Positive Status Update – 1.5 Years Following Shoulder Surgery

Written by: Tony Korologos | Friday, July 24th, 2020
Categories: Miscellaneous

I just passed the 1.5 year mark following my surgery for a torn rotator cuff, torn labrum, torn bicep, and bone spur removal in my right shoulder.  Yeah I went big. Since my shoulder surgery on February 14, 2019 (yes, Valentine’s Day) I’ve done months and months of rehab and work to get the shoulder back to functioning properly.  During the rehab period I developed “frozen shoulder,” a situation where scar tissue and inflammation builds up around the surgery.  That condition causes lots of pain, soreness, stiffness and slows down the recovery.  I had special treatments in rehab as well as a cortisone shot to reduce the frozen shoulder, but none of that worked.

17 more days in the sling

I’m happy to say that I’ve been soreness and pain free in the shoulder for about a month now, and I attribute most of that to….. any wild guesses?  Mountain biking. I’ve taken up mountain biking this spring and summer with a new, very expensive, Specialized bike.  I’ve done a ton of riding and there is a lot of work that goes into it in terms of upper body.  There is lots of pulling, pushing, stabilizing and so forth.  The shoulder did not like that for the first few weeks, but I believe that all that movement eventually broke up the scar tissue.  Now I’m at about 95% range of motion with no stiffness or soreness.

Hit My First Golf Balls Since November 2018

After several weeks of being pain free, I decided it was finally time to try and hit a golf ball.  I had been getting a few clubs out each week for a few weeks and making some light swings in the backyard to eval the shoulder and see if it was realistic to try playing.  I finally pulled the trigger and hit a small bucket about five days ago. I was a little paranoid about overdoing it, so I didn’t swing super hard.  I started off with some light drivers, not wedges.  Driver is my warm up club and I figured hitting a club that doesn’t contact the ground might be a better introduction to ball contact for the shoulder.  I then hit a few pitching wedges, 8-irons and even a couple of 5-irons.  Then back to some 56 degree wedges.  At that point I was about 3/4 through the small bucket and the back started to tighten up and I got a little tired.  It was also about one billion degrees on the range.  Summer here is super hot and dry.  So I called it a day.

I was quite surprised at the lack of “bad” shots in the range session.  There were two or three nasty shots that appeared about 20 balls in, but mostly the shots were high and accurate.  They were not long though.  I measured my “good” drives with a laser and they were around 245 yards.  Not as long as I was two years ago.  The irons didn’t seem to lose much distance though.

Pain Free

I waited a few days to see if there was any soreness in the shoulder or any repercussions from the session.  I did have some small sore spots in the shoulder, but that may have also been attributable to crashing and rolling down a small hill on the mountain bike. It’s all back now and I plan to try hitting a few more balls this weekend.  If that goes well enough, I might try to play nine holes.

Another report will surely follow.

3 responses to “Positive Status Update – 1.5 Years Following Shoulder Surgery”

  1. Boynie says:

    I think your ‘baby steps’ approach will pay off Tony, there is no rush and the courses are not going anywhere. Best wishes for the weekend range time, cheers


  2. pdrury says:

    I just wanted to comment on your shoulder recovery. I’m glad to see it’s coming along okay. And I’m sorry about the loss of your close friend.
    I stumbled across your post on the surgery when I was reading a review on Sun Mountain gear (maybe a push cart?). I enjoyed the review, but the “previous post” at the bottom is what really captured my attention – and maybe reminded me of a nightmarish time in my life. While your surgery was more comprehensive than mine, I, too, had a similar one in November of 2012. I had torn my biceps tendons and labrums in both arms – my right (dominant) worse than my left. However it was my left shoulder that felt like I had barbed wire inside every time I moved my arm, so that was going to be the first. Turns out I, too, had bone spurs in there, as well as some cleanup needed in the rotator cuff to go with the biceps tenodesis. Without the physical therapist I would not be playing golf now – I would never have been able to put myself through that much pain on my own. I’m happy to say after about 9 months of H*** I was back swinging a club, albeit softly. Yeah, I’ve lost some distance, but that’s ok – I’m 65. After the PT was finished the doctor asked when we’d do the right arm, I said when it’s about to fall off. Easily the most physical pain I’ve been through, and I still can’t bring myself to go through that again until it’s absolutely necessary.
    Keep the faith and continue the slow and steady approach.
    I look forward to more of your posts.

    • Thanks for the comments Pat. I’m still getting over the mental aspect of such a massive distance loss. It’s hard to get excited about playing, but nothing a trip to Bandon Dunes can’t fix.





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