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Old 11-29-17, 06:50 AM   #1
one4smoke
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Rotator Cuff Issues and Cycling

So, for the last several years, I've been having issues with rotator cuff type symptoms in my right shoulder. It comes and goes. Comes, when I throw anything repetitively overhand with any type of force, such as a baseball. More recently, it flared up when I went bowling (something I used to be heavily into years ago). When it's giving me problems, it is pretty painful especially when I lift my arm straight up over my head, or reach behind my back. I guess it's about time I see the doc...

But my question relating to cycling is this... Whenever it would flare up in the past, when I only had my straight bar hybrid Roam 2, I wouldn't necessarily feel any discomfort while riding. Now, with the road bike with drop bars, I'm feeling it somewhat.

Is a hybrid with more of an upright position and flat bars, better for someone with this issue, or does it just depend?

Last edited by one4smoke; 11-29-17 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 11-29-17, 09:10 AM   #2
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Consider seeing a spine pain specialist, or a pain clinic. Just might be nerve pain........
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Old 11-29-17, 10:28 AM   #3
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I've had a torn rotator cuff for a few years and have put off having it repaired because it has improved over time (or I have adjusted to it).

I mostly ride a road bike, and occasionally mtb or hybrid. Cycling is one activity that, for me, is unaffected by the injury. No difference between flat or road bars.
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Old 11-29-17, 10:57 AM   #4
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Another vote for getting a diagnosis from a doctor. There are things you can do, which will vary with the diagnosis. Maybe it's rotator cuff, maybe it's impingement, maybe it's something else.

Since you note a difference between bikes, you might post photos of you on both bikes in the Bike Fitting forum.
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Old 11-29-17, 10:58 AM   #5
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I think it's a skill question. If I can remember to keep my elbows bent, my rotator cuff is fine. When I get tired and lock my elbows, my shoulder tells me about it within a few miles.


Hybrid or MTB "sit up and beg" posture might keep enough weight off your arms that it doesn't impact your shoulder.
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Old 11-29-17, 12:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by one4smoke View Post
So, for the last several years, I've been having issues with rotator cuff type symptoms in my right shoulder. It comes and goes. Comes, when I throw anything repetitively overhand with any type of force, such as a baseball. More recently, it flared up when I went bowling (something I used to be heavily into years ago). When it's giving me problems, it is pretty painful especially when I lift my arm straight up over my head, or reach behind my back. I guess it's about time I see the doc...

But my question relating to cycling is this... Whenever it would flare up in the past, when I only had my straight bar hybrid Roam 2, I wouldn't necessarily feel any discomfort while riding. Now, with the road bike with drop bars, I'm feeling it somewhat.

Is a hybrid with more of an upright position and flat bars, better for someone with this issue, or does it just depend?
Had similar issues and also thought is was a rotator cuff issue. Turned out to be adhesive capsulitis. The ortho Dr. gave me a cortisone shot and exercises/stretches to do. It felt completely normal the morning after the shot. I do the stretches, but not as often as I probably should.
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Old 11-29-17, 12:35 PM   #7
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I also concur with the suggestion to see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. In 2013 I thought I had just pulled a muscle in my bicep. But even with laying off the weight training, it kept getting worse to the point that I had to get creative to take my t-shirts off. I couldn't put my arm behind my back any longer and couldn't sleep on that side. Once the insanity of the fall semester let up, I saw a doctor who diagnosed me with a frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis). A 5-day course of oral steroids plus exercises/stretches was what it took to relieve the pain as well as regain my full range of motion. I haven't had any issues since that time.

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Old 11-29-17, 02:07 PM   #8
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I had a tear on my right rotator cuff two years ago. The doctor just sent me to physical therapy and now it is a good as new. I still ride drops with no issue.

The answer to your last question is "yes". Almost every situation has differences.

Quote:
or does it just depend?
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Old 11-30-17, 05:45 AM   #9
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I tore my left rotator cuff many years ago in a sweater incident. Unfortunately I was also training for my very first 200K randonnee. I ignored it for a while ... not really believing I could do that much damage getting dressed in the morning. But it kept getting worse. Finally I visited a Dr and it was put into a sling so I wouldn't keep using it in day-to-day life ... and I started going to physio to build up the muscles around it.

But the date for the 200K was looming.

I had been riding my trainer indoors, which was fine because I didn't need put any weight on my left arm, but I needed to make a decision about what bicycle to ride outside.

I tried my road bicycle ... big ol' nope!

I tried my 40 lb upright department store mountain bike ... yeah, OK, I could manage that.

So I rode my first 200K randonnee on that mountain bike, and spent quite a bit of time with my right hand on the handlebars and my left hand across my abdomen. Fortunately it was flat, I was in good shape, and I was a bit younger.
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Old 11-30-17, 07:38 AM   #10
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Could be bursitis. Sounds like same symptoms. I have that and a past history of rotator cuff issues. I had a steroid injection and that worked for a long while but it started coming back. What works for me is wet heat after a ride - a hot shower concentrating the stream on the shoulder.

