Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

1 month 1 day ago #37532 by cjborg
Apologies if there are already other posts on this - I couldn't find them via the search function - but, does anyone have experience successfully returning to ocean paddling after total shoulder replacement surgery?  I'm a candidate for an anatomical replacement . . . hoping to hear that others have had the replacement and got back in the bucket without problems.

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1 month 1 day ago #37533 by LaPerouseBay
Wow, I sure hope that goes well.  If you don't get much on this forum, you may want to check in with a standup paddle forum I've been watching forever.   Lotsa traffic over there.  Lotsa guys that have been thru the mill.  

downwind dilettante

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1 month 1 day ago #37535 by Arcturus
Another group to ask this question of is whitewater kayakers. They seem to incur a lot of shoulder injuries.

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1 month 18 hours ago #37536 by CrabStick
There are a few issues that you need to consider very carefully given the potential bad consequences of getting it wrong.
First, don't proceed to shoulder replacement unless you have intrusive pain with daily activities and have severe arthritis.
If you need to go ahead, first accept that you may not be able to paddle anything like you did previously.
Some knee replacement patients can run long distance. That doesn't mean they should as they risk premature failure and revision surgery which is seldom as good and carries higher risks. The same applies for shoulders. Sprinting and other big efforts may cause problems like wear, loosening or rotator cuff damage but cruising along with low forces like doing a gentle rotation / beach ball drill is probably OK as long as it is not painful. Keep elbows low.
Also, make sure your surgeon does lots of them. Let's say 30 or more arthroplasties per year and has done for several years. 


Current Boats: BlueFin S, Swordfish S, Fenn Spark S
Previous: Think Eze, Stellar SR, Carbonology Boost LV

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1 month 10 hours ago #37537 by cjborg
Replied by cjborg on topic Total Shoulder Arthroplasty
Many thanks for the quick and thoughtful responses.  I will definitely check with the whitewater crowd and post back what I learn.  Having had bilateral total hip arthroplasty a decade ago, I appreciate Crabstick;s advice.  Having been forced to give up cycling the year prior, I held off hip replacements until I was walking with two canes, could barely get my ski onto the car and into the water, and seemed to be deriving most of my calories from ibuprofen just to be able to sleep through the night.  Arguably, I waited longer than I should have on the hips.  But the transformation after hip replacements was amazing.  I don't run or play tennis, but I can road bike and mountain bike as hard as I want, backpack and hike all I want, and leg drive in the ski is better than ever.  But, hips are big, stable joints that move in a much simpler range of motion than shoulders.  So, I'm trying to figure out what to do with my right shoulder.  My x-rays show almost no space in the joint, and I'm told the deterioration is far worse than most folks who have replacement surgery.  I'm starting to snack on ibuprofen a bit to sleep and the pain is starting to limit small daily activities - can't throw the frisbee for the dog to catch; can't raise my arm laterally to write on a desktop (need to put the pad in my lap), etc.  Still able to do 2 hour ocean paddles and not suffering too much for it - keeping those elbows as low as possible and relying on hip rotation as much as possible - but the pain is increasing quickly and it's obvious where this is going.   Again, many thanks for the advice and well wishes. 

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4 weeks 2 days ago #37541 by manta
Replied by manta on topic Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

Although I have not had the exact procedure you will be having I have a similar story. I used to be an MMA fighter and my shoulder was severely damaged. I waited a few years before having the surgery and my surgeon said it looked like someone that had been in a severe vehicle accident. So my shoulder was pretty bad.

My shoulder is not back to normal after many years but it is as good I am told as it will get. Here is my advice.
  1. Do everything your surgeon tells you to do post surgery
  2. Do all your physio and rehab exercises
  3. Take it SLOW
  4. Make sure you keep the rest of your body loose and strong (everything is connected)
  5. Take it SLOW
  6. Don't be afraid to push into the rehab, long term it will help you
  7. Protect your joints going forward lots of stretching and strength specific movements
  8. Take it SLOW
My shoulder is at about 75% if I push hard in the gym or on the water I feel it. Some damage could not be repaired but I am virtually pain free.
I paddle with an unfeathered paddle with low elbows and focus on my rotation. I am slow but I have made peace with that and enjoy just being on the water. Downwind is still fun because if you get your timing right you don't have to be a fast paddler to have lots of waves.

Good luck with your journey.


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