Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another ream and run diary! Information for those with shoulder arthritis

It is important that individuals considering a ream and run be aware of the possible paths that recovery may take after this procedure.

Here's an email I received yesterday from a man in California who had a ream and run a year ago. 


Not sure if November 16 means a lot to you but it sure does for me. One year ago, November 16, 2010 you operated on my shoulder. I hope I had said thank you to you every time I saw you after the surgery but since I have not been up to Seattle since last February, I wanted to send you an e-mail on my one year anniversary to thank you and your team once again.

My shoulder is doing great. At 1 year, I am playing basketball, flag football, tennis, swimming, going to the gym, golfing, ping pong and just about anything I can think of. Some of that may not sound like much but please recall my left shoulder (and I am left handed) had very limited range of motion for around 10 to 15 years with the last couple of years being so bad I could not even play darts left handed. I could not comb my hair left handed without support from my right hand. I could not raise my hand more than 1 foot above my head. You have given me my left arm back and I wanted to thank you again for that.

During my rehab, months 3-7 were pretty difficult in that I think I was pushing too hard. My goal was to be back to 90% by 6 months but since my range of motion had been so limited for so long, I think I should have been more patient. As a result, I had a couple of set-backs with rotator cuff muscle strains but the joint has never had an issue. Fortunately I had some leg muscle strains as well and that finally helped me to back off pushing my shoulder so hard since I was sidelined from sports for a while.

I continued to see a great deal of improvement after 7 months and even continuing up through today. I could not play tennis comfortably until month 10 and could not throw a softball more than 60 feet even after 7 months. Today I can throw a softball over 90 feet. My arm still feels pretty weak in terms of soft tissue when I throw (but there is no joint pain) so I am taking it very easy. Eventually I want to play in a softball league but I want to be able to throw hard without issue before that happens.

The interesting thing is that some of the planes of motion are completely better while others have come around much more slowly. For instance I can do 12 pull-ups easily and am back to full strength for many exercises in the gym (curls, rows, tricep extensions, etc…) but I am still pretty weak when benching or doing flies (while lying on my back). Don’t worry, I am not doing any military press or any exercises involving lifting weights repetitiously over-head. One motion that I have not improved in is raising my left hand behind my back. It just does not go but I have not really worked on that motion too much.

In closing I just wanted to thank you and your team again for giving me back my shoulder and increasing the quality of my life. It has really allowed me to get back into many things that I had long ago given up. "

Needless to say, I wanted to check to see what this shoulder looked like before surgery. It turns out that it was one of the most severely damaged I've seen as shown in these two films taken before the ream and run.

Three months after the procedure, this is what the joint looked like.


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