Help with glenoid fracture recovery please

My partner fell hard on his shoulder, which dislocated and fractured the glenoid. He had surgery 2 days ago and it went well. The fractured pieces were large enough to screw into place without an extra bone grapht.
They say 6 weeks in a sling and then a long time to get the muscles moving again.
He asked the surgeon whether he would be mtbing in a year’s time. The surgeon said “uncertain” as full recovery is 18 months.
In the back of his mind is the fear that he will not be able to mtb again. (And obviously this effects recovery)
When he tore his ACL he had to give up football (played 6 times a week) and found bikes.
We have friends who have broken shoulders and have come back strong, but no one with a glenoid fracture.
Does anyone have any anecdotes which could help?

Might want to check this thread about AC separation. I posted my set up. There is a huge AC separation thread on MTBR as well. This is not the same injury but how long it takes people to recover might be helpful?

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I’m a PT, and I deal with a lot of shoulders. Without knowing the specifics of the case, I would say the surgeon’s estimate is realistic. Post surgical shoulders, especially w/ internal fixation, are very difficult to rehab. I would ask the surgeon who is “go to” shoulder rehab specialist is (like any other profession, not every PT is equal, and a lot shy away from shoulders b/c of the difficulty). When it’s time to start PT, take it seriously. There is a window of around 3 months to get full motion; beyond that it becomes exponentially more difficult. Talk to the PT about the possibility of adding in a soft tissue specialist like A.R.T. or Airrosti as an adjunct treatment. Stick with it - it will be long, uncomfortable and frustrating, but good outcomes are achievable

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Thanks Bikeguy0 :smiley:

Excellent information Thank you.
I’m hoping the 3 month window happens after the 6 weeks of immobilisation to allow the bone to heal?
This gives us time to locate a specialist physio.

Not sure what A.R.T is, but having looked up Airrosti, I have had experience of myofacial release and think it would be useful (if my partner does)
Long, painful, frustrating…good outcome

I know what I’m supporting him with now.
I don’t suppose you work in the UK do you Austin?

ART is active release technique. Between it and Airrosti, I’ve found ART to be more effective (but more uncomfortable). Good way of breaking up scar tissue/adhesions etc which will occur with the 6 weeks of immobilization. Being in the sling is a double edged
sword - the fixation needs time to heal/solidify, but in the mean time the capsule around the joint gets tight, the muscles lock up and scar tissue sticks to everything. That’s when we get them. I would check w/ both the physio and the surgeon to see at what
stage that would be appropriate.

I’m in Texas, sorry. Not sure how it works in the UK, but many clinics here in the States rely on techs (usually untrained college kids) and licensed PT assistants to do a lot of the work. That, and/or the patient ends up seeing a different therapist each time.
When shopping for a physio, ask if the patient stays w/ the same therapist, if that therapist treats one-on-one and for how long (where I work, it’s a one hour session, and I usually have 1-2 patients at a time; for post surgical shoulders, I make the appointment
one on one and do an hour of hands on treatment. that’s where the good outcomes are made (plus the patient doing their “homework”); and ask if the physio does all the treatment or if they use assistants of any sort. At some point it may be safe for you to
have the physio teach you hands on stuff you can do at home between treatments (passive motion/stretching/soft tissue work). I usually hesitate to do that b/c the patients come back and complain (“he did it too hard/too soft/too nice/too mean” etc etc), but
in this case it may help speed the healing process

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It’s a bit of a lottery here in the UK regarding skillful physio’s in both NHS and private practice.
I started doing a bit of research and he has picked up the thread. He is planning to make contact and discuss their approaches as he he feels ready to.
He says to say thanks for the “Awesome reply…”

Continuing the discussion from Help with glenoid fracture recovery please:

Hey Bullseye! I too have a glenoid fracture recently repaired with 3 screws holding it together. I’m 3 weeks out from surgery. I am an avid cyclist and race multiple disciplines including Mtn biking, cyclocross and road. I’ve been riding on the trainer for 2 weeks now and seen pretty good recovery of shoulder mobility without going crazy moving it. I am wondering how your parter who had a similar fracture and surgery faired following his recovery. How long til he was back to normal and mtn biking again? Thanks!!

I moved your post under the existing topic. We like to group common discussion when possible vs many separate topics on the same subject.

Wishing you a fast and productive recovery.

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You’ll be pleased to know he has recovered well. I have emailed your post to him and will post his reply here :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks. Can’t wait to hear back👍

sorry for the delay…he’s on night shift for 8 days straight…

No worries. Sounds like he must be feeling good!

Still love to hear from him when he has some time

Once again, sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you!
Here are some notes I’ve got from him - having interviewed him whilst he’s eating dinner!

Pay attention to mobility physio exercises. Might be boring, but definitely pay off

Mobility quick came back faster than strength, then tapered off- still making progress, so keep it up

Strength on going progress

Don’t push too hard too quickly as all muscles and tendons stretched and moved around. Helped having regular feed back from physio - when felt he wasn’t making progress

Difficult to know what is good pain - physio will say what not to do.

On indoor bike after a couple of weeks.
MTN biking 10 weeks - nothing too gnarly at first.

There’s every reason to be hopeful

How are you doing