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Getting back on the wall after SLAP tear surgury
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rkelso


Mar 13, 2012, 10:28 AM
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Getting back on the wall after SLAP tear surgury
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I had three anchors put in my left shoulder mid-November for a SLAP tear so I'm about 2 months out from getting the green light. I've already built up the muscles in the arm to nearly 95% pre atrophy but my PT is having me hold back on pull ups so I don't prematurely stress the anchors. Does anybody have any advice or personal experiences getting back into climbing after a similar injury? I'm looking to get a couple of pointers and maybe develop some expectations (maybe even level set some expectations). Any input would be appreciated... thanks!


mplapp


Mar 14, 2012, 5:46 PM
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Re: [rkelso] Getting back on the wall after SLAP tear surgury [In reply to]
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I had SLAP tear repair of my left shoulder, mid Oct '08. I was cleared to work mid Dec. Work was too busy to be consistent with PT over the winter which I regretted but I was strong enough to climb and boulder in Bishop by Spring. Unfortunately, I tore my achilles in a lead fall in May so I was out of climbing for another 4 months.
The most important thing I would say is to keep up on your range if motion and oppositional protocals, the strength will come naturally from climbing. And avoid pointless dynos and gym moves.


rkelso


Apr 19, 2012, 10:45 AM
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Re: [mplapp] Getting back on the wall after SLAP tear surgury [In reply to]
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Thanks for the input... I'm 3 weeks away from being cleared for pull ups. Also I'm still having pain at the end of my range of motion. Did you find that that stuck with you for a while or does it go away relatively quickly?


jp_sucks


Apr 19, 2012, 1:34 PM
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Re: [rkelso] Getting back on the wall after SLAP tear surgury [In reply to]
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I'd love to hear any further follow up comments when you do start climbing again. I tore mine while climbing 1 month ago today and still waiting for surgery (due to the 3rd world Canadian medical system).

I'm definitely curious to find out when I'll be able to start climbing again.


mplapp


Apr 19, 2012, 9:11 PM
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Re: [rkelso] Getting back on the wall after SLAP tear surgury [In reply to]
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Yes, it did take a long time to be pain free at full range of motion and I still have issues if climbing too many days in a row. Old age...


rkelso


May 11, 2012, 11:39 AM
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So as an update... The gym I joined for the rehab happens to have a treadwall, which is essentially a combination of treadmill and climbing wall. I've been staying away from the climbing gym because I'm still not at 6 months post surgery and I'm still trying to give the anchors a bit more time. However I did about 200 meters on the treadwall without any joint discomfort but right around 200 I started feeling pain and gave up for the day. By the way, the whole time I was thinking omfg I am weak...

I'm still feeling pain when arm is raised vertical to 45 degrees up and outward. External rotation of the shoulder is still weaker than the opposite side but it's much closer to being even. Pretty much the whole left arm is only within 90-95% of my right but that is to be expected.

By the way, definitely get into physical therapy ASAP. I waited too long because it was around the holidays and work got in the way in early January. My therapist thinks that some of my pain is related to scar tissue developing in the joint during my delay.


rkelso


Jun 5, 2012, 12:40 PM
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I rejoined my local climbing gym at the beginning of last week. I also got a chance to make it out to the Gunks yesterday (although it rained for half of the day, so not a whole lot got accomplished). I still have pain when I get the joint towards the end of its range of motion but it doesn't really seem to be limiting. I'm 90% sure that no pain is coming from the anchor so I feel pretty good about it. However after a lot of bouldering at the gym, the joint feels a bit tender for a couple of hours. Again, I still think that is an issue with my range of motion and not with the actual SLAP repair.

Also it seems that I lost a lot of crimp strength and completely forgot the concept of good (or in my case almost passable) footwork Unsure

Definitely wait the full 6 months to climb. Cartilage reattaching to bone takes a significant time to heal properly and I guarantee that you don't want to repeat this procedure.


jp_sucks


Jun 5, 2012, 12:46 PM
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Re: [rkelso] Getting back on the wall after SLAP tear surgury [In reply to]
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I went back and saw the orthopedic surgeon again (who's widely regarded as the top shoulder guy in the province and trains all the other orthos on shoulder techniques) and got some pretty frustrating news.

