December 08, 2016 3 min read 3 Comments

Next week I'm having surgery on my shoulder. It turns out I've dislocated it a few too many times, and I need to get it sorted. It's not that big a deal but it is going to affect how Airdrop is run over the next few weeks; it's kinda hard to build a bike with only one arm...

Anterior dislocation of the right shoulder. It's a classic mountain biking injury, and I guess it's one that plenty of people reading this have been through themselves. The first is always the worst, and I wish I had a rock & roll story about landing a 60ft gap to flat, but I haven't. Actually I did it half drunk at my wife's birthday party when the inevitable mucking-about-on-bikes kicked in (I was on a hot lap and would clearly have won if someone hadn't put that tree in the way). I was younger than I am now, so didn't do the recovery like I should have, and just carried on riding bikes. A few dislocations later and now it just pops out for the stupidest of reasons. Last time it was the night before the 'Ard Rock Enduro, and I didn't get to race. Time to get it sorted.

I'm going in for a surgery next week. An Arthroscopic Bankart Repair, to give it it's full name. Basically they're going to pin the glenoid ligament back into place using what appears to be a only-slightly modified rawl-plug. Yes, there is a hammer and a power drill involved. But I'm assured it will all be fine and the good news is, I'll be under general anaesthetic so I won't have any idea what the dude with the drill is up to. The bad news is that I'll be out of action for some time - and that's likely to affect how I'm able to run Airdrop Bikes.


How Does This Affect Airdrop Bikes?


The short answer is that I don't know - not exactly. We can pretty much write-off next week because I'll be in hospital and then recovering from the surgery itself. Then I'll have my arm in a sling and totally immobilised for at least 4 weeks. After that it's a 12-week course of physio to gradually regain a full range of movement and only then will I be able to start training again.

In the short term I have to ask you for your patience. I'm not shutting Airdrop but I'll have to take things a bit slower than usual.

Normally my way of dealing with a problem is to break it down into chunks and then just work my ass off until the problem has been crushed. That's not going to work this time so I'll be getting some help in to do the physical stuff - building bikes and shipping orders. That'll take a short while to get sorted and to get everything dialled.

You can contact me as normal either on email or through Facebook Messenger. I'll get back to you as soon as I can. If you want to place an order, you can still do that, it'll just take a bit longer for me to process than it normally does.


What Happens Next


Since my first meeting with the consultant, the big question for me has been how to judge whether or not to actually have the surgery. Yes, the shoulder is a problem as it is, and I'm developing arthritis in it which makes matters worse. But the consequences of the surgery are also hard to deal with: I'm running a small business single-handed, I have a young family and we're about to have another child in the next few weeks. Looks like some interesting times coming up...

There's plenty of official medical advice out there but as usual it's pretty bland and nobody really wants to tell you what the recovery is going to be like. The only thing I found that was really informative was a skier's personal account on the Teton Gravity Research forum. So if any of you reading this have knackered your shoulder, and you think there's value in me keeping you updated on how the surgery goes and what the recovery process is like, I'll post it up on here.

If anyone out there has actually had a Bankart Repair, and you want to share your insight into the process, I'd like to hear from you. Contact me in the usual way.

Cheers, 

Ed

 

 

Ed Brazier
Ed Brazier

Ed is the owner of Airdrop Bikes. A former web and graphic designer, he sacked off his job one day and decided to start up a bike brand.


3 Responses

Rich Palmer
Rich Palmer

December 10, 2016

Ed

I dislocated my shoulder about six years ago landing badly after back flipping a road gap, or was it a innocuous topple over the bars on Wharncliffe Crags at just over walking pace, I forget, but the details are unimportant.

Although I went to hospital at the time, I’d put my shoulder back in myself (with the help of my chums) up on the Crag and it all seemed relatively ok after a couple of weeks. Over the next few months, like you, it kept popping out again at inconvenient moments and although I kept popping it back in myself with no apparent after effects, something needed to be done so I opted to have surgery.

My injury required a Latarjet Procedure which is performed when there is some bone loss from the front of the glenoid. This is open surgery which involves cutting the muscle to get at the affected area through a 4 inch incision on the front of the shoulder. A piece of bone is cut off somewhere in there, shaped and screwed in position with two screws over the gap in the edge of the glenoid. It all sounds a bit crude and Heath Robinson but it does the trick. It was done at the Northern General by Shoulder Consultant to the stars David Potter, who also happens to be a really nice chap.

Immediately after the op, the worst thing was the pain when the nerve block wears off (like massive pins and needles). I needed some morphine for this overnight in hospital but when I woke up and went home, I only stayed on the strong pain killers for a couple of days which made me really drowsy and meant that I couldn’t drink beer, which was out of the question, then Paracetamol for a couple of days and nothing at all after that.

I did all the exercises and physio to make sure I recovered properly, and as you can’t ride, there’s not much more to do with your time. I probably did too much, but when they give you instructions like “do as many as you can” they are thinking between 10 and 20 and I was doing 100 because I could. Anyway the exercises start off with just leaning forward, dangling your arm down and spinning it slightly through standing press-ups against the wall and using a stretchy rubber band to full press-ups within two or three weeks. I booked on to some special physio sessions designed for athletes and people who do manual work etc at the Hospital to but I only went twice because I could do everything they asked me to do already. My recommendation would be to do as many of the recovery exercises as often as you can, without going daft of course.

Three weeks without being allowed to drive was the worst thing, having to use peasant transport and rely on lifts, but I could fully only a couple of days after the op (Construction Project Manager and Civil Engineering and Building Design), so no-one got upset about it really. By about six weeks I started riding again on gentle road rides on the mountain bike (which felt more stable), then onto the road bike and full mountain biking again by ten weeks or so, although it took another month or so before I trusted the strength in my shoulder fully. It was a bit of a crash on The Beast onto my repaired shoulder that made me decide that everything was ok.

From that point on its been generally fine, other than a slight loss of movement at the extremes and my shoulder not being quite so strong as it used to be with my arms above head height, but these are things you can work around fairly easily I’ve found.

Two years later I fell down the bank on Back Edge coming home from Wharncliffe and broke my collar bone on the same side. Again I was seen by Mr Potter at the Northern General who was pleased to see that his handiwork had held up to my ham-fisted riding.

Last year I crashed heavily into the bombhole during my race run at the Steel City DH and my shoulder just didn’t feel right, so I went back to see Mr Potter (privately through work this time – nice) and he did some arthroscopic shenanigans to remove one of the screws and tidy up some of the scar tissue. After the Steel City crash my shoulder felt like it was full of grit but now it’s a whole lot better. The nerve block pain after the op was bad again, but not as bad as last time. I took a strong pain killer that night (at home) to help me get to sleep and that was all had. No need for anything the next morning even.

Recovery from this one was only two or three weeks off the bike. Again, I hit the exercises hard and everything is pretty much back as it was after the first op, although a bit weaker overall I reckon, but that’s probably the arthritis starting to kick in.

All in all I’m glad I chose to get fixed up.

Best of luck with your recovery and maybe we could go for a ride once you’re back on the bike in the Spring with my pal Nick Harris who has one of your splendid bikes.

Rich

Simon Howett
Simon Howett

December 08, 2016

Hope everything goes well & recovery goes to plan

Jacob Perkins
Jacob Perkins

December 08, 2016

If you need a hand (or two) during the day mate I happy to come and help

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