How long after rotator surgery?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Mark Yoshida, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. Went down to Oregon to fish a couple weeks ago. While carrying 3 rods and equipment down a wet hill, my feet went out from under me. I saved the rods, but tore my right shoulder rotator tendon from the bone. Tried to fish, but unable to lift my arm more than 3" with extreme pain. Had my son load up the boats after fishing and drove home on Sunday to the ER. No broken bones, but having surgery to hopefully reattach at the end of the month.

    My question is for those of you that had their rotator reattached is how long until you could start casting and fish?

    I will talk with my surgeon after the surgery for his opinion, but will miss some good stillwater time. I am able to lift the arm more each day, but not enough to fish and lift the pram or pontoon into the truck.
    Sucks to be old and clumsy.
  2. I fished 3 days after rotator cuff surgery. I wouldn't recommend it but had to do it. Float tubing with a shoulder sling and not really casting or moving my arm. Just enough to get it out there. Wouldn't do it again, though. If you're looking for recovery time? They'll tell you it's a 6 month process but it'll be a couple years until it's healed, hopefully. Most painful surgery/therapy/recovery I've ever been thru. I'd wait until it's mostly healed which could be up to 6 months. Full range of motion won't come for a lot longer than that.
  3. Dang Mark! Sorry to hear about your shoulder. I figured we would start running into one another more often, having joined you in retirement. Considerate it just a temporary set back. I recently took a hard spill like that on a muddy clay trail in my felts. I feel fortunate that all that was injured was my pride! (I now have lug sole wading boots for those slimy trail conditions)

    Take care. Speedy recovery! We'll see you back out there before you know it!
  4. That is too bad, Mark. You're going to be out of commission for a while.

    I'll try and do my share of fishing on your behalf.

    Just stick to the program they set up and don't push it.

    Hope to see you sooner rather than later.

  5. I am shooting for late winter/early spring. Lots of hard work, thanks PT
    Congrats on the retirement Gregg. Let's fish again sometime after the repair.
    Fish and report lots Scott. I need distractions during the recovery.
  6. I had mine done in high school as a result of a football injury. I was 5 months on the dot to be cleared to play baseball (non-throwing shoulder) but it was probably 10-11 months before I was really healed up completely and that was at 17 years old. I would predict 4-6 months until you are casting regularly again. I think it will actually be good therapy for you, just start slow with short casts and short sessions and work your way up in distance and duration.

    Sent from my HTC_Amaze_4G now Free
  7. Sorry to hear that Mark. Good luck with surgery and a speedy recovery.
  8. I found that it took at least six months and then some more.


    They are very important in the development of muscle memory.
    Do not expect everything to be the same as before surgery. It never is.

    Good luck and congratulations on your retirement.
    Alex MacDonald likes this.
  9. Mark,
    My surgery is scheduled for November 4th. We can compare notes!
  10. It doesn't suck to be old. Just old and hurt is what sucks. Being old means you can go fishing when ever you want to. You can come and go with the wind. During the week the water is all mine. I don't fish on weekends. I leave the water to those that toil all week long so I can fish all day when ever I get the urge to go.
  11. Mark - I don't agree with other posters about length or the end results. It all depends on your work ethic.

    First of all, when looking for a PT place I would insist on a PT that is an athlete - not a weekend softball player - but someone who mountaineers, paddles Class V rivers in far away counties, backcountry skis, races bicycles on a national level, runs sub 3 hour marathons, etc. Then I would insist that they have a doctorate in PT. Too often a PT will plug you into a formula of exercises without a specific movement analysis. And as you progress that movement analysis should be taken every 4 weeks. The analysis should be a separate deal from the actual therapy and might involve you walk to, way from, and side view to the PT, pushing on a wall from different angles, etc. Unfortunately the PT world is filled with exceptional people, good people and slackers like any other field.

    The second part is up to you - and that is what you are willing to put into it. That includes not only exercise but diet as well. Once your PT gives you the green light have them design a tool kit of exercises to strengthen your rotator cuff - external rotators in specific. You use your internal rotators everyday, all the time, so they rarely need strengthening.

    If your lifestyle is sedentary there is no reason why you can't start exercising now and then starting back a few days after surgery. Start by long walks, then hill climbs. Hit the gym and do leg and core work. As you do this it will increase your body's circulation and speed the healing of your shoulder, which next to knees is notorious for limited blood flow, which impedes healing. These workouts should be intense - if you are sitting on a leg extension machine reading a magazine that won't cut it. People 20 feet away should hear you on those last few reps. An exercise bike or indoor trainer could be huge too. PM me and I can lay out how to plot your aerobic threshold, and where you should be training as far as target heart rate.

