I just hurt my shoulder. What now?

Hey Lee. I just wrecked big this past Sunday at Dakota Ridge (near Golden, CO). I am doing the usual ice, ibuprofen, and rest routine, but I was wondering if you had any secrets regarding shoulder rehab. I don’t think I tore or dislocated anything, but there is definitely some deep tissue damage. What would the pros do?



Hey Gabe.

Most pro mountain bikers would keep riding and hurt themselves worse. That’s because most of them aren’t exactly sensible, well balanced people.

Do as I say, not as I do:

– Continue your ice and IB.

– Rest! Let the inflammation go down. Otherwise, it’ll hurt like hell, you’ll ride poorly and you might make a minor injury worse.

– Before you resume ripping, make sure your shoulder feels perfect. In the mean time, ride the trainer or on the road, and do some light range of motion exercises (if that doesn’t hurt). If you have any doubt, see a doctor.

Shoulders are frail, and — believe me — you don’t want to start a chronic condition. I’ve had shoulder surgery, and it SUCKED — and that shoulder still hurts. It will forever.

Be patient,

— Lee

6 replies
  1. Justin Brown says:

    My wife is a Physical Therapist and her business partner is a specialist in the shoulder area…I’ll tell you what she’d tell me…LET IT HEAL. Like Lee said, if you damage it more, it leads to a whole Pandora’s Box of problems. Like Grandmaster Flash said in the famous song “White Lines” DONT DO IT!!!!

  2. Veljko says:

    I agree with Justin. You may have either a SLAP injury or a separated (not dislocated) shoulder injury. I had both, and the MRI’s confirmed that I tore some ligaments. It hurt for a long time but wearing a sling for a few weeks and a daily dose of Naproxen Sodium (Aleve) helped a lot. One orthopedic surgeon wanted to go in and “repair it.”

    I got a second opinion with a better one who would’ve recommended intervention if I was a pro baseball player. It doesn’t hurt anymore although my shoulder clicks in certain positions. I can live with it.

  3. Bob Indig says:

    If you have medical insurance go get it checked out. That’s why you have insurance in the first place. Last June I crashed at Demo (near Santa Cruz). I though I just bruised it. In fact I climbed back up and did the jump again. But later on the ride my shoulder started to dislocate. A month plus later at Whistler and Northshore it only popped out 4 times. Not real fun. Bottom line is that I had broke the part of the scapula (shoulder bone) that the labrum is attached to. That’s why it keep popping out. I had arthroscopic surgery in September. If you did screw it up big-time it is better to know sooner than later. Insist they x-ray and if possible MRI, your shoulder.

  4. Gabe Dillon says:

    Thanks to everyone for the advice. Sometimes it takes other people who’ve been through the same trauma to be more convincing than doctors, mothers, and other sound advisors. It’s been 8 days and the recovery is going well.

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