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Discussion: partial tear of the supraspinatus tendon

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Jan. 6, 2018
42 posts
partial tear of the supraspinatus tendon
I have been diagnosed (after an MRI) with a partial tear of the supraspinatus tendon. It is a tear that is associated with rotator cuff injuries, although mine will not require surgery at this point. Here are my questions, since I have heard pros and cons to how to proceed with such an injury. After 3-months of pain my shoulder has stopped hurting. It is still painful if I make a throwing motion, but the constant pain is gone. If I take 800mg of ibuprofen and rub in some ointment, I can play infield OK. (3rd base and SS) Hitting is not effected at all. I am hearing that, in time, such an injury can and will heal itself. I am further hearing that once a tear occurs it will not typically tear any further. So with all that taken into consideration, I am scheduled for 4-6 weeks of therapy after which I will get a shot of cortisone if needed. I realize everyone is different, but there are some things that are common to everyone in such an injury. I fully expect to play ball in the spring. Has anyone been down this road? What can you tell me about what to expect as far as the thing healing with just therapy? Does a shot make me more susceptible to further damage? Anything you can tell me will be beneficial to me, so please share your experience. Thanks in advance.
Jan. 6, 2018
86 posts
Not to worry. A few years back, I had the tear repaired in my throwing arm and it healed quite well. With mine, it was completely torn. As he described it, my ortho pulled the tendon back into place, sewed a piece of "bacon" onto it, then reattached it with two screws. The most beneficial part was that he eliminated the bone spurs in the rotator that had caused the tear. At the time of the surgery, I was given a "nerve block" which made the pain minimal - for about two days! Following removal of the tubes, there wasn't enough pain killers in the county to help! That lasted about three more days (grind your teeth and bear it, type thing). However, following about sixty (60) days of rehab, I was again playing the outfield. I still play the outfield and have a better than average throwing arm. Hope that helps. My theory is that if it needs to be fixed, fix it.
Jan. 8, 2018
Men's 55
286 posts
I Just had a surgery in Oct after winning the Worlds. I was diagnosed with a torn labium but when Doctor got inside, she said my Rotator was holding on bye a thread, so she repaired that as well as my Labium. Doctors say it was a very extensive repair. Like Player, I had the rotator cuff cleaned out then reattached it with two screws.I also had the nerve block and Player is correct, when it wears off MAN MAN MAN what pain!!! thank goodness for Weed! LOL The rehab is going slowly, I'm 13 weeks out and still can't throw , swing is not an issue, but throwing will take some time to do again, I'm looking at 20 weeks before picking up a ball. I would stay away from the SHOTS as much as possible, they really make things worst and the injury wont heal on its on, unless you stop playing for about a year.
I went 2 years of playing before deciding on the surgery thinking it would heal on its own......NO IT WILL NOT, not at our age!
Jan. 8, 2018
4 posts
I'll be 62 this summer and I had labrum surgery on my right (throwing) shoulder 5 years ago. Went to see 3 different physical therapist afterwards who thought they knew what they were doing. They did not, but I kept trying to play. After another MRI 2 years ago, I was told I had a partial tear in my rotator cuff. However, instead of surgery, I found a physical therapist who knew what he was doing. He had worked with the Atlanta Braves trainers when Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, etc. were playing. Bottom line, he knew about shoulders and what it takes to throw a ball. He put me on a pulley-weight and free-weight program for 3-4 months that built the muscles up around my tear and I don't even feel it any more when I throw. I still go back on the same program in the winter and its made all the difference in the world. FIND A QUALIFIED PHYSICAL THERAPIST WHO SPECIALIZES IN THROWING!
Jan. 9, 2018
69 posts
Ok guys here goes. I`m 78 and fell off of my bicycle on a wet railroad track and tore the Labrum and Supraspinatus and Ifraspinatus tendons away from the bone. At 78 surgery was not in the cards. I saw the head Orthopedic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic after four months of self rehab at a gym. After some physical testing, he concluded that I could throw, but warned me that I only had two tendons attached and that the two separated tendons would not self reattach. After Ten months of gym work and use of the rubber bands, I can throw again, albeit very gently and not real strong as yet. In conclusion to all the above comments. Strengthening the entire shoulder with weights and other devices such as the rubber bands, will allow you to continue to play the game we all love.
Jan. 12, 2018
42 posts
Since I started this thread, I wanted to tell you of my progress. As some of you suggested, I found a sports injury therapist and he is convinced that with my partial tear he can have me ready for the 2018 season by our first tournament on Feb 16. (spring comes early in south Texas!!)) If I still have pain I will consider the cortisone injection, but I hope to avoid it. I am going for therapy 2X a week and then doing exercises at home to heal and strengthen the shoulder area. The therapy is somewhat painful, but I am willing to live with it to play ball again. No hitting, no throwing, no real shoulder exertion for the next 5-weeks. But I am planning on playing in our initial tournament in mid February. I do feel for anyone who has the full tear because it is indeed a long and difficult recovery, with significant pain to boot. But at age 75 I am blessed to be among the very few who play competitive sports here in America. I never take that for granted. Thanks for all the comments and feedback.
Jan. 13, 2018
17 posts
Tore my supraspinatus in 1981, in my 30's. Thought it was just a sore shoulder and I could take it easy and it would get better... When it didn't get better after a year I went to the doctor. He said it was just a partial tear, and had healed itself, but there was residual scar tissue that was causing the pain. After 6 mos of electrode stimulus ( the thought process then was that scar tissue was incompletely healed normal tissue, and with heat and blood flow stimulus they could promote normal healing), and therapeutic light weight and massage therapy, I was back to 80%. Adjusted my throwing motion and after a year I was back at 90%. I've been living with that for over 30 years and no problems. Try those new electric stimulator's.

Keep your eye on the ball.
Jan. 14, 2018
42 posts
Cyclops- I appreciate your comments, because although I am 75 next month, I am optimistic about therapy being my best option. I think I have two more good years and then will probably think about the end of my softball days, so surgery is not an option for me right now. I do realize that I will probably have some pain, but even before I went to the doc I could take 800mg of ibuprofen and slop on some ointment and I could go play. With completed therapy, my meds and Absorbine, I expect to be near 100%. And I will ask about the electric stimulation. Sounds like maybe ultrasound. But my fear now is that I will damage it again or tear it all the way. That is also a fear if I get the cortisone shot, since it masks the pain. But I am going to take that chance.
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