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  1. budo seeker is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/25/2007 10:24pm

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: MMA

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Injury and training, advice please!

    I have a bankart tear in my right shoulder. Now the bad shoulder is prone to repeated dislocation. It happened for the first time 9 years ago. I had no problem until I started training martial arts about 4 years ago. Since, I've had two full dislocations and several subluxations; all from wrestling/jujitsu. I stopped training for months after each dislocation focusing on rehab n didn't take breaks for subluxations.

    I stopped training for five months since my last dislocation but went to a two day muaythai seminar this past weekend; I told myself I was just going to observe - two Thai champs were teaching - but ended up participating. Martial arts is a hard habit to break. Luckily nothing happened to my shoulder. I was careful not to abuse it.

    I am at a crossroad here and really need some advice. Is it wise to go back to muaythai/bjj with an unstable shoulder? I have tried not to go the surgery route b/c of $ and time considerations: I don't have an insurance and I can't take time off from work. I know I can't fight or compete with an unstable shoulder. I still want martial arts to be a part of my life. I want to keep doing it for health/fitness and spiritual benefits. If muaythai/bjj is a bad idea, what am I to do? I've tried kungfu for the past two months but it's just not the same. And here is my dilemma, when I do martial arts just for health benefits, which is what traditional kungfu is about, I don't enjoy it as much.

    I guess my real question is, what do those of you who used to train more seriously but can't anymore due to age/work/injury (I am all three) do with your passion for martial arts?? How do you keep martial arts a part of your life?
    Last edited by budo seeker; 11/26/2007 3:04am at .
  2. Uri Shatil is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/25/2007 10:27pm


     Style: Wrestling, BJJ n00b

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    In that whole story, you didn't mention seeing a doctor. This is what we tell everyone here who comes in with similar stories, and it really should be a sticky, but here's what you need to know: GO SEE A DOCTOR NOW. A sports doctor would be best, but any physician will be able to help you.

    EDIT: Oh, and I really don't know much about repeated shoulder dislocations/muscle tears, but from what I've heard, you might need/want surgery.
  3. bitparity is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/26/2007 2:31am


     Style: BJJ/MT

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Dude, I am in the EXACT SAME BOAT AS YOU it's crazy. I just dislocated my shoulder last week so bad that I had to go to the hospital, and that would count as my 3rd dislocation. I however, did see a doctor. Btw, he said there's not really such a thing as a partial dislocation (subluxation) with the shoulder. If you felt it, it dislocated, even if it went back in, the tissue damage is still there.

    You're not going to be 100% of your former self ever again, just like you're 100% now is not the 100% of when you were 18. Learn to be ok with that. When you roll, always be mindful of your weak spot and tap out early. Safety first. If you're not a professional fighter, don't worry about it. If you plan to be a professional fighter, save your 110% for the fight. You don't want to continue to injure yourself to the point of no recovery.

    Develop a game around your injury. The reality is practically everybody involved with any contact sport has some form of permanent injury, and I would assume the same in jiujitsu (especially since the whole point of some submissions is to dislocate joints). Ask your instructors, they'll be more than glad to tell you about their various bad sides, joints, surgeries, etc., but they work through it, and they adapt their game accordingly.

    We had one guest BJJ instructor who came in and showed us this escape from side mount he had to devise because he had a persistant knee injury. This is basically what you need to do.

    Don't worry/bitch about you not being able to be the way you were before. Be who you are now, and make that work for you.
  4. budo seeker is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/26/2007 3:47am

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: MMA

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Uri Shatil, I've received three or four medical opinions on my shoulder so I know what my options are: either I give up contact sports to save my shoulder or get the surgery, which entails 4 months of rehab at least and another six months or so of retraining sports specific strength/speed/flexibility/motor skill/proprioceptive muscle coordination. As I mentioned in my story, I don't have an insurance (getting one now wont help cuz the injury occured already) and I need to work. Thanks for the sound advice though. Always see a doctor first.

    Pityparty, it's good to know there are others that know what I am going through. So what are you doing about your shoulder now? Are you considering surgery?

    It's quite hard to develop a game plan around a loose arm, especially in judo/wrestling/jujitsu, which was my forte, if we are talking about real training. Just jerking on my arm real hard can pop it out. I suppose if I go to the dojo and half ass through the training nursing/baby my shoulder, I could still do it. But I wouldn't really be doing real training.

    You are right about accepting reality: I will never be 100% as I was before. I wasn't a professional fighter but I had won a national amature full contact jujitsu torney pankration rule here in Taiwan. It was a small thing but it gave me confidence to train harder and I did. Time off from training was hard. I was used to the endorphin rush; it was like getting off of drugs n I had minor withdrawl symptoms. Going back to muaythai this past weekend was a reality check: my strength, speed, reaction time, overall attributes detereorated alot eventhough I kept up w/ weights and some crossfit style training. Seeing former classmates surpassing me was a bit discouraging.