I think it is from transmitting vibrations from the road to your shoulder. Your roam suspension fork absorbed them, now on your road bike you absorb them. Try to ride relaxed with your arms slightly bent so your arms take the vibrations more than your shoulders.
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Old 11-30-17, 03:26 PM   #11
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I can't offer much advice for the bike question. But definitely see a doc. Most rotator cuff issues seem to respond well to physical therapy. I had problems in the past, not even related to an injury. In my case, it was just over-use from swimming and diving.
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Old 11-30-17, 10:59 PM   #12
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Two summers ago, I tried surfing. After about 6 weeks, my shoulders started hurting so I stopped the surfing thing. I expected them to heal and they just got worse. Over the last 16 months, one shoulder got a little better and the one that wasn't too bad is now the worst one. I can't reach in my jersey pockets without wincing pain. For a while last year, one arm would hurt a little after an hour or so many of riding. Now it doesn't. From everything I've read, this frozen shoulder thing strikes for a good reason or for no reason and can last 2 years. I WILL BE 100% BY THIS SUMMER!
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Old 11-30-17, 11:28 PM   #13
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Sure that's not shoulder impingement? There's a good (99%) chance you can work through shoulder pain pretty easily-- just Google--e.g., "Dr. Kirsch, hanging, brachiation"

Just involves, remodeling...

No surgery, NSAIDS, etc. required...
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Old 12-01-17, 06:09 AM   #14
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First off...like others have stated...you should get properly diagnosed by a doc, and with an MRI. But, because of your description of pain when throwing, lifting overhead, etc...it does sound like a torn rotator cuff. I had the same issues due to a torn rotator cuff (supraspinatus muscle) that was the result of throwing a heavy rock. Doctor said MRI showed the muscle hanging on by just a couple of strands. He did NOT like the idea of me riding a bike while in that condition because a simple fall (i.e. even a slight crash while riding) and putting my hands out to stop the fall...could very easily result in a complete separation of the already compromised muscle. That would make the surgery to repair it much more difficult...and the already tremendously uncomfortable recovery much worse. Instead of just suturing the muscle securely to your shoulder...the doctor now would have to dig down into your upper arm to pull the muscle back up. Secondly, if it is actually torn, putting off the surgery allows scar tissue to form and that makes proper repair all the more difficult. Good luck.

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Old 12-01-17, 09:12 AM   #15
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Old 12-01-17, 09:45 AM   #16
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Got another video? That one won't open.
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Old 12-01-17, 10:29 AM   #17
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I used to have that problem brought on by the tennis serve. My discomfort/pain had persisted for months and was resolved with noticeable improvement within a few days and almost 100% recovery in a few months. The cure was a series of exercises to stretch and strengthen muscles in the affected area. These exercises were prescribed by a chiropractor and had a near immediate effect and are almost exactly as shown in the link. https://www.healthline.com/health/rotator-cuff-injury-stretches#sidelying-
I hope they work for you.
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Old 12-01-17, 10:56 AM   #18
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I hurt my right shoulder from multiple mountainbike crashes. Probably not as bad as yours and not sure what is wrong with it. I sometimes get pain when reaching overhead for something or throwing a ball. I had a Trek OCLV roadbike and long rides (4+ hrs) made it sore due to the constant vibrations. I purchased a 2017 Spec Roubaix with the future shock and helped a bunch. The 20mm of travel is not noticeable. It just takes the "sting" out of the small bumps.

But agree, go see a doctor to be sure.
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Old 12-22-17, 08:23 PM   #19
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Anyone over 50 who is riding or otherwise working out should take the easy proactive approach to shoulder maintenance. It involves some light (under 5 pound) weights and one of those rubber band thingies (Theraband etc). Take 15 minutes three or four times a week and do the rotator cuff exercises listed in the American Institute of Orthopedic Surgeons website, called OrthoInfo. You wonít even break a sweat while doing them, say while watching the news some other show. Itíll could save you a lot of trouble later.
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Old 12-22-17, 11:50 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
Got another video? That one won't open.
Here's the original source for all of the info that various PT's would be talking about (i.e., a cure for 99% of all shoulder pain):
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 7744288._UY400_SS400_.jpg (30.5 KB, 65 views)
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Old 01-02-18, 01:59 PM   #21
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Rotator cuff

I had surgery in 2007 on my left shoulder. I had tears in my cuff, impingement and bone spurs. I also developed AC arthritis. As an avid motorcyclist, I basically gave up riding sport bikes because of the numbness and pain I would get from applying weight to my left side by leaning forward to the bars. I know have a touring bike and a supermoto. I ride a hybrid with riser bars and no issues yet!
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Old 01-02-18, 06:28 PM   #22
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I suppose every injury is different. I have torn both of mine, the most recent in a MTB crash. I didn’t separate my shoulder as I’ve seen many do, but just had bad pain with certain motions like raising my arm over my head. After almost a year without improvement, I finally was evaluated and prescribed PT. Those sessions were designed to break up scaring, and relieve chronic strains from muscle imbalance and impingement. I wasn’t convinced that it would work; but after several weeks I saw significant improvement.
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Old 01-02-18, 11:03 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by one4smoke View Post
When it's giving me problems, it is pretty painful especially when I lift my arm straight up over my head, or reach behind my back.
After re-reading this it occurred to me that you probably have a bone spur that is causing the re-occurring pain...when you throw, left over your head, etc...and continued activity of that nature may eventually cause a more significant tear of the muscle. I had a spur...the doc removed it when I had surgery to repair the torn muscle. My tear was caused by a traumatic activity...from throwing. But he said that because of the spur it would have eventually worn through and torn anyway. You really ought to see about getting your situation corrected. Rotator cuff surgery is no fun recovering from.

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