Learning about the Rotator Cuff.

Last week, I finally decided to schedule my surgery.  Hopefully the end of October I will have my shoulder repaired.  Week by week it’s been getting more painful; I’ve been taking more pain meds.  I can’t ignore it any longer.

Last December, while flying home from Vegas, a kind gentleman helped me put my suitcase in the overhead bin.  But when he assisted me by taking the case out of my right arm, I tore several tendons.  From the latest MRI, I have a full thickness tear (a hole) in the labrum tendon, a partial thickness to full thickness tear (pinhole) of the superspinitus, and a partial tear of the bicep tendon.

As explained here:

The labrum is a rim of soft tissue that makes the socket more like a cup. The labrum turns the flat surface of the glenoid into a deeper socket that molds to fit the head of the humerus.

The soft labral tissue can be caught between the glenoid and the humerus. When this happens, the labrum may start to tear. If the tear gets worse, it may become a flap of tissue that can move in and out of the joint, getting caught between the head of the humerus and the glenoid. The flap can cause pain and catching when you move your shoulder. Several tendons and ligaments attach to the labrum that help maintain the stability of the shoulder. So when the labrum tears, the shoulder often becomes much less stable.

In the image above, you can see that the bicep tendon lies directly above the common location of a labrum tear.  And just above that point lies the supraspinitus tendon.  Three tendons- one place.  This is why this is such a bad place to get injured.

I definitely started experiencing that catching within hours of the injury.  It continues to this day, with me never knowing exactly when it will happen.

We’re hoping on a debridement only surgery – the ortho will clean up any bone spurs in the joint that might be irritating and tearing the tendons, plus cleaning up all the frayed edges in the tendons.  A two week recovery at home, limited movements afterward (nothing overhead) and 70% back in 4 months.

If I’m unlucky, he will get in there (arthroscopically) and need to tie the tendons to the bone beneath them.  Longer recovery but no chance of the tendons tearing further.

Until that time, I’m being careful, not doing much exercise and generally feeling the tension from the pain and lack of exercise.  Yes, I can still do some things- leg machines, cardio, some ab work.  Nothing that I particularly like, but I’d probably be homicidal if I couldn’t at least do this much.  I’m living on Aleve and the occasional vicodin…

October can’t come soon enough.

One response to “Learning about the Rotator Cuff.


    bring on october.

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