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  1. #1
    wreckrider
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    is there cycling after shoulder surgery??

    subtitle: when will this ever end? i'm 19 days after surgery to repair a rotator cuff tear and about 5 days into painful home rehab sessions. every time i go into the basement for something i have to pass by my nearly brand new cannondale synapse 5 (the best bike i've ever ridden) that i got a few mos before the pain got so bad i had to quit riding & go to the sports doc. i've had to quit working obviously altho my peeps at work text me every day about how everything is going to hell there without me. and there's only so much "beach soccer" & "lingere football" i can watch on late night cable tv while i try to sleep sitting up on my couch every night without going crazy. help guys! the surgeon told me i would be back on my cannon no later than say may but i need to hear it from the tribe to keep me going.
    Last edited by rosinante25; 01-23-12 at 02:28 AM.
    For those adventurers who "wish to wander into the history of their lives" Don Q-Cervantes
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  2. #2
    Senior Member cruisintx's Avatar
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    Patience weedhoppa

    Be patient, do your rehab exercises and it will happen. I had rotator cuff surgery on Sept. 14, 2010 (at age 56) and made my first post surgical ride on Dec, 28, 2010 then six more rides in Jan. 2011. The only limiting factor was the nasty winter weather here. As spring rolled around, everything was back to normal.

    Seroiusly, get yourself into a mental state that rehab is the most important part of each day and you will be fine in a few months. If you rush things and tear loose the surgical repair, things will only be worse -- much worse.
    Last edited by cruisintx; 01-23-12 at 04:47 AM.
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  3. #3
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Yep. Studies show that patients who are patient and stick to their rehab do much better in the long run.

  4. #4
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    I had RC surgery in June or 2008 and was back on my bike in about six weeks. Be patient and do your rehab and you will get there. Put your bike on a trainer and spin your legs if need be.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member John_V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billydonn View Post
    I had RC surgery in June or 2008 and was back on my bike in about six weeks. Be patient and do your rehab and you will get there. Put your bike on a trainer and spin your legs if need be.
    Agree!

    If you have a trainer, I would make use of it. If not, see if you can borrow one from a friend that has one. I know that it's not the same as riding the bike outdoors, but at times, it's much better than nothing. Just keep doing your PT and ride the trainer and you'll be back on the road before you know it.

    I thought I was going to go nuts from not riding all of last month after a back injury from a bike vs bike collision in November. When the back brace came off, I put the bike on a trainer and did 5 to 10 minutes of low resistance, slow spinning about two days a week just to keep the legs going. I had to use a step stool to get on the bike because I couldn't lift my leg up high enough to get it over the saddle without my back muscles going into spasms. The hardest part was working my way from riding in the upright position (no contact with the bars) when I started, to the normal riding position with my hands on the hoods. I did this until I was able to get in a 10 mile ride on the trainer, then 15 miles and finally I got it on the road and started increasing the distance. I did a total of 43 miles yesterday with some minor irritation to the lower back but it was nothing that a good nights sleep couldn't cure.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Ruby13's Avatar
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    Well there is good news and bad news after RC surgery. A little history first. I've had both RC's done, one went the a year later the other. First was the worst, the surgery was not bad (done by the NY Mets orthopedist at the time) but the rehab was 12 weeks of torture. I never thought it would get better. It just takes time. Now I've also had 7 back operations (on LT disability) and in June having rods put in my lower back and my surgeon says I should be back on the bike by year end.

    Surgeries / injuries suck but unfortunately for many a part of life that eventually passes. Just keep up with the rehab and you'll be riding and the surgery will be a distant memory.

    Last edited by Ruby13; 01-23-12 at 08:10 AM. Reason: addition of stats

  7. #7
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    I had rotator cuff surgery last March 1. I was careful to do all the recovery therapy with diligence and consistency and I kept up with pain meds. I was back on my Synapse by mid-June with a goal of riding the 500 mile Cycle Oregon ride in September, mission accomplished. I am riding long distances now pain free and I have full movement with the shoulder.

    Don't worry, work hard on the PT and take the pain meds you need.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  8. #8
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    Not RC surgery, but had a shoulder reconstruction after tearing a few inches off the glenoid labrum w/ recurrent subluxation.
    Was in a shoulder immobilizer 6 weeks and in PT 3x/week for several months. Had another surgery a year later to remove a loose screw that was scraping the head of the humerus.

    It took a while but ended up swimming 24,000 yards/week as a competitive Masters swimmer for a decade.

