7 years 4 months ago #27330 by moosterbounce
Shoulders was created by moosterbounce
Hi folks.

Long time lurker, 1st time poster (I think :) ).

I'm wondering if anyone here has returned from a pretty serious shoulder injury and the steps they went through to get back into the swing of things?

My tale is long - I had an elite PRS that I'd never fallen out of. It was a fun, but after finding myself single, I figured I needed to look at a lighter boat that I could easily get on and off the car. I had been pining for a nice boat anyway so it was a convenient excuse!! I picked up a 2nd gen V10 Sport red nose and immediately set about paddling. Again, stability was good, and I only tipped in once - strangely I thought my boat wake surfing ability had developed the night my new ski arrived, though apparently it hadn't. Ah well...summer in Australia needs the occasional tip in :)

Anyway...I had been steadily improving - I've never been fast but I had enjoyed up to 30km paddles in the river (no ocean) so was aiming for more of these. After having the v10s for about 4 months over spring and very early summer, I had an unfortunate meeting with a bike path at speed...the result of which was a broken shoulder...lots of pieces...detached bicep tendon...12 screws, some wire, and a plate my nephew described as "bigger than an iPhone".

3 months with my shoulder immobilised and I'm coming up to 2 years of rehab this Christmas. Initially I was advised I probably wouldn't be able to lift my arm above shoulder height, but I've been working pretty hard with weekly physio and I'm up to about 150 degrees (135 to the side) and I have quite a lot of strength back. I've moved on from 3 arm-curls using just my arm before being exhausted to an easy 10x3 with 8kg. I'm still seeing the physio as strength is still improving, as is range though those improvements are lessening. I had no damage to any of the rotator cuff stuff, but after 3 months immobilised (and it was another 3 before I returned to work full time) my muscle wastage was massive. You could see ribs on one side of my back and my arm was skin and bone (and fat and metal)!!

I've been back paddling for a few months in the v10s but this is where my issues lie. I still feel new in the epic, but am not able to lift the PRS onto the car with my dodgy arm as my range and strength just isn't that good. I tend to do about 5km but have managed an easy 10km - paddling is either easy or almost impossible depending on whether the physio has changed my rehab exercises. Generally, even if it feels impossible, the least I do is 5km. Because of these program changes though, I'm not able to get on the water consistently.

I'm paranoid about my stability in my boat which probably makes me more wobbly, and I only paddle when I will avoid boat traffic on my stretch of river. I don't have a good brace and tend to take a 10 second break about every 800m as I don't yet have muscle endurance in my arm. I am fatter than usual and my paddling form isn't great as I tend to drop my arm over time though I am conscious of that so rest and tend to paddle slower but concentrate on my stroke.

I sound like a bit of a mess but I'm all good really and back on the bike of course (though not the TT bike that witnessed my fall).'s a bunch of questions for everyone...
Any tips on regaining confidence? Is it simply a matter of doing more of what I have been doing? We are coming into summer so I'll have more opportunity to get on the water and a swim may not be as scary (I've not yet tried, but I'm sure I can do sidestroke towing my ski to shore as I won't be able to get back on in deep water).
Any tips on exercises I can do at home that may help endurance in a "paddle-centric" way?
Am I doing the right thing trying to keep a slower stroke and keep an eye on form? My first paddle was 500m and I physically couldn't do more so I've come a long way with it.
And here's a big question...should I persevere with the v10s or look at selling and getting something like the v8 pro? Should I look at a different boat and keep the v10s for next year? I reckon about the 12-14kg mark is my max

That should just about cover it. Looking forward to any advice :)

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7 years 4 months ago #27333 by RedBack
Replied by RedBack on topic Shoulders
Hi MB,

I had a similar cycling accident while competing in a triathlon, leaving me with a shattered scapula, broken collar bone and every rib on my right side broken (two of which did a "break and enter" on my right lung). Photo of the carnage is attached! :-)

I too went through an intensive period of physio and having decided cycling was a little too hazardous I decided to get back into paddling.

