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Pull and the shoulder goes pop pop pop
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Apr 21, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Hanging out on Tucupit occidentalis
Climbing what is probably Hijinx of the Desert at Indian Creek, I pulled some tricky, awkward moves through a changing corners roof over the lip and heard / felt about 6 distinct pop sounds out my shoulder. I asked my belaying if he heard that, he did, but never figured it was my shoulder. I was about 50 feet off the deck. I slammed in a piece, rested then fired the final 30 to the chains. By the time I lowered off, I was pale and my shoulder felt wrong. My partner was worried having heard a popping shoulder from that distance.

Two days later, I notice my injured arm has been colder than the non. Mobility and dexterity in that hand is reduced by 60%. Pain scale probably never more than 4, typically it just feels like muscles and shoulder aren't right. I've raised my hand above my head a couple times, but think it was already too much. Just made a sling, taking IBU and some ice.

Spent the day after the injury chatting with a bunch climber folks that suffered similar injuries. It seems rest, followed by focused PT is the way to go. I imagine two months off of climbing, then hopefully focusing on wiring some technical moderates.

Any thoughts on whether going to a doctor even pays? It seems like classic tears in the rotator cuff.

At least I got the onsight! Definitely leaves something to smile about along with joining the group of injured, soon to be recovered from injury, climbers. Being my first genuine injury in life, I know I've been lucky.
Brandon Gottung
From Moab, UT
Joined Dec 23, 2010
1,508 points
Apr 21, 2013
Shoulder is probably ruined for life. Might be mitigated with surgery and painful rehabilitation.

I'm not sure though. Going to a DOCTOR might be a good idea. Preferably someone who specializes in sport related injuries.
Dustin Drake
Joined Feb 12, 2012
5 points
Apr 21, 2013
YER probably going to have to cut it off. NorCalNomad
From San Francisco
Joined Oct 6, 2011
127 points
Apr 21, 2013
I would advise getting it looked at by a good PT that specializes in manual therapy. Sounds like you partially dislocated or subluxed your shoulder. The thing you need to know is if there was damage to the joint capsule. Have you ever dislocated your shoulder before? You need to know what structures are potentially damaged in order to know what exercises to do and or motions to be avoided. And don't keep testing overhead motion until you get it evaluated. FYIY My background - I've been a physical therapist x 19 years. Peter D.
Joined Jul 30, 2010
25 points
Apr 21, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Hanging out on Tucupit occidentalis
Thanks for the advice Peter . No, I've never dislocated my shoulder. I'm just hoping it won't have to come to an MRI to understand what happened. I've heard that we have a shoulder specialist here in Moab, so I'll try to see him.

And to Greg - I milked a natural kneebar rest after pulling the lip. The crazy thing was the climbing remained physical to the anchors - .75s in a steep slot, but I pulled through it without pain, thinking the pops were nothing serious.
Brandon Gottung
From Moab, UT
Joined Dec 23, 2010
1,508 points
Apr 21, 2013
There are several good sports medicine docs at Rocky Mt. Orthopedics in Grand Junction. I would recommend making a trip up to GJ to see one of those guys or go see your local orthopedic surgeon in Moab. NEH
Joined Nov 1, 2009
37 points
Apr 21, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: gilman
Try some isometric stresses on your shoulder, like having someone push down on your fist while you try to rotate it up sideways or forward. Think of every angle you can try, like both elbows bent and straight. A sharp, stabbing zing indicates a problem. If you have something that only surgery will fix, then it is what it is and only time will tell. So if you want internet permission to try everything else first, then go ahead. Granted.
My shoulder pops like crazy b/c I'm old and have giant bird-beak spurs on my acromion's digging into my rotators.
Mike Lane
From Centennial, CO
Joined Jan 21, 2006
984 points
Apr 21, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Leashless bliss. 3 points of contact
Mike Lane wrote:
My shoulder pops like crazy b/c I'm old and have giant bird-beak spurs on my acromion's digging into my rotators.

+1 to that statement Mike.
A little tale about a shoulder injury of mine;
The parks and rec. dept. were doing "improvements" (I won't go there)
in Palmer Park and left a mound of dirt next to a 4' retaining wall. This made for a perfect 4' to 5' gap jump that had a flat dirt parking lot landing.
We packed down the backside of the ramp for a landing zone and built a slight ramp at the lip of the retaining wall and proceeded to huck ourselves off this new feature in the park.
On my last attempt to clear the gap I veered off track slightly on the approach ramp. This caused me to land outside the stompped landing zone on the dirt pile, and when my front tire rolled into the soft zone it instantly folded in half from the forces.
This is referred to as a Taco-ed tire.
The angle of trajectory caused me to land quite forcibly upon my left shoulder and and the left side of my helmeted head.
I called my wife to meet me at the edge of the park so I wouldn't have to walk the 3/4 mile back to the house with a busted bike and shoulder.
We went to hospital and got an x-ray of the injury, and dispite an obvious bump where a bone seemed out of place, they said without an MRI they couldn't determine anything wrong and sent me home.
I then went to see our Chiro, who made a few adjustments, but the bump never went away.
To this day, every time I roll my shoulder it gristles and pops enough to be heard by someone close by. If they place their hand on my shoulder while I'm doing this, they can feel the popping and most lunge back in amazement how gross this feels.
I have full range of motion, the noise is never assosciated with pain,the bump never subsided, and doesn't ever impede my climbing.
Brandon, seek some professional attention and give the injury plenty of time to rehabilitate.
Good luck with your recovery and may you grow to be an old and gristly climber with a jaded view of society like me.
I bought a new helmet even though it showed minimal damage. I want it to be able to withstand those kind of forces upon the next impact, God forbid that happens again.
From trollfreesociety
Joined Feb 15, 2010
810 points

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