    I am accepting my lot, trying to make it work for me, just trying to figure out how. I tried kungfu to keep martial arts a part of my life but kungfu doesn't do it. I guess I know the answer really, and that's to adjust my attitude towards training if I want to keep martial arts a part of my life, to train for fun and health, humble myself, not base my ego on being the top dog/star student and forget about competing or being a tough guy.

    Thanks for the advice so far. Anyone else who used to train competitively but can't anymore due to work/age/injuries care to share their experience? How are you adjusting?
    Last edited by budo seeker; 11/26/2007 4:26am at .
  5. Uri Shatil is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/26/2007 5:55am


     Style: Wrestling, BJJ n00b

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by budo seeker
    Uri Shatil, I've received three or four medical opinions on my shoulder so I know what my options are: either I give up contact sports to save my shoulder or get the surgery, which entails 4 months of rehab at least and another six months or so of retraining sports specific strength/speed/flexibility/motor skill/proprioceptive muscle coordination. As I mentioned in my story, I don't have an insurance (getting one now wont help cuz the injury occured already) and I need to work. Thanks for the sound advice though. Always see a doctor first.
    Oh, well that changes everything. Yeah, I did mention the surgery... damn, that's a bitch.
  6. gothamator is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/26/2007 6:42am


     Style: Ninjutsu/Isshinryu/BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Budo: I was never heavy into competition, but I dropped out of BJJ 10 years ago due to shoulder issues. (Lifting injury from college.) Three years later, my shoulder came loose and I almost dropped my little girl on her head while playing. I had labrum surgery and truly wish I had not waited so long. My shoulder is easily back to 90-95%.

    I circumvented the "pre-existing injury" issue by simply stating it was gettng worse and insurance was no problem. Good luck.
  7. juszczec is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/26/2007 6:55am


     Style: karate and jujutsu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    budo seeker

    I'M NOT A DR. EVERYTHING I'M GOING TO SAY is from my own experience.

    If you can find a physical therapist who works with pro/semi pro athletes and dancers (yeah, dancers - my PT works on dancers and she is routinely backstage taping them up) then talk to them about your injury and its long term implications.

    First - strengthening for stability. There are whole books written about this and plenty of websites. Since you've basically loosened the tendons and ligaments, you now have to strengthen the muscle to keep you shoulder in place. Search the 'net, and go very slowly.

    Second - bracing. If it can't hold itself together then look into external methods to keep your shoulder in place. I think I've seen shoulder braces - heaven knows I've seen and used enough knee/ankle/hip braces.

    Third - know your body. Certain motions/positions are going to make it easier for your shoulder to slip out of joint. Figure out what they are and learn what you can/cannot take. In the beginning, be very conservative. As you gain experience with what your body can/cannot handle you'll be able to be a bit less careful.

    Tap early, tap often.

    I can't say for sure, but I think striking will be easier on your shoulder than grappling - assuming you don't hyperextend your arm/shoulder in a funny way when you punch. I used to train with a guy who's shoulder had been so bad it would slip out as he answered the phone. His boxing was off the hook - we trained together for a few months and I never saw him have any problems.

    FYI - my problem has been my back. I tore it to pieces doing judo in college - go to the point where I couldn't stand straight and laying down was the only non painful activity. That was in 1990. I had been doing karate for about 7 years and thought it was all over. I got lucky and found a good PT. She had me back in 6 weeks. The original injury was compounded by other injuries to my back and groin. Consequently, my core was weak and unstable - wound up with a muscle spasm jerking a vertebra out of place.

    Stretching was always a priority. Strengthening has become an even bigger priority as has proper body mechanics. I'm now 40 and train 2-3 times harder than I did in 1990. About 7 years ago, I started grappling again and, to my surprise, my back has held up very well. Its all a result of the stuff I suggested in my post.

    Best of luck, and remember - this isn't then end of the world unless you let it be the end of the world.

    Mark
  8. budo seeker is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/26/2007 11:25am

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     Style: MMA

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    gothamator, yes, I've heard the surgery can almost fix the shoulder completely and people who have had it don't regret it. I admit I have a natural fear, perhaps out of medical ignorance, of going under the knife. A friend with no medical training tells me this bizarre theory of how the human body is not supposed to be cut open in contact with air. Thanks for the tip on circumventing the "pre-existing injury" issue. I'll try to work that angle. And congrads on the successful recovery of your shoulder.

    juszczec, thank you for your inspirational story! You came back from a devasating injury and continued with hard training into your 40s; I aspire to longevity in martial arts as you have done. Actually, I've had a lower back injury once from getting stacked in bjj. I couldn't even stand up or walk straight. I had problem laying down or turning in bed. Herniated disc and some other dark thoughts crossed my mind. Doc said it was strained muscle and I recovered with time off.

    I'll keep up with my shoulder rehab exercises, stretching, glucosamine/fish oil regimen; they do help keep my shoulder in place during normal activities. Before my last dislocation, I always tap up my shoulder during competition or serious training. I dislocated my shoulder the last time during a supposedly casual randori; it was Murphy's law at work.

