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Shoulder Doc in Bishop/Mammoth (And Questions about Rotator Cuff Issues)
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From Seattle, WA
Jan 26, 2012
So here's the deal:

I'm in Bishop for the winter, and I tweaked my right shoulder while bouldering 2.5 weeks ago. Bummer. It was a gradual-onset sort of thing, with no sudden POP! or anything. I actually first noticed the issue during a rest day, when I felt a joint soreness underlying the usual muscle soreness.

The injury is minor, yet nagging. No real pain, even during activity, other than a few minor twinges; it just feels kind of "off". The main symptom is that my shoulder stiffens up a bit in the evening, and clicks/cracks audibly when I extend my right arm above my head. I can even climb on it without any pain, but have been refraining from doing so to prevent any further damage. From what I've read on the interwebs, it sounds like this is a minor rotator cuff impingement, or something of the like.

I've mostly rested over the past few weeks, with a few light days out climbing (which probably were ill-advised). I've also started a proper course of Theraband shoulder exercises, as described in this article: ukclimbing.com/articles/page.p... These seem to help; the more devoutly I adhere to this regimen, the better my shoulder feels. Still, though, after a few weeks, improvement has been pretty minor, and I'd like some better info on how to get the thing healed up properly , ideally in time for the Creek in March. Also, and more importantly, I want to make sure that I don't do anything stupid to make it worse in the long run. Might be time to go see a real doctor.

Anyway, this long prelude leads to my question: does anyone have a recommendation of a good sports medicine doctor, orthopedist, PT, other otherwise to see in the Bishop/Mammoth area? I am going to be in this area for the next month-ish, so recommending your doctor in Boulder isn't of any use to me. Fortunately, I currently have good health insurance.

Additionally, accounts and advice from those who have dealt with similar shoulder issues would also be appreciated.


By Mike Howard
Jan 26, 2012
RGG silhouette
Mike Karch MD, is a solid athlete, well trained orthopod and a nice guy. Tell him I sent you. mammothhospital.com/services/s...

By Zirkel
From Bishop, CA
Jan 31, 2012
Owens Gorge.  Mt Tom in background.
+1 for Mike Karch in Mammoth. He's tough to get in to see, but worth the wait.

Maybe check out Mary Devore (Bishop Yoga and Massage) for deep tissue work, or Howard Wu for acupuncture. No stellar PT's in town, although I've seen Sherri Pueblo at Sierra Park Orthopedics and PT with good results.

By Grant Gerhard
From Denver, CO
Jan 31, 2012
Edge of Time, RMNP
I impinged my rotator cuff in a fall in last fall. My symptoms were more severe than yours, but had similar experience with the PT. Acupuncture didn't really help me, do the PT 5 days a week, that's more than any orthopedist or alt medicine can do for you, and entirely free. If you need some motivation, go see a PT so he can guilt you into actually doing them diligently. Also I felt NSAIDs and ice/heat helped my symptoms

By Jon Clark
From Philadelphia, PA
Jan 31, 2012
onsight soloing Atman
I have had shoulder injuries in the past from biceps tendonosis to an RC strain sustained in a somewhat spectacular skiing fall. I have successfully rehabbed them through diligent PT and returned to form. You should certainly take the time to get a proper diagnosis. However, as long as you haven't incurred serious damage the protocol will be the same for all shoulder issues; PT. If you had sustained a tear you would know it as your ROM would be severely limited. A PT can diagnose shoulder issues just as well as an ortho can. Although you may need a script from an ortho to be evaluated by a PT.

There's a wealth of info on shoulder PT on the web, but I would still find someone to work with as you progress through the rehab. They will be able to provide feedback on your progress as well as ensure that you are working with appropriate weight/resistance. Form is very important and weight/resistance not as much. The rehab phase eventually evolves into a maintenance program that you will need to stay on top of.

I would stay away from NSAIDs. Research has reported that they soft tissue repair. In addition, NSAIDs can mask pain caused by overuse issues allowing you to further injure the tissues that are trying to heal.

Don't rush back too soon. Take the time to address the issue correctly and you'll be back in action before you know it.


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