on how to handle it. I still have a good feeling your going to be playing this year.

Very good points Jake.  I really don't want to even overthink it too much either.  That is kind of what got me into some trouble before  I am already very excited about playing disc golf and fishing this year so I have a lot of positive things going on and even if golf is not in the picture, I will enjoy this year.  Hopefully though we will be playing some this summer though.  I'll probably need to get some swing tips from you since I have been out of the game for so long.  ;-)

17 hours ago, golfintheworld said:

I agree cipher. It is difficult. I found out Jan 2016 about my left shoulder. After a second opinion I decided 'I could wait. As the summer went on and hitting metals became not so much painful as distressing, I knew I had to do something. Then an MRI on the right shoulder showed 2 tears as well. I decided to get the left shoulder done. I too had to think paying for it. I figured that waiting until January would max out my deductibles for the year and I would have the full FSA to use. In all it should only cost $3,000 out of pocket. But I can't swing until June and that's only if the left shoulder heals right and the right shoulder doesn't get worse. Playing has to take a back seat this year.

So I feel your pain.

Yeah I had a $4500 deductible that I decided to time with the start of the new year as well, so that was a big part of it for me.  Best of luck to you as well.  It is never fun to deal with these things.

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No it's not. I'm started Physical therapy Friday. Just trying to  get the arm to 90 degrees took 5 minutes. Embrace the process I guess.

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I had this same exact injury.

First injured in February 2014, felt and heard the same pop you experienced. I had to take several months off before I could play again. While playing my wrist was always swollen and sore.  If I made a not too good swing the pain could be almost unbearable, but I am stubborn and continued to play through the pain.

I was able to continue playing until the fall, October, of 2015 when after I hit a drive into the woods then tried to punch the ball back out to the fairway. This was the last straw for my wrist. I tried to take more time off to see if the wrist would reach a point where I could play again. No luck as I was constantly in pain even with the wrist immobilized with a brace. It is amazing how much you use your wrist in just day to day living and any wrong movement would bring searing pain. Finally in late February 2016 I had ECU stabilization surgery.

I still have some issues but for the most part am pain free and after almost a year I am getting back to my normal game, still need to work out some of the kinks.  Point is I can play again without pain.

If I had it to do different I would have had the surgery done sooner.

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2 hours ago, Tazz2293 said:

I had this same exact injury.

First injured in February 2014, felt and heard the same pop you experienced. I had to take several months off before I could play again. While playing my wrist was always swollen and sore.  If I made a not too good swing the pain could be almost unbearable, but I am stubborn and continued to play through the pain.

I was able to continue playing until the fall, October, of 2015 when after I hit a drive into the woods then tried to punch the ball back out to the fairway. This was the last straw for my wrist. I tried to take more time off to see if the wrist would reach a point where I could play again. No luck as I was constantly in pain even with the wrist immobilized with a brace. It is amazing how much you use your wrist in just day to day living and any wrong movement would bring searing pain. Finally in late February 2016 I had ECU stabilization surgery.

I still have some issues but for the most part am pain free and after almost a year I am getting back to my normal game, still need to work out some of the kinks.  Point is I can play again without pain.

If I had it to do different I would have had the surgery done sooner.

Thanks for checking in and posting!  Welcome to the site as well.  How soon after the surgery were you able to swing again?

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Thanks for the welcome.

You can figure 5 - 6 weeks in a cast, then 3-4 weeks of rehab to be cleared to chip and putt.  I was in a cast for 5 weeks, then rehab.

I was cleared to start putting/chipping until about 9 weeks after surgery, that was the end of April.

I wasn't cleared to start swinging again until the last week of May.

Neither activities were much fun at first, especially full swing. Lots of soreness, twinges and concern about wrist. Of course that is to be expected during rehab.

By the end of June I was getting back to where I could play once a week, hit balls once a week.  By October I was back playing regularly.

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15 hours ago, Tazz2293 said:

Thanks for the welcome.

You can figure 5 - 6 weeks in a cast, then 3-4 weeks of rehab to be cleared to chip and putt.  I was in a cast for 5 weeks, then rehab.

I was cleared to start putting/chipping until about 9 weeks after surgery, that was the end of April.

I wasn't cleared to start swinging again until the last week of May.

Neither activities were much fun at first, especially full swing. Lots of soreness, twinges and concern about wrist. Of course that is to be expected during rehab.

By the end of June I was getting back to where I could play once a week, hit balls once a week.  By October I was back playing regularly.

Interesting.  I had the surgery last February as well, however my recovery did not quite go the same.  Had a tough time getting the mobility back , but I will get to that in the near future.  That giant cast they put you in at first was the absolute worst though.  

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I hated that cast.

After waking up and dealing with the Nerve Block, arm felt like a 1000 lb dead weight hanging off my shoulder, then the nerve block wore off and the pain started.

I had a great doctor and a great physical therapist.  I pushed myself hard. Maybe too hard.  Just because I was playing regularly didn't mean I played well.  I am just now starting to get my game back.

I'll leave you to tell your tale.  You will get back to playing often and well again it just takes some time. Because of weather I did get to take most of December and early January off, I am sure that helped me out some as well.

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Thank you for sharing, @Tazz2293. Check out the rest of the site too. Lots here. 

I know Nate appreciates knowing another guy he can talk to about his injury.

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1 hour ago, Tazz2293 said:

I hated that cast.

After waking up and dealing with the Nerve Block, arm felt like a 1000 lb dead weight hanging off my shoulder, then the nerve block wore off and the pain started.

I had a great doctor and a great physical therapist.  I pushed myself hard. Maybe too hard.  Just because I was playing regularly didn't mean I played well.  I am just now starting to get my game back.

I'll leave you to tell your tale.  You will get back to playing often and well again it just takes some time. Because of weather I did get to take most of December and early January off, I am sure that helped me out some as well.

Yep it was ridiculously heavy indeed.

I am hoping to give it a go this spring.  I timed the start of this blog to eventually end with the result of what will happen at that time.  Glad to have you as part of the site, there is a lot of great stuff here.   Please continue to post your experiences in the future blogs as well, if you are willing.  I would love to see how they may be similar or different than mine were/are.  I am sure others would as well and anyone who maybe just had this happen can find a good source for information from a couple guys who have gone through it.  

 

IMG_8252.JPG

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2 minutes ago, Tazz2293 said:

The nightmares!

Haha!  For sure.

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It's been 4 weeks now. I'm 2 weeks into PT. It looks as if I'm ahead of schedule. But as the therapist reminds me "Don't fall into the trap of thinking you're healing faster than you think". I can understand that. It's the same trap as thinking your 3 under after nine and breaking your best round is almost a given.  

Besides, the surgeon gets really upset if you change his artwork :angry:

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