    One year post-op I only noticed the shoulder when:
    * carrying a Big Gulp drink on that side
    * uncomfortable with duffel bag strap on that shoulder
    * could not sleep on that side and need to small pillows to prop the shoulder when sleeping on back or on other side.
    * noticed tiny difference in external rotation when swimming backstroke

    I've since taken up cycling instead of swimming and have found that the surgeon was correct, the reconstruction surgery is NOT a 100% cure.
    BOTH shoulders are starting to get sloppy again without the swimming and weightlifting strengthening it, so it's time to do some rehab exercises to build up joint stability then continue to cross-train to keep upper body strong.

    Follow the doc's orders first and foremost.
    If he OK's it find a gym with semi-recumbant stationary bikes. In my area you can usually get 2-week free guest passes. They are very friendly on sore shoulders.

  9. #9
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    I had rotator cuff surgery when I was 60. Went to physical therapy twice a week for 4 months. I rode the commuter bike to PT the last 5 weeks.

    Had rotator cuff surgery on the other shoulder when I was 64. PT lasted 3 months. I was back on the bike after about 6 weeks.

    Glad you went to a sports med doc. Me too.
    I know it's B-O-R-I-N-G but have you tried riding the trainer to help keep the legs and lungs in good working order for spring?
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---
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  10. #10
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    I amazed that it took eight posts before someone mentioned "bent", and then only in passing. Heal well and do your PT exercises

  11. #11
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    like these other posters, I had rotator cuff surgery. in 1995 (right), 1996 (left) 1997 (left, re-injured it), and A/C joint surgery in 2000 (right). finally at age 55, I had a torn rotator cuff, torn labrum, torn biceps tendon, and an AC joint repair (left) on Dec 1, 2010. that last one took 8 months to totally quit hurting. but I was on the trainer early, doing up to 2 hrs with one arm or sitting up on the seat. its very frustrating, but at least you had it done in the winter so you dont miss too much warm weather riding. I had to ride my sons MTB for a while, after I got outside, to keep from leaning on the that shoulder too much. also. like a poster said, be fanatical about your PT. and after PT, spend some time in the weight room at least twice a week. the more muscle mass in there, the more protection you have against future injury. and, sleeping is the worst pain, isnt it?

  12. #12
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by overthehillmedi View Post
    I amazed that it took eight posts before someone mentioned "bent", and then only in passing. Heal well and do your PT exercises
    Feedback from those who have gone through similar procedures seems to confirm that with time and investment/engagement in rehab things will get much better; suggesting a recumbent bike would be premature. I'll refrain.
    Winter - especially a Chicago winter - is the best time to be off the bike.
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  13. #13
    wreckrider
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    HEY THANX, i mean it, i really needed that!!! made me think too, about my right (non-injured) shoulder. when i quit riding in october my right shoulder had started hurting slightly the same way my left had back in june that i ignored till it hurt so much i had to stop riding. from what i read in several of the posts many suffered a second injury to their other shoulder after surgery on the first. does that mean that even if u do preventive pt and strengthening exercises on the non-injured shoulder u could not prevent the second injury from happening? after i heal from this i am planning to strengthen both shoulders to prevent further injury. but the posts make me worry. so thanx again guys & yes i basically sleep only when i pass out. and i'm gonna get the wife to help me dig out an old stationary bike we have in the basement so i can prep for that much anticipated upcoming spring ride.
    Last edited by rosinante25; 01-24-12 at 12:37 AM.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member CHAS's Avatar
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    Do the PT.
    After four shoulder surgeries I know that one can get back on the bike afterwards.
    Don't get a trainer until the doc approves. You will need to be able to set it up and get on and off the bike.
    Maybe a recumbent trainer at the gym?
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  15. #15
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    My wife had shoulder surgery. She's not a biker; she's got horses to take care of! But it did take a couple of months to get back to full speed again. Hang in there, you'll be back by spring.

  16. #16
    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    I've had many knee surgeries, including getting my left TKR, and a right hip replaced, and 07/2010 had RC on my right shoulder. The RC surgery was the hardest (for me) to recover from~! My PT Doc explained it to me this way; smaller muscles = less blood flow to the repaired area = longer recovery time. I was first told "six weeks" off the bike, which magically became six months!

    To be honest, it took the better part of a year for me fell like the shoulder is fully recovered - but, we all heal differently, and some get a bit more done when they're in your shoulder than others.

