/ Dislocated shoulder
Key thing is good physio, good strengthening exercises and don't jump back in too soon, or at least keep to easier routes!
My mate had a shoulder that kept popping out, once when on lead and I was belaying. Quite exciting. When he really started putting in the effort with physio, it started to sort itself out. He was unable to do certain moves for quite a while. Now he can dead-hang, but he will probably always think twice about a full dyno. But then - that's probably a good idea for all of us eh?
Took me over 6 mnths to recover but no problem after that - it's supposed to be 'better' if you do it later in life ie. if you dislocate it early the chances are it will repeat.
Jam butty has got it about right. I dislocated mine (plus a lot of tendon tearing and a fracture) 18 months ago and had major surgery which has not been fully successful (one tendon still has a 70% tear). It is weak, not that stable but it never feels like popping. Climbing wise I haven't really got back yet, it is OK on easy stuff but pulling on steep ground (e.g. on the wall or bouldering wall) is a non-starter.
Golden rules include:
Give it at least 6 weeks of complete rest, wear a sling to support it. Then slowly start to gently mobilise and strengthen under the direction of a physio. If the NHS Physio's can't see you soon enough bite the bullet and go to a private physio. Don't take shortcuts or risks or you may be back at square one.
I am off to see my shoulder surgeon next week, he is offering more time under the knife but I am not keen as the typical rehab time is 12 months.
Take care and keep positive.
So, It sounds like a case of letting it rest, keeping fingers firmly crossed and hoping for the best! then lots of physio work later. Seeing an nhs physio next week so I guess I'll find out the full extent of the damage then...
ps, @Trevor, hope the op work's out for you this this if you do decide to go for it.
I dislocated mine about 18 months ago skiing. I was (ice) climbing about 8 weeks after and I had lots of physio, did lots of rotator cuff exercises and mobilisation exercises. Contrary to Trevor's advice I found that it was far more comfortable to not have it in a sling and to mobilse it as soon as possible (I only had a few days in a sling, and if you do a bit of research, there seem to be no discerable benefits to immobilisation). On my first visit to the physio he was amazed at the range of motion and said he couldn't believe it had been dislocated a couple of weeks before. Anyway, good luck - I'm an old fart, which as said above is better - but it took 5 people and the drug that killed Michael Jackson to get the bugger back in.
FWIW I was seconding Scottish mixed V,6 around 3 weeks later and and haven't had any great problems since.
Main thing was how it actually felt.
OK here's my story. By the way, I'm still climbing at 62, so don't give up till you read to the end!
I first dislocated my left shoulder canoeing (high bracing in a stopper wave - a common reason) in 1986. Excruciatingly painful, no chance of getting it back in myself. I needed a general anaesthetic before the medics could get it back in (as with every subsequent dislocation).
Within a year it came out twice more, once caving, once canoeing. So I had an operation on the NHS (a "Putty Plat"). Seemed to affect my movement very little, but it didn't do the job. My next dislocation was in the Caucasus in 1988, after slipping on glacial moraine. Had to sleep the night in a tent with it dislocated - not recommended - then assisted down by fellow climbers and taken to a local hospital. Three weeks of "not climbing" in the Caucasus later I had walked up Elbrus with my arm in a sling and met my wife-to-be! Norman Croucher was a member of our team, and he didn't have any legs, so I wasn't really complaining!
Two further dislocations were both while climbing, one at a climbing wall and one 5m from the top of Darius at High Tor, leading with my last gear 4m below. Somehow I managed to hang on with the dislocated arm and place a nut with the good one and clip to it. Two climbers at the top lowered me a rope - I had to explain why I couldn't tie a knot in the end!
So then I got referred to an expert at Guys Hospital who did a "Bristow's" procedure which involved splicing a bit of my bicep as a barrier over the shoulder joint and stapling it to the shoulder blade. He said I should expect it to last 10 years - that was 24 years ago and despite a little restriction in movement, and a few worrying moments (usually opening or closing car doors) it's still fine for climbing.
Then 4 years ago I slipped over on a piece of seaweed at the base of Blacker's Hole at Swanage and dislocated my right shoulder! We had down-climbed in, and it was obvious I couldn't get out. So I got the first ride in the Coastguard Service's new chopper. This time (now 58) the medics advised against operating. Apparently, as someone mentioned above, the chance of re-dislocation is much less when you are older. I did say "but what about someone who's 58 but thinks he's 28?" but they assured me it's to do with the general stiffness of old age, not the activities that older people do! I took a year off climbing, but have since regained my previous standard (E1-ish) without further dislocations of either shoulder (touch wood!!).
So I've the following advice:
1 Don't give up!
2 Take six months to a year off climbing after a dislocation to let things settle down - I did lots of running and careful progressive gym work, plus the specific exercises the physio recommended, but no climbing.
3 Give up sports where the movement of your shoulder is not under your own control - white water canoeing, downhill skiing (if you fall regularly), rugby.
4 Accept there may be some climbing moves you can't or shouldn't do - mostly "pushing" moves with the hand out wide - pulling moves, including laybacks, are fine.
5 Always remember it could dislocate again, so be wary of putting yourself in a situation where the rest of the party would also be in serious trouble if it did.
6 Don't listen to my advice! Everybody's shoulder behaves differently! I know of other people whose experience has been quite different to mine.
7 Don't give up!
@Martin: That was a pretty harrowing tale I'm glad it had a happy ending (touch-wood)!
I dislocated my shoulder a year ago at age of 21. I was top rope soloing at my home crag. My foot slipped and I slammed to the wall my shoulder first. I had 7 weeks of complete rest from climbing while doing other exercises for shoulder as my doctor had adviced. First I tried some light trad climbing and other ropework bud gradually found my way to harder climbs 3-4 months after injury. While I was unable to climb I tried to train other ways at gym and running or cycling to develop my overall fitness. Around 5 months after injury I was actually climbing my alltime best while bouldering and sport climbing (around F7a both), although I had to watch out for my shoulder on some bigger dynamic moves on some problems.
As of recently I haven't really noticed any problems with my shoulder anymore. Around Christmas vacations I was on a three week sport climbing trip at Spain and there was no signs of shoulder problems. I'd say it's almost as good as new. Because of lots of shoulder strengthening exercises I feel my both shoulders actually feel more stable than before as I try to keep up the habit of doing them.
My advice would be that you need to take easy for a while and try to get gradually back to activites that put weight on shoulder. Listen closely to your body and don't get into hard bouldering too early or at least pay close attention to your shoulder. If you rush too early you might make the problem last for many years. It's better to get it right at once. There are happy endings like I had! :)
Also try to make a habit of doing some common shoulder strengthening excercises with a rubber band. Take a look at following article. I found it quite useful: http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=119
Cheers and good luck with rehab!
I remember being on the Grochan in the late 70s and I think it was Pete Boardman who was on an adjacent route asking his second to watch him because the move was one on which his wobbly shoulder might dislocate...
Perhaps it was someone else, but it was certainly a very well-known climber who wasn't conspicuously held back by his shoulder.
Solaris: If it was indeed Pete Boardman then I guess I won't have any excuses climbing what I do!
Apologies if I've blown convenient cover for backing off!
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