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Recovery from dynamic Shoulder dislocation?

Original Post
Eric Lutz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 180

Hey there MP friends!

Wish I could be posting about awesome adventure stuff, but I need to pick your collective experience on what may come next for me:

Ten days ago I was skiing way too fast down a run I didn't know in Vermont when the ground disappeared from underneath my skis and Newton's pesky laws came into play

BOOM!!! I grenaded in and became "That Guy" on the ski patrol sled

As the title says it was a dynamic Shoulder dislocation with a large Hill Sachs lesion. Luckily new helmet and decent experience falling kept additional damage at bay.

Orthopedic surgeon number one made a funny inhaling sound as he looked at the MRI. This did not inspire confidence as to a non-invasive conclusion. The conversation turned towards bone grafting and I began understanding why "moderation" has always been a challenge for me.

My question for you fine folks:

Has anyone here had a dislocation severe enough to require a bone to be grafted to the head of their humerus and then returned to Climbing?

Thanks for any input you may put in. Now where did I leave the Advil?

James T · · Livermore · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 80

Well if your climbing career is over - don't worry, you've got a future as a writer (but I hope it's not!)

I suffered a similar but less extreme version of that downhill skateboarding 6 years ago. I walked away with a Bankart lesion and to the best of my knowledge am not missing any bone. However, it made me much more susceptible to dislocations that progressively became easier to incur. So far the list of things I can't do now include surfing, overhead press, backflipping and oddly enough reaching behind me in the car (all ways it's popped out). I've been able to pop them all back in - some with more trouble than others. I have also dislocated it climbing twice. Each time results in 2-3 days of pain and limited movement followed by a week of having to be very very careful.

Now when I climb I am limited by my left arm. My climbing style no longer includes overhead left reaches as it is my most vulnerable position. I don't crush anyway, so this really isn't an issue. Basically, I climb carefully. And I always warm up my shoulders (always). If a route requires a big left reach, I bail. 

I went to a doctor 4 years ago and he said that for my case, surgery was an option but not a guarantee of 100% recovery. With that (and money) in mind I opted for PT and worked to strengthen my shoulder muscles in an attempt to increase stability. I focus a lot on the deltoids along with the other major shoulder / back muscles.

So, not sure how helpful my story is since you're missing bone and all... but I think you'll be ok. Even if after the surgery you don't make it back to 100%, you could probably still climb. I am constantly aware of my shoulder and try very not to do anything stupid to mess it up, but sometimes shit happens. Whatever you choose, best of luck and I hope you have a speedy recovery.

Eric Lutz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 180

Thanks Mr. T! 

I'm reading your tale while enroute to the surgeon my last surgeon would have perform surgery on him if he did what I did to my shoulder to his.

Getting kicked up the preverbial bone-saw food chain is both exciting and not. Hoping this expert in all things human wingy will look at the chomp that was bitten off my not so humorous humerus and exclaim "DUDE! THAT'S NUTS! But I'll have you ready for ice season this winter!"

Yeah, your story helped. Others have gone through worse than what I am and gotten back on the rock. It's good to hear from people like you

jmmlol · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

Definitely get a second opinion. And don't be that "I've dislocated it 6 more times" guy. If you know vulnerable positions and stick with your PT for the rest of your life you should be able to recover. I subluxed mine a couple years ago.

mcarizona · · Flag · Joined Feb 2007 · Points: 180

PT 3-4 days/ week, climb within your range and I am trying to invent something more streamline than

This is hot and kind of inhibits breathing but I wear it on the MTB, Skateboard, sledding  and climbing.  I still get out quite a bit.

Good luck!


James T · · Livermore · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 80
jmmlol wrote:

If you know vulnerable positions and stick with your PT for the rest of your life you should be able to recover.

It took a little bit of being stupid for me to start being smarter, but after that this ^ concept has helped keep me strong and injury-free for a while now.

Eric Lutz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 180

Six holes, 9 anchors, and a LOT of yeouch!

Surgeon said if all goes well and I follow post surgical protocol/PT I could be climbing again as soon as six months

Max Tepfer · · Bend, OR · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 1,630

This thread:

My personal experience after getting a Latarjet proceedure following chronic instability has been really good.  I'm a year and half out and am climbing as well as I ever have.  Find a PT you like and trust and do everything he/she says and nothing more.  When you're reintroducing climbing (likely not something he/she can help much with) start with ARCing/high volume/super low intensity. As you increase intensity keep volume low until you're a few months back into pulling hard moves.

mcarizona · · Flag · Joined Feb 2007 · Points: 180

I just looked up that Laterjet.  Fascinating stuff.  A doctor told me he wanted to take some of my hip to fix my instability and I just opted for being careful and a lifetime of PT.  Maybe when I get rich I might consult him and see if he does that sort of work.…;…;h=370&w=400&tbnid=I67kc8TM6qHosM:&tbnh=160&tbnw=172&usg=__uQrHoDrOLCMVe0xb7oKfOFwImjk=&vet=10ahUKEwjvs4Gu_bXTAhWIhVQKHTgGDwQQ9QEIJzAA..i&docid=2W5WaJuStEah0M&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjvs4Gu_bXTAhWIhVQKHTgGDwQQ9QEIJzAA" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">…;…;h=370&w=400&tbnid=I67kc8TM6qHosM:&tbnh=160&tbnw=172&usg=__uQrHoDrOLCMVe0xb7oKfOFwImjk=&vet=10ahUKEwjvs4Gu_bXTAhWIhVQKHTgGDwQQ9QEIJzAA..i&docid=2W5WaJuStEah0M&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjvs4Gu_bXTAhWIhVQKHTgGDwQQ9QEIJzAA

Eric Lutz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 180

7 months later getting back out. Shoulder is weak and tight, but nine pitches of 5.easy last weekend gave me a good idea of where my recovery is. After months of having my arm immobilized I wondered if I would climb again, not so concerned now! 

Praying for the Ice God's to produce this winter! 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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