Shoulder Surgery in Your 60’s: Bill’s Story

Bill, 62 years old, required shoulder surgery after a bicycle accident

Shoulder Surgery in Your 60’s: Bill’s Story

As we age wear and tear can take a toll on our muscles and joints.  Many people will have surgery later in life to replace joints, or repair the soft tissue around joints.  I had shoulder surgery at 62 years of age and prior to it wondered how successful it would be, and what post-surgery life would be like.  In the end my fears were unwarranted.

In August 2016 I fell off my bicycle during a Saturday morning training ride, landing hard on my right shoulder.  The following day the shoulder felt stiff and a little bit painful.  With many such past injuries I sought medical advice which often was to ice the injury and take over the counter painkillers if needed, and to seek further help if the injury did not improve in 4 to 6 weeks.  I decided to follow this route.  In a few weeks the stiffness and pain eased up but I felt something was still wrong with my shoulder.

In December I placed a pair of small dumbbells back on a rack, and felt a “pop” in my right shoulder like an elastic band breaking.  There was not a great amount of pain involved at the time.  Later I found that during the daytime my shoulder only gave me slight discomfort, and was weak in pushing and pressing movements; however, when I lay down to sleep the pain started and was much more intense.

I arranged an appointment with Dr. Michael Clarfield at the Cleveland clinic in midtown Toronto.  Using a diagnostic ultrasound, he diagnosed the injury as a large tear in one of the rotator cuff stabilising muscles, and he recommended surgery.

At 62 years old I worried about the likelihood of a full recovery after surgery.  Dr. Rick Zarnett who did the operation assured me of full recovery, but cautioned it would take around 6 months, and that I would have to be diligent regarding physiotherapy.

Modern joint surgery is often done arthroscopically. I had three small incisions, each of which was closed by one stitch.  One week after surgery the stitches were removed, I began physiotherapy at a local clinic.  My ultrasound and TENS treatment was supervised by Mohsen Rafieian and prescribed exercises were supervised by John Bocti.  Treatment ended around 10 weeks, and I continued with strength and range of motion exercises on my own.

I saw the surgeon one week, one month, and six months after surgery.  Today my shoulder is pain free, strong, and has good range of motion.  My initial hesitation regarding surgery was proven wrong.  Proper post operation treatment will help speed up and ensure full recovery, and life can return to normal. 

Picture of Bill 14 days after his surgery

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Bill Ross

Vintage Fitness Trainer

Vintage Fitness is an in-home personal training company in Toronto, Canada. We specialize in energizing the lives of people over 50 with exercise. 

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