I am new here but would appreciate feedback. A little over a month ago I tripped at work and held onto the wall, trying to use my right hand to catch myself as I have bad knees. Amazingly I broke my humerus, have a full tear in my distal anterior supraspinatus tendon, a full tear in my infraspinatus tendon, partial tearing in my teres minor tendon and possibly a bicep tear (per my PT). Talk about pain . . . of course I am right handed too! I have been having passive PT for the last couple of weeks as my humerus heals and wear an arm sling. my ortho told me this past week that I probably will not have to have surgery. trust me, I dont want surgery but his response really surprised me? Is it possible for the tendons to heal on their own? i must admit that I am not 100% for sure that the ortho read my mri report as it was done at a different facility and the report came over late to him. every piece of paper he gives me mentions the humerus break but not the tendon tears. At this last appointment, I asked him if he was concerned about my muscle or tendon tears and he just said that these are common with this type of injury. Hmmmm . . .
My pain level is very high. I use Mobic during day and tramadol at night but still having hard time keeping on top of pain. Very limited movement; pt is excruciating. All I am doing is the sling and passive pt to keep shoulder from locking up. unfortunately I took drs comment abt not needing surgery at face value but starting wondering about it after the appt. I am to continue passive pt 3x a week for next month then see him again. No the tears were from the injury as i did not have pain nor limited movement before accident.
Let me give you a little advice. Get to a shoulder specialist. Now. And if that doc is one, go to another. Now. I had a similar experience and now have a totally wrecked shoulder, no rotator cuff left, a reverse replacement, and a lifetime of problems ahead.
Wow. I am pretty concerned now. The gals at work suggested that I get a second opinion and I was seriously considering it anyway. trying to figure out how to do it tho as the injury is being handled through workmans comp. can i get a second opinion with their insurance? if not, i wonder if my personal insurance carrier would pay for this?
I don't know about worker's comp, mine was not. Traumatic tears should be repaired asap, the break complicates things. My surgery was delayed 4 months. I can't prove that was the cause of all subsequent problems, but my first surgeon did admit it(he was not the first doc i saw), and my current surgeon has said that my initial treatment was full of poor judgement. I have had 6 surgeries in 3.5 years and the outcome is dismal. Right now i have one of the best surgeons in the country, but i got to him too late. Really, do not delay.
Well, I had the follow up appointment with my Ortho this week and he said that I should do 4 more weeks of Physical Therapy because he thinks it is stiff and that is why I am in pain still and I cannot lift my arm. He had me push with my hand against his hand and said that I am strong and that shows that I do have use of my rotator cuff. He also said that a break with tears is different than just "tears". That was news to me? Meanwhile, I am going to set up the physical therapy appts but at the same time, picked up another copy of my MRI today and am setting an appointment with another Ortho who came highly recommended by a friend (for a second opinion). I just want the satisfaction of knowing that I am doing the "right" thing . . . I don't want to be told 1-2 months down the road that I need the surgery but it would have been better to have it sooner. So frustrating. Good news is that break appears to have healed but I still cannot lift my arm all of the way nor dress myself in the morning. What do you all think?
Well, I had a follow up appointment with my original ortho and he agrees that something needs to be done with my shoulder. I still have very little ROM (cannot completely dress myself, etc.). Also, I cannot lift my arm higher than my shoulder and forget reaching behind my back. So, providing the insurance company approves it, I am going to see another Ortho in his practice tomorrow am. Fortunately this new doctor comes highly recommended by my Physical Therapists and he primarily handles shoulders. This is going on 3 months now since the injury and I have been through many very painful PT sessions . . . I understand that we had to wait for the break to heal before something was done about my tears, but it has healed now. . . time to address the issue of the tears. So frustrating.
good luck! I understand the frustration, but be prepared for a long recovery period. As it turned out for me, the intra-operative fracture I had in March will take months to heal. I still have significant pain 10 weeks later, still have not started any PT but passive stretching, still sleeping in the recliner. Any simple shoulder issue is complex - if that makes sense, so add some complexity and it becomes a huge challenge.
I feel for you! I know that it has been a LONG 4 year period for you. It is hard to believe that you have had 6 operations on your arm so far. I surely hope my case isn't as hard (we just don't know, do we?). Yes, I know this will be challenging and I am trying to steel myself for that, if I end up having surgery. I will update as I find more out. I did speak with my Physical Therapist this morning and she said that my original ortho put in his notes that I probably need another MRI. Thank you.
My original Ortho referred me to another Ortho in his practice who handles only shoulders. This second doctor (Dr. D.) said that he thinks the bone has not healed all of the way yet and that is why the pain was so intense with Physical Therapy. He informed me that I had a very big break (which is the first time I heard this) and it is taking a long time to completely heal. Due to this, he is stopping my physical therapy and just having me do some light stretches at home, where I am stop as soon as the pain becomes bad. Then I have another follow up with my original Ortho on June 27th. I must admit that this makes sense as even the Physical Therapists could not understand why my pain was so incredible when they were stretching me. We will see how things go/look in a month.
Hang in there. Yes, I think that cutting back on PT is probably a good idea. My PT is only to do very simple stretching for 6 weeks - hardly worth going to the office for that but i have to. I really do wish the docs would be more open, but I think they won't because they just really don't know how long things will take and if they don't tell us, we can't hold them to it! or be disappointed.
I know what you mean! I was frustrated with how long it was taking when I had my follow up with my original ortho a couple of weeks ago . . . but it wasn't until I met with this last ortho that I understood how much damage I really did to my shoulder. He said that when you have two pages of MRI results and this bad of a break, that I just have to be patient. And I still don't know if I am going to have surgery at a later date. Dr. D. said that it would be a travesty to try the surgery now as the bone would just fall apart. You hang in there too!
I had my follow up appointment with my original ortho yesterday. He took another xray and the bone appears to have healed. I still have quite a bit of pain (taking 6 Aleves a day . . . would like to take more but the stomach is starting to bother me some). Even though there has been improvement, I still cannot lift my arm beyond the height of my shoulder and have limited ROM in all directions--frustrating when this injury was on my right side and I am right handed. The challenge is that I have a tear in my left shoulder too that is pretty aggravated after taking the brunt of everything since February. Sigh. I am going to go in for another MRI once Workers comp approves it. It is hard to believe that I had this injury in February and I am still having this many issues. Good news is that the bone FINALLY appears to have healed!
I would not have believed it either, that breaks can take so long to heal. But I believe it now. I had my 3 month xray taken, and there is still an obvious fracture line. My one doc said it is good that it hasn't shifted, the other one won't say if it is healed or not- just that it "looks good." My ROM IS better, but will never be great - around 90+/-. At least I can reach handlebars on a bike now. That is all I can do for exercise as it doesn't bother my shoulder.
I did get approved for disability, though - through my work private insurance. I opted for long term disability insurance, never thinking I would need it. Guess what, I did. They approved me without question. Guess 6 surgeries and 3 replacement operations on the dominant arm qualifies!