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As a whitewater enthusiast, have you ever wondered what it was like to go through shoulder surgery? If so, I’m here to tell you about my experience with it. In late September of 2022 I was paddling the Green River in North Carolina with a few friends. I decided to run Gorilla which was my 15th or so lap when things didn’t go to plan. I flipped in the runout before speed trap and was extended out on my back deck when I heard a crunch/pop with some pain and then another crunch where the pain went away. It happened so fast it took me a second to process that I had just dislocated my shoulder and it popped back into place before I rolled up. After that I decided to hike out.
Anyways, fast forward a month. I had just gotten an MRI and was going to my first doctor’s appointment. He said I tore my labrum (very common kayaker injury) and in order to fix it we needed to do surgery. PT wouldn’t do the trick on this one.
So onto surgery day about a month later. I was a bit nervous but also very ready to get it fixed. It took about an hour and before I knew it I was in the car on the way home. They gave me a sling that has a waist belt to go with it so it keeps the shoulder in place. I also got little exercises to do such as letting my arm dangle and moving up and down at the elbow for some blood flow. After the first week, I got my stitches out as well as a new set of exercises. These are a bit more of movement. Shrugging my shoulders and pushing my hand against a wall with my elbow at a 90 degree angle. I’m currently at 3 weeks post op and hopefully only have one more week in the sling.
Something I learned during this process is the importance of doing bands and pushups to keep the shoulders strong. It seems like most people I know are also going through the same thing right now so hopefully there aren’t anymore but, just stay strong with the PT and make the most of your time on the water!

Stay safe everyone!