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Old 07-10-2009, 07:53 AM   #1
Jesse Richards
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Crossfitting with a blown right shoulder

Hey everybody, I've read probably three dozen or so shoulder injury threads, and I still can't seem to find the answer for my specific question, so I apologize if it has already been answered somewhere. Here goes:

One of my friends has recently expressed interest in joining my normal Crossfit workout group (yay!). However, she was a college level softball pitcher a few years ago, and completely blew out her right shoulder. She's had it looked at, and because she chose to play through the pain instead of take a season off to get surgery on it, it's pretty much a chronic thing. She has trouble lifting pretty much any weight above her head at all, and her shoulder dislocates very easily. I'm sure there has to be some way she can benefit from Crossfit, even if it is only doing light weights. After watching some of the Kelly Starrett videos I was wondering if we could just mod some of the exercises to ease up on her shoulder, but I'm not really qualified, so I was wondering if anyone else had suggestions.

Thanks!
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:05 AM   #2
Everett Steinbarger
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Re: Crossfitting with a blown right shoulder

Hi Jesse,

It sounds as though your friend has a pretty significant structural problem with her shoulder.

It is possible to build strength around her shoulder and modify some exercises so that she does not dislocate while doing them. However, there will still be certain things that will giver her problems and put her at risk of dislocating regardless of how strong she gets.

In the end, if she wants to stop the chronic dislocations she will need to have the shoulder repaired.

This can be done arthroscopically with what is called a "Bankart Repair" for anterior dislocation. Basically the anterior (front) portion of the capsule is reefed up and together and anchored to the glenoid (bony "cup" on the scapula). Rehab is a long process, but worth it in my opinion.
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:24 AM   #3
James Mazzarisi
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Re: Crossfitting with a blown right shoulder

I'm not a doctor first of all or a PT, but to me it seems like she should have a full evaluation prior to starting cross-fit. Then assuming she can move forward, my recommendation is to find as much stuff as you can get your hands on by Jeff Martone. I believe he has extensive videos and journal submissions on the cross-fit site. I personally have had recurring shoulder subluxations since I was young due to overuse, improper weight lifting in high school, and playing through injury in youth/high school sports. Only now am I actually focusing on getting the shoulders back to normal stability/range of motion as part of my daily exercise routines. From my limited experience with Jeff Martone's work, turkish get-ups and their variations seem like"the exercises." With that said, I would think that you will want to be sure your client is able to at least go through the complete movements of the TGU properly before adding weight. It is also my opinion, as limited in scope as it is, that your client should incorporate shoulder strengthening/range of motion exercises as part of her normal exercise routine. All of this again said with the caveat that she is cleared to go forward by a Dr.
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Old 07-10-2009, 05:58 PM   #4
Heather Armstrong
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Re: Crossfitting with a blown right shoulder

I have a lot of the same issues. I had a torn labrum repaired via a reverse bankart procedure 10 months ago. My labrum has torn again, and my shoulder is dislocating again. It is beginning to look as though this is going to be a chronic issue for me. i started CF about 6 months ago, and since I re-injured my shoulder 1 month ago I am slowly learning what I can and can't do. I can't do anything pushing overhead (pulling seems to be OK). So, for example, I often sub front squats for thrusters or OHS. I can do kettlebells, I am just keeping the weight on the light side so that I have good control, and focusing more on perfect form. I learned yesterday that I can't clean- trying it was a mistake and led to "2 steps back" in the process of healing the current tear. I ended up subbing SDHP.
Hope that helps.
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Old 07-11-2009, 07:12 AM   #5
Jesse Richards
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Re: Crossfitting with a blown right shoulder

Thanks guys! I'll have her go to a doctor to get advice on what exactly she can do with her shoulder and what medical options she has. In the meantime we'll take it really slow and keep an emphasis on technique and very low weights/ subbing things that don't feel good for her. Appreciate the info.

Jesse
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Old 07-11-2009, 07:42 AM   #6
Everett Steinbarger
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Re: Crossfitting with a blown right shoulder

Heather, sorry to hear about your shoulder. I've had the same procedure done 6 years ago. So far mine has held up, but it is starting to slip. I know it's not as tight as it was 4-5 years ago.
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Old 07-11-2009, 07:11 PM   #7
Heather Armstrong
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Re: Crossfitting with a blown right shoulder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Everett Steinbarger View Post
Heather, sorry to hear about your shoulder. I've had the same procedure done 6 years ago. So far mine has held up, but it is starting to slip. I know it's not as tight as it was 4-5 years ago.
Thanks. It sucks. Especially the fact that the repair is holding just fine, but I have a new tear.
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Old 07-12-2009, 09:35 AM   #8
Everett Steinbarger
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Re: Crossfitting with a blown right shoulder

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Originally Posted by Heather Armstrong View Post
Thanks. It sucks. Especially the fact that the repair is holding just fine, but I have a new tear.
I hear ya.

I have the same thing in both shoulders. The repair has been great, but I'm not sure I'd go through with it again unless the other shoulder got really painful like it was right before surgery.

Fixing the posterior capsule can be like trying to nail a cream pie to a wall.
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:10 PM   #9
Steven Low
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Re: Crossfitting with a blown right shoulder

Definitely get it evaluated by an ortho before to see extent of the damage... probably MRI would be best.

See if physical therapy from there or surgery or what have you...
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