    I was told plain and simple; if I fall onto that shoulder during the first six weeks, I'll ruin what the surgery did. If you can at all help it, just be careful for this critical time, and PT is key to good rehab.
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  17. #17
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosinante25 View Post
    from what i read in several of the posts many suffered a second injury to their other shoulder after surgery on the first. does that mean that even if u do preventive pt and strengthening exercises on the non-injured shoulder u could not prevent the second injury from happening?
    Not necessarily. My pt involved exercising both shoulders equally.
    My first surgery was because of a car/bike accident I had while riding to work one morning. Guess who won?
    My second surgery was because of a work related "accident".
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  18. #18
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    that whole second injury thing on the other side - few people are perfect genetically. many overuse injuries occur because of that fact. you just have to choose your mother and father very carefully. and like some of these guys said, when you do your PT treat your un-injured side the same way, it'll prevent injury on that side and keep you from having strength imbalances. and, do those excercises for life.

  19. #19
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Ride the stationary bike in the basement and hide your C'dale in a closet 'til you are OK.
    Had double shoulder fracture (crashed at 35 mph coming down a mountain) a few years ago.
    Was then only on my mid-70s.
    Wait 'til you get older . . . it gets better!

  20. #20
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    I feel for you. I have a new synapse hi mod on my trainer that has never seen the road. My other 2011 synapse hi mod had a nice three week run befor I crashed it and broke the frame along with my acetabulum. Oh, by the way that is the socket in your pelvis that your femur goes into! Four hr surgery, Three weeks in the hospital, no walking for three months. The accident was this past July. Been doing my rehab PT and spending time on the trainer ( twice a week). And just stopped walking with a cane. I could go on... Point is, count your blessings, buck up, get the hell back on your bike in the spring and enjoy the hell out of it. Look at your recovery not your injury. See the image in your mind of you on that Cannondale! When you're back on the road you'll have tears of joy in your eyes as you know what you went through to get back out there.My motto: I'm not done yet! You can use that if you like! The harder you work the luckier you get.

  21. #21
    wreckrider
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    thanx adambomb. i was just having some of those "am i done?" thoughts that run thru the mind during the lows when i read ur post. ur right, we're no way near ready to give up. it'll just make it that much sweeter when we ride again. hang in there, i'll be thinking of u.
    For those adventurers who "wish to wander into the history of their lives" Don Q-Cervantes
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosinante25 View Post
    subtitle: when will this ever end? i'm 19 days after surgery to repair a rotator cuff tear and about 5 days into painful home rehab sessions. every time i go into the basement for something i have to pass by my nearly brand new cannondale synapse 5 (the best bike i've ever ridden) that i got a few mos before the pain got so bad i had to quit riding & go to the sports doc. i've had to quit working obviously altho my peeps at work text me every day about how everything is going to hell there without me. and there's only so much "beach soccer" & "lingere football" i can watch on late night cable tv while i try to sleep sitting up on my couch every night without going crazy. help guys! the surgeon told me i would be back on my cannon no later than say may but i need to hear it from the tribe to keep me going.
    I had a non-tear rotator cuff injury that did now need surgery. I needed about 14 weeks of PT, and they never told me not to ride a bike. They said don't do anything that hurts. After that 14 weeks, I was in quite good shape. I could do nearly anything without pain. But essentially, DO NOT ignore your therapy at home or at the PT's office, and don't re-injure it.

  23. #23
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    Hi,
    Can someone advise me? I am having shoulder surgery next month for a torn labrum. My plan is to do an interval training program for the three months afterward. I was going to do it on a trainer but I am wondering if I will be able to be stable enough with one hand to do intervals. Maybe I should go to the gym and use a spin bike. Any thoughts? s

  24. #24
    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smkogan View Post
    Hi,
    Can someone advise me? I am having shoulder surgery next month for a torn labrum. My plan is to do an interval training program for the three months afterward. I was going to do it on a trainer but I am wondering if I will be able to be stable enough with one hand to do intervals. Maybe I should go to the gym and use a spin bike. Any thoughts? s
    Do not know if you've read all the above replies or not? I've had 10 knee surgeries, including replacement, and I've had a hip replaced. My shoulder surgery (rotator cuff, bone spurs, and a tear) was my longest recovery of them all. I was bluntly told that any movement that causes pain is bad, and during the first six weeks after the risk of damaging the repair is great. Very different than knee or hip! Many people I have spoken with state shoulders take a year (or longer) to heal. My shoulder bothers me more than my new hip, and was done almost a year before the hip. PT is critical~! Good luck to you!
    Peter_C
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