Reach for the Stars

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Hello DPM readers!


Have you ever had a shoulder injury? What was it like and how did you make it better?

Well, I am struggling with a shoulder injury right now. I’ve had 3 different diagnosis and all I know is that it’s still injured and I have to be careful. Am I still climbing? You bet! I took 6 weeks off this summer to no avail. My experience (and this is in no means a recommendation for anyone) with injuries has been that unless it’s something major, there usually isn’t anything that can be done about it. Therefore, it’s better to blow something out and get it fixed than nurse an unknown and forego what you need to do in life, which in my case is work (I sit at a desk typing (or using Dragon) for hours) and climbing. Sometimes, the desk work is harder than climbing. You might think that odd, but I think it has something to do with the stationary position. At least when I’m climbing, I’m getting blood into the area by using it. I just have to be careful how I load it. :)

I’m in Physical Therapy right now, actually had it this morning and currently my arm is partially numb from the elbow down. It’s kind of annoying, but I’m getting some tissue work done this afternoon that will hopefully assist with any impingements. I’m eager to hear your story so please share something.


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  1. I was told I needed surgery after a snowboarding accident left me with a vertical tear of the bicep tendon, a torn labrum and torn rotator cuff. I elected to try PT first and I am glad I did. Although the labrum is still torn causing bumping and clicking in the socket, it does not cause any pain and my shoulder is stable. It will never be 100% but surgery would not have produced that either. Best of luck to you and I wish you a speedy recovery.


    7 Sep 11 at 8:07 pm     Reply

  2. Hi Audrey –

    This is mike, the former head coach from Edgeworks climbing.

    I’ve dealt with 3 major shoulder injuries in six years – two required surgery, one I dealt with though only PT.

    I think it really depends on how much it is affecting your climbing – the ones that required surgery were irritating enough that even guiding 5.9/10 at Exit 38 meant a full evening of icing and a hard time sleeping. The recovery from the second surgery is about a year out at this point, and the shoulder feels very solid climbing back up to 12b/c, but I still wouldn’t trust it with a one-arm dead hang.

    The one that I dealt with without surgery occurred when I was 18, and was damaged to the point that I couldn’t buckle a car seat. I think being young made a major difference with that healing, but there are still random shoulder issues that pop up with it.

    I’d say get an MRI if you want to be absolutely sure, but beyond that – if you can rehab and climb without it getting worse, great, it will hopefully start slowly clearing up. However, if there are any sharp points in movement (i.e. everytime you do a cross-through you feel pain) I’d be kinda worried.

    My two cents. Shoulder joints are straight strange, so g’luck.

    mike K

    10 Sep 11 at 12:40 am     Reply

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