As I’ve been dubbed “Cripple Jay” on our podcasts for a minor ankle injury, I figured I’d go out and destroy my shoulder to live up to the moniker. Almost 4 months ago, I dislocated my shoulder while lifting weights; I also put it back in place myself and it was one of the worst pains I’ve ever felt. Since then, I’ve had issues lifting my arm and doing some basic activities.
I went to my doctor a week after the dislocation. I was placed in a sling for 4 weeks to keep it immobilized and followed that up with 4 weeks of physical therapy. While I was able to build strength in my shoulder, I still had pain and limited movement. I went back to the doctor, who sent me off for an MRI.
A normal MRI is bad enough; you spend 30 minutes in a tight tube with no movement (while I’m not claustrophobic, I’m a big fan of having nothing invade my personal space). This was worse since it was a contrast MRI; they inserted a needle into my shoulder joint and injected a large bag of dye into it. The dye shows the tears better than a regular MRI. Since I don’t handle needles well, I was nervous. While I didn’t have issues during the injection, there was a ton of discomfort from having the needle in the joint and that night led to worse than normal soreness.
The MRI reveals I had torn my labrum around the back, from 2 o’clock counter-clockwise to 5 o’clock in the picture; there was also other cartilage damage and a small fracture. As a baseball fan, I’ve heard quite a bit about the labrum, but had no clue what it was. After research, I’d learned that the labrum was a circular piece of cartilage that connected the shoulder joint to the arm.
My regular doctor was not able to repair this and offered a referral to another doctor. In meeting with my second doctor, he recommended surgery. At this point, I’ve done everything I can do without being cut open. My surgery is scheduled for Tuesday. The plan is for them to drill 2-4 anchors into my shoulder; the anchors will have sutures that attach the labrum back to the bone. The doctor will also clean up the other cartilage and check the status of the fracture. It’s out patient surgery and I’ll be home the same day; the doctor anticipates it’ll take an hour and a half for the surgery and I’ll be at the surgery center for 5 hours.
I’ll be doing updates throughout the recovery process. I’m looking at 4-6 weeks in a sling (with limited work and no driving). I then face 4-6 more weeks of physical therapy. After that, I try to get back to normal; I was told that it would be 3 months before starting any kind of cardio workouts and probably 6 months before I can get back to lifting weights. I’ve done a lot of research on the injury and recovery over the last 4 months and have learned that little thing, like walking, can be painful the first few days; I’ve also learned that there are good days and bad days, which I’ve experienced already.
I’ll attempt to give an update after the surgery, but it might be a few days since typing will be a chore with one hand.