To answer your questions:

1. Core strength is the key to stability and stability is the key to confidence. Build as much core strength as you can, then use balance exercises (swiss-balls are great for this) to develop the neural pathways that allow fine control over your core musculature.

2. Endurance is usually a function of movement pattern repetition combined with cardio fitness. Mild resistance exercises with a rubber theraband to replicate paddling are good to do at home (remembering that your power comes from your torso and legs, not your arms). Cycling (in my case stationary!) is good for cardio and for leg-drive.

3. Technique is critical. Maintain your form while you return to fitness and your speed will eventually take care of itself. It's important to re-establish the "muscle-memory" of the correct movement patterns. Undoing bad habits is much more difficult than establishing good ones from the (re)start.

4. I'd stick with the V10 for a while to see how you go. As your strength/balance improve, so too will your confidence and you may find the V10 is fine. If not, I'd recommend trying the new Stellar SEI 2G. More stable than the V10, but just as quick and in Excel lay-up it's just 11kg.

Good luck with your recovery. Sounds like you've come a long way. Keep it up!

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7 years 4 months ago #27334 by Midlifecrisis
Replied by Midlifecrisis on topic Shoulders
I haven't had a shoulder injury but did have a back operation and experienced similar issues with stability and confidence.

It was 3 months before I was allowed back on the water and the first paddle was very disheartening. After around 500 meters I had to stop and only managed about 2k in half an hour or so. I did wonder if I would ever get back to a reasonable level. After a couple of months I considered another more stable ski but persevered. I had a Stellar SEI at the time. I kept to the flat water for quite a while before getting back to the ocean.

Fast forward another 18 months and I'm probably just about back to where I was before my operation. I started with physio and now have clinical pilates every week. I can't recommend continual treatment enough if it isn't too costly. My core strength is better than it has ever been, even if my technique is ordinary. If only the physio could fix that !!!!

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7 years 4 months ago #27335 by Atlas
Replied by Atlas on topic Shoulders
Sounds like a good excuse to treat yourself to a V8 pro GT!

Current boats
Epic V10L Ultra, Epic V9 Ultra, Carbonology Sport Boost X LV, Fenn Bluefin, Nelo 510, Fenn XT double, Nelo 600, Expedition Kayaks Azure, Mirage 732.
Previous boats
Spirit PRS, Fenn Swordfish, Fenn XT, Fenn Swordfish S, Think Zen, Epic V10L Club, Carbonology Sport Boost LV

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7 years 4 months ago #27339 by moosterbounce
Replied by moosterbounce on topic Shoulders
Thanks all. Some interesting advice here and it sounds like I need to mix up my gym work and add a bit more core. It's ok, but could definitely do with work!!

Good job on your shoulder-zone too Redback!! Nice pic...uh...kinda :) I've tried to attach the "least gory" view of mine but it's not playing fair at the moment so you are all saved from that!!

I'm hoping to head out for a pootle up the river on the weekend as the weather is looking favourable (if you like 28 degrees ;) ) so will concentrate on form, resting as needed, and will how I feel. If I can avoid another boat I will.

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7 years 4 months ago #27344 by Punches
Replied by Punches on topic Shoulders
I had a similar injury from my mtb earlier this year with similar return to paddling experiences as you. If you haven't already done so you should get some professional advice from your physio on how to improve your strength in the busted shoulder for kayaking. The muscle groups you may have trashed that are used to lift your top hand are very specific and in my experience are quite difficult to isolate for strength improvement. If you don't target them now you'll only compromise your stroke in the long term. My fatigue in the ski was largely due to weakness in raising my arm and the catch on my good side lacked proper control. I'm a patient, not a practitioner, but paddling didn't target the required muscle group for me.

I borrowed a more stable ski at the time but if you invest in something like a Rhino Rack RUSL Universal Side Loader you should be able to get the PRS on the car with one arm. Falling out or worrying about falling out is best avoided given you want to have some fun and exercise.

Good luck! :)

Currently own Fenn Elite S, Renegade Double
Previously owned Epic V8, Think Legend, Stellar SES

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7 years 2 months ago #27707 by DrA5
Replied by DrA5 on topic Shoulders
Not meaning to threadjack, but I was just about ready to post something similar.

