Rotator Cuff, shoulder surgery - 2024 plans

I had a “nothing fall” on my bike, low speed - slowing. Angled poured concrete bike path tilting to the right. Couldn’t get the right cleat to disengage and came down on my shoulder joint slightly forward on a retaining wall. That was on Sept 4, 2023.

Went through the usual path, Rest, Anti-inflammatories, Ice. After 2 weeks it felt worse. X-Rays, nothing broken. Went into do an MRI and sure enough, shoulder needed repair. Surgery was on October 26th. Wow, the Dr., who is a shoulder specialist, said that there was serious and significant damage to the rotator cuff 3 tendons severed, including cartilage damage they had to trim away. Also anterior labrum completely torn as was the bicep. They got everything back together (taking 4" out of the bicep to get it reattached) and been healing since.

PT started at day 4 post surgery. PT 2X a week plus daily homework focused on mobility of the joint. I’m pleased with progress to date. Just need to trust the process and follow PT and Dr to the letter.

2 weeks ago was released back to riding a trainer. Right now I’m focusing endurance rides since they don’t want me putting any force on the handlebars yet. Ride mostly with no hands.

Right now, have muscle soreness in deltoid also around scapula and stiff neck. Bicep is still really tight and sore most of the time. PT says this is to be expected considering my surgery, stretching bicep that much. It is getting better over time.

I had penciled in plans to do some sprint triathlons this year, starting June and through fall. Obviously June is off the table, even if I made a stunning recovery will probably just not be fit enough, especially the swim (my weak leg). Anyone else had this, how long did it take you to get back? Dr. says 6-9 months… before he’ll release me then conditioning for swim and all. I know that this is a cycling specific forum, just asking to see what is reasonable.

I had labrum and bicep surgery last December and was released to anything I wanted to do in June. I’ve had to keep working on range of motion, strength, and mobility all year because the shoulder is still a little weaker than I’d like. I only notice the weakness when mountain biking or quick reaction situations but it doesn’t prevent me from doing anything.

For your trainer rides, I suggest you just do z2 and below. Maybe check out traditional base, low volume. Your body just went through a traumatic event and needs to recover. The focus should be on healing your shoulder about all else. The fitness can take a back seat for a couple months.

Be patient and don’t rush the process.

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You might feel ready earlier than projected, but remember that supporting structures and cartilage use a lot of time to get completely healed. You risk feeling good after 3 months, and then get a setback. This might set you back even longer than before surgery. Do follow the PTs advice.

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Thanks for the great replies. I’m working on patience and trusting and following the process. Nice to see I’m not alone.

Had cuff and bankart about 2 years ago. It’s a long process, was probably 4-5 mo before I felt safe riding outside again

I found that putting my mtb on the trainer was more comfy, as I’m a bit more upright and shorter reach. Probably took 2 weeks off of anything physical and just slowly started back at it

Trusting the process and following your doctor’s and PT’s advice to the letter is definitely key. As for your plans for sprint triathlons, it’s understandable that June might be off the table, given the recovery timeline. I think it’s essential to prioritize your health and take the time needed to fully heal. Keep up the positive attitude, and I’m sure you’ll be back to your active lifestyle in no time. If you ever need more specialized advice, Dr. Kevin Kruse, a shoulder surgeon, might offer some valuable insights. You can find more information about him at

Hi. Just wondering how those of you recovering from shoulder surgery are getting on. I had surgery to repair a partial tear in the supraspinatus tendon in my shoulder last month. I tore it last summer, but decided to bite the bullet and get surgery. I’m wearing a sling while on the trainer. Sitting upright almost all the time but training as normal. Changing gear on the right derailleur left-handed was a bit odd at first. Raising the front wheel 10 inches or so really helped comfort wise. I’m reluctant to take off the sling even though I don’t have to wear it all the time. I suspect putting any weight at all on the arm on the handlebars won’t do the repair much good.
The orthopaedic surgeon said I should stay off the bike on the road for 6 months. I’d like to do an 200k audax in the autumn/fall but wonder if it will be rushing things to do one almost as soon as I’m back on the road. From your experiences what do you think? I’d value your advice and comments.