Why a shoulder injury sucks

January 27, 2007

I’ve been involved in sports all my life and this is the first time I’ve experienced a chronic injury, one that won’t go away, doesn’t seem to get better, but isn’t severe enough to lay me up and keep me out of the water…a torn rotator cuff injury. I did it last summer while i was, yes you guessed it, surfing. Stupid, stupid injury that happened on a small day doing something I’ve done a thousand times. I was longboarding with no leash, and as the wave closed out, I grabbed hold of the rail of the board to hold on to it so I wouldn’t lose the board. The wave took hold of the board and swung it out with me holding onto it, and rip – I felt a sharp tear at the back of my shoulder. Immediately, my arm went lame and I had to belly board it in to shore. I tore a muscle of some sort at the back of my shoulder blade.

For about a week, I didn’t surf, iced the shoulder, did some stretches and thought it was ok. I then got busy with summer surf lessons and kept teaching and surfing through the rest of the summer even though my shoulder was killing me. I only have lessons for about three months of the year, so I had to suck it up and teach because I knew by September, the demand for lessons would drop off, and I could take care of it then.

So September rolled around and I decided I needed to finally treat the injury. By this point, I not only had pain at the back of the shoulder where the initial tear occurred, but also at the front of the shoulder which I later learned is bicep tendanitis. I was also motivated to try to heal the injury now because I had a surf trip to Mexico planned (and paid for) in October and wanted to be able to paddle for long periods of time on this trip. So I started with deep tissue massage and accupuncture, and stopped surfing for three weeks. I suppose it felt a bit better because I was able to surf ok while in Mexico and push my time in the water to about four or five hours each day (double sessions). By the end of the trip, needless to say, my shoulder was f’ed and the pain was severe.

When I got back, I took time off, tried a couple of more accupunture appointments and a couple of chiropractic treatments, but the pain was still intense. I decided rather than mess around not knowing the extent of my injury, I would go ahead and see the orthopedic surgeon and get an MRI. I was loath to hear that I needed surgery, and delayed this decision for some time. When I finally did get the MRI done (which is another posting in and of itself), the good news was that it didn’t appear that surgery was necessary. I had scar tissue build up and severe bicep tendonitis that needed to be treated, but no surgery required.

Thus, I have now begun Physical Therapy, along with a heavy dosage of anti-inflammatories, and we’ll see. I still have alot of pain and weakness, but I am still surfing a bit. It’s so hard to give it up entirely. So I have had pain and surfed with pain for six months. The physical therapist is optimistic and said we should be able to reduce the inflamation and strengthen the muscles to help fix the problems. We’ll see.

Surfing with any injury sucks but surfing with a shoulder injury really sucks.


A surfer girl who loves football

January 22, 2007

I watched the game even though we were out celebrating my brother’s birthday and we were in the middle of a popular restaurant in Malibu with the gorgeous California coast just outside the large oceanfront windows. Thank you to the large flat screen tv’s in the bar where I could dash to every few minutes for updates and glimpses of the exciting fourth quarter finish. And I’m glad Peyton Manning’s Colts beat Tom Brady’s (mister chin man) New England Patriots even though my sister-in-law is from Boston and my brother lived there for ten years. I’m glad football’s awesome thinking-man qb finally made it to the superbowl and I’m glad my family has bred sports fans so that my dashing away from the table every five minutes was not not only considered rude (wow, now that was an awkward double negative but I think I’m going to leave it just the same), but was, in fact, encouraged and shared with excitement and ferver – that is until the final seconds of the game when I had to race back gleefully to exclaim that the Colts and intercepted a Brady pass. Game over. Sorry, bro. New England just lost. Oh, and happy birthday to you….

p.s. Surf has sucked lately…

Mammoth and the Big Chill

January 18, 2007

Just got back from Mammoth and had a great time, however, it was by far the coldest I’ve ever experienced while snowboarding – in fact, while doing anything. On the first day, it was four degrees and Canyon lodge and double digit below zero on the mountain. BELOW ZERO!!! The conditions were actually really good; fresh falling snow, untracked powder, no crowds or lines. Great, except for the fact that we were all absolutely freezing…not just oohh, it’s cold, but frozen till it hurts to breathe cold. We all had to quit at about 1:30 pm because we were just too cold, which is kind of a bummer because like I said, the conditions were actually really good. It was just slightly warmer the next day but the crowds had arrived. And then by Sunday, all of the fresh snow from two days prior had disappeared and the hill was still too cold and icy.

All in all, though, it was a great trip and we had lots of fun. Haven’t been in the water since I’ve been back. Still too cold and pretty flat. Plus, I just had a cortisone shot in my shoulder for a rotator cuff injury, so I’m not surfing for a few weeks in any event.

Surfing Blacks

January 7, 2007

Went down to San Diego and surfed Blacks with a couple of friends on Wednesday.  What a fantastic wave.  As my friend says, “perfect barrels guaranteed.”  When we first paddled out, it was a super high tide and the waves were on the soft side, but as the tide dropped, they got better and better.  About two hours into the session, when my arms were starting to ache, the waves got great….blacks produces perfect lefts wave after wave.   And there were relatively few people out…granted it’s a ten minute hike down a steep cliff to get to the beach which weeds out alot of people, but still, if that wave existed in L.A., there would always be at least 100 people on it.   L.A. surfing, like its traffic, is hectic and agro.  Back to Venice tomorrow morning.  hurumph.