I am 5 weeks post right shoulder surgery that entailed a SLAP tear repair and bicep tenodesis. This was my third surgery in 10 years. (Right side clavicle plating and pinning repair 2006, left Rotator Cuff 2012 and aforementioned 2016).

Like the OP, confidence is going to be an issue. I am unable to train all winter and was really going to hit it with the idea of doing a full regional surfski championship. PT is currently twice weekly and I have progressed well, but I am concerned as I don't know what caused the SLAP tear other than doing a lot of paddling this last summer. I had no acute/traumatic event.

I will be following this thread too as I feel I can benefit from the input.

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7 years 2 months ago #27708 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Shoulders
I broke my humorous about 5 years ago, and was told shoulders take a lot of time to rehabilitate.

My break was so bad that I didn’t think I was ever going to be able to paddle again. However, I am doing ultra-distances (6 hours non-stop and such) with zero pain. Note: I am not even trying to go fast.

I don’t have any secrets, but perhaps you could look into this:
Find a stable ski (or a stable SUP).
Work on technique (NOT SPEED).
Look into a smaller paddle, find one, and then buy one that’s even SMALLER.

(Brittany, France)

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7 years 2 months ago #27709 by moosterbounce
Replied by moosterbounce on topic Shoulders
Well to update folks on my progress...things have been interesting.

I have been cutting my gym sessions and doing more paddling. I'm often up at 5am and on the water at 5:30am for a 4km paddle. I put in at a bridge, paddle to the next bridge, then turn around and head for home. I'm normally out for around the 30 minute mark and have been concentrating on maintaining form. I don't have a camera so can't really tell if I am!!

Initially I thought to go out daily. Not only did I not enjoy a 5am wake up, but my arm just wasn't up to it. So I've settled for about 3 times per week. I am going early to avoid other river traffic. A few rowing crews leave from the same location at 5:30 so I wait for them to go. When I started my morning paddles, I couldn't do 2km without a break. The actual stroke is fine - but the reach wasn't. I had issues with scapula movement as well as the effort of holding my arm at shoulder height. My physio has since been working on the scapular and it has really improved. Yay. As has my muscle endurance. I can paddle 2km without a rest...but not if I try 2 days in a row - that just ends in tears.

So it is slow progress, but all in the right direction. I need to remember that there are still limitations i.e. don't paddle 2 days in a row - and I am now trying to fit in both a paddle and a gym session in the same day so will see what happens. I'm not fast - only recently my moving time was under 30 minutes for 4km...a tad slower than I used to be!! But I'm doing it. I've also played around a bit with my paddle angle (red shaft Epic mid wing) and think I have found a good angle that is less splashy. When I tire I get splashy on the bad side at entry and exit. There are some bad days still but I always manage to force myself to make that distance. I keep setting goals and talking to myself - "Just paddle to the next jetty then rest your arm...well if you made it to this jetty I reckon you can make the next jetty before having that rest." If you see a chick on the river in Perth talking to herself, you'll know it's me!! But believe me, it helps.

Am I confident on my v10s? If the river is flat and there are no boats, yeah, I think I am...mostly. I've had a few small boat wakes that I've gone through - I turn to face them and paddle straight through. It raises my heart rate quite a bit but again, it's getting better. Despite all this, I'm persevering with the v10s. I don't really want to sell it and have the expense of a new ski. It's unfortunate there are no hire options available for a slightly more stable ski around the 12kg mark (I would struggle to lift more onto the car). As I'm just coming up to 2 years since the original injury, and having been doing rehab most of that time, I've discovered I can be a pretty patient (and stubborn) person so will stick with the small incremental improvements on this ski. Until I prove I am not making gains anyway :)

DrA5 - hiya :) I think I had the bicep procedure you speak of too as I detached my bicep tendon when I smashed the bone. I talked to someone else who had just had similar surgery and his bicep tendon was almost torn right through due to "stitching" from a previous surgery - it basically started cutting through the tendon and he was in increasing pain. So might it be possible that your SLAP tear wasn't something you did but rather a result of a previous surgery?

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