Update on the shoulder

The traffic to this website hasn’t really slowed down much since the tour wrapped up more than a week ago. My guess is that lots of the cyclists on the trip got home and are suffering a bit of SeatoSea withdrawal and as a result are poking around online and reminiscing on the memories by reading one another’s blogs. Well I’m in the same boat and have found myself poking around on Flicker and looking at some of the 5000 photos posted there once or twice already. At any rate I just wanted to give a quick update on my shoulder since returning to Canada.

I had my first Physio-Therapy appointment at the University of Alberta’s sports medicine center this morning (it was along the time schedule of Pete VanNoord, Barb Mellema or John Vandersteen… ie. earlier than I would have liked). I have been taking it uncomfortably easy since returning to Edmonton. My arm’s been in the sling for most of the day each day. I have avoided the temptation to do all my unpacking at once. I have been riding my bike a bit, my commuting bike (Fixed Gear) and have been doing so with one hand only. My cervelo has remained in the box (which is partly due to the fact that I’m missing a few parts). My room still has a bunch of boxes in it because I just didn’t want to overdo it right away.

So the message from the physiotherapist is basically that I’ve had enough rest with the shoulder and need to start using it more. I do have a “classic” separation of the AC joint and the step deformity in my shoulder is going to be there for life. I likely do not have a torn rotator cuff (which was questioned by a family friend surgeon) as I still have a significant amount of strength in there. If I can build strength in that shoulder over the next few weeks she’ll write off that possibility but if not she says she has excellent connections through the Glen Sather Center to get that fast-tracked. The separation was so “classic” that she went and got the student interns there to come have a look at it and then showed how pushing my shoulderblade in at the bottom made the step go away. So all the while I’ve been saying that my clavicle is “up”, that’s not as true as this one bit of my shoulderblade that pokes through the middle of my shoulder is hanging too far “down” and makes the collarbone look like it’s too high. Luckily that little demonstration didn’t hurt so bad… some of the other stuff did and wouldn’t have been so happy to have the whole thing replayed for this other guy.

Basically my prognosis is: No running allowed. No swimming. No riding my racing bike but I am allowed to commute as I have been doing. I’ve got to make an effort to sit up straight in my chair with my shoulderblades pulled together and down my back as much as possible plus some similar motions I’m supposed to do every hour of the day. I’m still to wear the sling when transporting myself from place to place but am not supposed to keep the arm supported when I’m at home or doing something. I also have a bunch of strength building exercises to do once a day. The prognosis was good and she’s happy that I will be swimming once again eventually as it should build more muscle in the area. My shoulder bulk is WAY DOWN! from the beginning of the summer (especially in the last 2 weeks I’m sure) and even though building those muscles back won’t erase the deformity it should make for a better shoulder in the long run. I guess I’m not allowed to go the Duathlon route… Triathlon was pretty much a prescribed activity for the long term.

If you’d keep the healing process in your prayers I’d be appreciative. I jarred the shoulder quite bad yesterday and it is still capable of causing a boatload of pain when it’s not happy but on a day to day basis I’m completely off painkillers and it’s not more than a mild ache.

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