Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Shoulder Update

As some of you may know, I hurt my shoulder back in June at the CrossFit ACT Garage Games doing a weighted sit up. See my recap if you want to know more. 

Most people would think a weighted sit up would involve holding a plate across the chest and doing sit ups. Not there. There, we held 45# plates at an arm's length, touching in front of us and then laying back and touching above our head. However, on one of the reps, I felt something *crunch* in my right shoulder as I tried to bring the plate up from the ground. I ended up finishing the workout, but there was clearly something wrong. 

I spent the next month icing and not using the shoulder. I know, I know, recent important people in CrossFit land have now come public with their aversion to icing. But I digress. Even if I wanted to do pull ups or presses overhead, I couldn't. Range of motion was ok overhead (not so much reaching behind my back), but supporting any load, especially hanging from a pull up bar, was awful. 

I finally broke down and saw a doctor after a month of no progress. I wasn't in denial that I was hurt, but I had hurt my other shoulder two years ago and figured that rest would have been the first thing ordered. Anyway, the doc ordered an X-ray, but it showed nothing, so we went with an MRI. The voicemail he left me said, "when you had that injury, it looks like you tried to dislocate your shoulder, it tried to slide out of your socket. Looks like there is a cartilage defect in there and there's a tiny tear in your sub scapula. Best bet is to see a surgeon and get your shoulder scoped, get an arthroscopy so they can clean up whatever they can in there." 

So that's it. I basically tried to rip my shoulder out of it's socket. That's what's going to happen when you have 45# at the end of a 2ft. lever a.k.a. my arm. The former engineer in me remembers moment arms and torque and how this should not be tested on humans. Instead of that movement testing abdominal strength, it found the weak point of my shoulder socket and tried to rip it out like you would take the leg off a rotisserie chicken. 

If you've ever been injured before, you know that it can take you out of commission not only for that particular area, but even take you out mentally from wanting to work out. This is definitely the case for me, as even back squatting with a regular bar is impossible b/c of the shoulder ROM needed. (Yes, I've used the safety bar and it's worked, it's just not the same) It's amazing how many movements depend on the shoulder. 

So my appointment is middle of September. Unfortunately I don't have any cool X-rays or MRI images to share (at least not yet), but I will update you on how things are going. I've never been to the hospital for myself; no broken bones, no stitches, no major illnesses. (I did get a cortisone shot for my other shoulder for some bursitis) So I guess I'm making up for lost time by most likely needing a minimally invasive surgical procedure done. 

If anyone has any experience with this kind of thing, I'd love to hear from you. One of our members at KoP already sent me a blog that I need to take a closer look at. Either way, you can be pretty sure that I won't be icing the dang thing! 


  1. Dude - tore my labrum in my left shoulder a little while back - takes a bit to get back in the game, but it will come back. Best of luck - sounds like you got off fairly scot-free! Get some PT done after the scope and you'll be back to normal after some R&R (and conservative CF!)

  2. Chris, Sorry to hear the seriousness of the situation. A great lesson in why going to the doctor is important because sometimes we chalk it up to "no big deal". In my experience, having a positive mental attitude about healing helped me a lot. I would always beat the doctor's predictions ; )

  3. Maybe you should suggest not doing that particular test anymore. I wonder how many other people have injured themselves with it. It just seems like a silly move but I've also never really done it with a 45# plate. The procedure is simple and fast. Follow the doc's orders and as Jen said a good attitude goes a long long way in recovery.
    I also think the icing bit is a little over blown. One part from it being used for too much and another part from people saying it is useless. Ice is meant to lower inflammation to alleviate pain which means no use of drugs which I'm sure most people would be happy about since ice is dramatically cheaper. Moderation is the key. Just like everything else. It isn't meant to completely stop inflammation, just keep it from being painful. Because who wants to work out sore arms and legs?


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