He told me that the MRI showed a high probability of a SLAP tear but that he didn't want to operate. He said that the surgery would include "shaving away" at the labrum and would most likely permanently detach the bicep - which would result in deformity and reduced strength for life.

I went for two "second opinions" and the other docs said simply that they would defer to this guy's judgement as he's the best.

My current "treatment" plan is to leave it as is for 6-8 months and then see how bad the pain is. If it's bearable, they'll just leave it as is. Not sure what to think at this point....


rkelso


Jun 5, 2012, 1:21 PM
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Re: [jp_sucks] Getting back on the wall after SLAP tear surgury [In reply to]
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Sorry to hear... however it still may not be a bad idea to get another opinion. The way my orthopedic surgeon explained it to me was that you can get some information from an MRI but it doesn't tell the whole story. It could be better or worse, there could be bone spurs that weren't detected...

Obviously I'm not going to sit here and pretend I know better, but that does sound a bit strange...

I did a lot of reading at http://slaptear.com. Some of it was helpful, quite a bit was not...

Best wishes on your recovery.


Jnclk


Jun 5, 2012, 2:05 PM
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Re: [jp_sucks] Getting back on the wall after SLAP tear surgury [In reply to]
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I would highly recommend giving PT a shot. Let the injury scar down and strengthen the rotator cuff. I suffered a SLAP tear three years ago. It takes a loooonnng time to heal. Even with surgery your shoulder will never be the same. Start getting used to that. However, I don't feel like it has held me back. Find a therapist and get to work.


jp_sucks


Jun 5, 2012, 2:09 PM
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Re: [Jnclk] Getting back on the wall after SLAP tear surgury [In reply to]
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Did you have surgery?


Jnclk


Jun 5, 2012, 2:12 PM
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No I did not and am glad that I didn't. The recovery protocall will be the same except much, much longer with surgery. The PT is definately worth a shot.


onceahardman


Jun 5, 2012, 4:59 PM
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Re: [Jnclk] Getting back on the wall after SLAP tear surgury [In reply to]
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Jnclk wrote:
I would highly recommend giving PT a shot. Let the injury scar down and strengthen the rotator cuff. I suffered a SLAP tear three years ago. It takes a loooonnng time to heal. Even with surgery your shoulder will never be the same. Start getting used to that. However, I don't feel like it has held me back. Find a therapist and get to work.

This is great advice. As bad as it sounds, the "best" surgeon may well be giving you the "best" advice. Just because you don't like the advice doesn't mean the advice is bad. Lots of surgeons would cut on you, it pays pretty well. But it is no guarantee of a good, or even a better, outcome than good, hard, rehab.


altelis


Jun 6, 2012, 2:01 PM
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Re: [onceahardman] Getting back on the wall after SLAP tear surgury [In reply to]
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They say it takes 15 years to train a good surgeon- 5 to teach how to operate, 5 to learn who to operate on and 5 more to learn who NOT to operate on.

As a general rule, I'd be more worried by the surgeon who jumps to surgery rather than shies away from it.

This whole discussion is also coming at an interesting time, given that an opinion article was recently published by the AAOS (american association of orthopedic surgeons) on the subject of SLAP tears. The gist of the article was that we may be over treating these injuries, primarily because we do a bad job of discriminating between different subtypes of SLAP tears. Some respond very well to surgery and others respond much better to PT. Sounds like your ortho was wise, eh?


jp_sucks


Jun 6, 2012, 6:53 PM
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Re: [altelis] Getting back on the wall after SLAP tear surgury [In reply to]
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I'm pretty sure he is giving me sound advice, just don't like hearing that there's not much they can do.

Not questioning the advice so much as unhappy about the news....


altelis


Jun 6, 2012, 7:09 PM
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I hear ya. Though, don't forget its not that there isn't anything that can be done, rather there's not a surgery they can perform.

YOU can put in the hard work of PT, and often these tears can get much better.


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