    With each injury, I became more aware of my body. I know I can't do any extreme external rotation with the bad shoulder and I can't have my bad arm pulled, jerked, or impacted with force. You are right, standup/striking is a lot safer for me than grappling as long as I am NOT going all out or competing.

    But this is the crux of my issue, I cannot be competitive in martial arts anymore with my shoulder. I am able and willing to go through all the precautions, do the rehab, take the pills but all this would allow me to do is train casually for cardio/fitness/fun, not competitively. No amount of rehab/precaution would allow my bad shoulder to be jerked/pulled/impacted from a bad fall. Currently, I am not considering surgery due to $, time, and work demand. I would appreciate anyone who had to make the transition or is making the transition from competitive training to casual/recreational training due to whatever reason share their experience.
    Last edited by budo seeker; 11/26/2007 11:32am at .
  9. juszczec is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/26/2007 12:50pm


     Style: karate and jujutsu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by budo seeker
    I admit I have a natural fear, perhaps out of medical ignorance, of going under the knife.
    You'll have to talk everything over with a surgeon first anyway. Get a recommendation to the best shoulder guy you can - ask the PTs they know who is/isn't a hack because they see the results of their work when the patient comes in for treatment after surgery.

    Then research the surgery and ask as many questions as you want.

    A friend with no medical training tells me this bizarre theory of how the human body is not supposed to be cut open in contact with air.
    Your friend is wrong. And surgery now isn't what it was even 10 years ago. Arthroscopic surgery has changed everything. Instead of an inches long incision thru skin and muscle, they can make a band aid sized cut (not kidding, a friend of mine had her knee scoped and they didn't bandage her up, the put band aids on the incision) and spare the surrounding tissue.

    juszczec, thank you for your inspirational story! You came back from a devasating injury and continued with hard training into your 40s; I aspire to longevity in martial arts as you have done.
    And I'm going to keep training like this until I can't.

    BTW, the back wasn't the most devastating - it was just the first. I've had 4 more injuries people didn't come back from. Now I'm not a pro/semi pro fighter. I teach and I train and I push it as absolutely hard as I can -

    The PT who worked on my back gets the credit for bringing me back from the other injuries. In addition, when she wasn't in my insurance plan I found myself with a PT who worked at a center with the best reputation in town. Their treatments didn't work and they told me to just pay my bill, eat Advil and sit around. I progressively got worse until I went back to the original PT. It took the PT I trust 9 months to fix everything, but she did and I've been fine ever since.

    Actually, I've had a lower back injury once from getting stacked in bjj. I couldn't even stand up or walk straight. I had problem laying down or turning in bed. Herniated disc and some other dark thoughts crossed my mind. Doc said it was strained muscle and I recovered with time off.
    Yeah, I have to tell all the folks I train with that if they want me to come back next week, don't stack me very hard. Luckily, they all want me to come back next week.

    But this is the crux of my issue, I cannot be competitive in martial arts anymore with my shoulder. I am able and willing to go through all the precautions, do the rehab, take the pills but all this would allow me to do is train casually for cardio/fitness/fun, not competitively. No amount of rehab/precaution would allow my bad shoulder to be jerked/pulled/impacted from a bad fall. Currently, I am not considering surgery due to $, time, and work demand. I would appreciate anyone who had to make the transition or is making the transition from competitive training to casual/recreational training due to whatever reason share their experience.
    Just because you don't compete doesn't mean you can't train as hard (or harder) as you did when you did compete. The only thing you've got to do is inform your training partners that you just can't do certain things. You can figure out how to avoid those situations and you can develop the skills to keep you out of those situations. I know because I have.

    However, the glory from winning an event (and it is glorious to win) never meant much to me. It was easy to give up because that's not what turned me on about MA. The training and preparing is what turned me on.

    If you train because you like winning then you are going to have to get your shoulder fixed (because you can't tell them in a tournament that "Don't do that submission - it'll pop my shoulder out of place and then I'll have to quit) or develop enough skill so you can protect the weak shoulder. Protecting the weakness has been done before. See Bill Wallace and his bad knee - but, although its possible, its not the quickest route.
  10. budo seeker is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/27/2007 11:22am

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: MMA

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    juszczec, thank you for your thoughtful reply. I got into martial arts b/c I wanted to become a stronger more confident person both mentally and physically. At 5' 7", I trained myself from 134pounds to 155pounds, learned how to fight, gained self discipline, and most importantly, found the mental strength and fortitude to face my fears. My instructor was eager to push his students toward competition and I grew to enjoy competition. As bad as this sounds, I also started to build my ego on defeating others. At first it was proving to myself I could defeat bigger stronger guys I would have been intimidated by before. I definitely had a small guy complex, having something to prove.

    I think your attitude towards MA, putting the focus on training, bettering and challenging yourself instead of comparing or competing with others is right. I will adopt this attitude towards MA and training.
    Last edited by budo seeker; 11/27/2007 11:27am at .
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