A shoulder injury can be devastating to your comfort and mobility. If left untreated, it could become too painful to even move your arm, but there is relief!
A former McNeese State University baseball coach is learning why it is best to get your pain addressed early.
Reaching his arm behind his back is a move that has been impossible for Johnny Suydam to make painlessly until just a couple of weeks ago.
This former coach and current voice of the Cowboys football team took a 14 foot fall from his workshop in August that left him with a bad injury. "In some part of the fall," he said, "I hit my head and my shoulder."
For 11 days, Suydam ignored the pain, thinking his shoulder would self-heal. But when it did not, he went to orthopedic surgeon Dr. George "J." Trappey, a staff surgeon at Women and Children's Hospital and Center for Orthopaedics. "I looked at Dr. Trappey when he came in the room," said Suydam, "and said, 'it's bad isn't it?' and he said, 'yeah, it's bad,' and we basically went from there."
While shoulder injuries are common, Dr. Trappey said the position of Suydam's tear was unique. "When he injured himself, he tore his tendon all the way off the bone and that allowed his bicep tendon to come out of the groove," said Dr. Trappey.
Surgery was the only fix for this rotator cuff tear. "I had to make a little incision on the front of the shoulder that goes between the muscles so we're not splitting any muscles and put some anchors with sutures coming out of them and basically tie this tendon back to this piece of bone," said Dr. Trappey.
For the next six weeks, Suydam wore a sling and only moved his arm and shoulder with the help of a physical therapist. Now he is in the next phase of recovery: six weeks of restricted movement. "My range of motion is unbelievable," he said.
In a few weeks, Suydam will be able to do some light-lifting, but has his eyes set on the six month mark when he can get back to the basics that are a little challenging today. "Just do the normal things," he said, "tuck in my shirt and things like that that I couldn't do before and you don't realize what you can't do until something like that happens."
There are two types of tears: traumatic, like Suydam's, and degenerative, which happens slowly over time and might not require surgery.
If you want to learn more about shoulder pain and getting rid of it, Dr. Trappey is holding a free seminar Thursday, October 25th at 5:30 p.m. at Center for Orthopaedics in Lake Charles. Call 721-7291 to save your seat.