    If you are sedentary you'll also need to clean your diet up to fuel muscle growth and recovery from workouts. I'd look into a good protein supplement without any sugars. Maltodextrose as a sweetener / carb source is good. Shoot for 1.5g / pound of body weight / day. Ditch all pastas, breads, baked goods. Focus on brown rice, yams, nuts etc.

    Finally, if you are over 50 you should have your testosterone levels checked. If they are even close to borderline it will impede your recovery. Boosting them with supplementation - even if you are in the normal range - will be huge in aiding recovery.

    I've personally had a number of crashes / impacts / injuries that resulted in catastrophic structural failures and reconstructive surgeries. In each case I came back far stronger than I was before the crash by absolutely destroying myself in every workout - and treating recovery as seriously as working out - and grossly over compensating. Set your expectations high and put an aggressive and intelligent action plan in place to get there.
  12. Sympathies to you Mark. Been there. Spend some time casting left handed...assuming you're a right hander. Go where nobody will see you and practice until you can throw enough line to give you the distance you need. Your fine motor skills to do aerial mends and the like will be gone, but distance casting is simply timing with your large muscle groups. When my right arm was toast during the middle of the salmon run I got to where I could throw 70ft of line which will keep you in the saltwater or steelhead game. After you have healed, you'll have new skills to show for your down time. Good luck.
  13. MartyG, ever had rotator cuff surgery? Your advice is excellent but the rotator cuff doesn't compare to an ACL. I played professional athletics and had access to the best physicians and therapy available. I'd only opt for that surgery if rehab wasn't an option. If I was a pitcher I'd have never pitched again and if I'd been a bird I'd have been eaten along time ago.

    I was able to resume my career but my shoulder was never the same and certainly not better than before the injury. Other injuries, sure. Not that one.

    Good luck with the surgery. Be prepared for an unpleasant recovery, though.
    Olive bugger and Gary Knowels like this.
  14. Thanks for all the info. I know it will be a bitch of a recovery. I had both ACL's cleaned but not repaired because at the time I was over 45 and not so called necessarily needed for my profession. I now have arthritis in both with the left almost bone on bone. Not yet ready for replacement tho. Had a partial tear in the right rotator which they also cleaned out. Now supposedly it's time to repair. Cataract surgery in both eyes, but the right eye has leakage and vision issues, so if we ever meet and I can cast, stay to the left side. LOL
  15. To answer your question... Yeap. Next to having a hand pinned back together and going through that rehab the shoulder was the worst. I am a career paddler and was operated on by the US team dr after a bad road bike crash. My shoulders are more robust today than at any other point in my life.

    The rehab is tough. Let ice be your friend.
    PT likes this.
  16. Ouch. No experience with that I afraid, but not exactly unhappy to say so. I'm still hoping my left shoulder, which I had a cortisone shot in about 7 years ago, keeps on keeping on. All the best and hope you have a speedy recovery.
  17. I have had both Right and Left, the Right in 2000 and the Left last Feb.
    Depending on your health and how you recover. At 54 I am in
    Decent shape, the P.T. is not easy, I stayed home for 2 weeks after
    surgery, and here again this all depends on the patient l was
    Pretty miserable for the 1st week, I also don't do well as in
    A lot of narcotic pain meds. make me Natious and sick.
    The most uncomfortable thing was wearing the sling even
    To bed for about 6 weeks. I have some stiffness and about 90%
    Of my range of motion back and I started back to the gym the at the end
    Of July, Good luck and do everything the Dr. And the PT
    Tell you to do and you should come out with complete recovery.
    Kelly Michelsen
  18. Mark,

    Have you confirmed whether what you have is a rotator cuff in need of repair, or a bicep tendon that needs to be reattached, or both? I ask because you mentioned tendon and reattached, which is different than rotator cuff repair.

    I've had both bicep tendons reattached and both rotator cuffs repaired at the same time as the reattachments. It's a longer haul when the tendons need to be reattached. I'm right handed and when I had the right shoulder/tendon rotator cuff done it was about 7 to 9 months before I could comfortably use a two hander and longer for overhead casting a single hander.

    The good news is that with a good surgeon and some rehab you can be back to 100%. I have pretty much full range of motion on both sides, and can lift pretty good, skiing, riding motorcycles again, etc. There's not much you lose if they do the job right. If you have an option for a surgeon and want a recommendation, PM me. I have a friend who has also had both shoulders done over the past six years or so, as I did, and he had great success too (same surgeon).

    Anyway, good luck with it.
  19. Simple, learn to cast with your other arm! ;)
  20. EHB - All I know is it's not attached to the bone anymore in one piece. Could be a repair. Either way it will be a long recovery for me.

    Scott - Casting left handed sounds great but you still need the other hand to strip or reel the line or fish in once its hooked. It's worthless as it is even after surgery.

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