Surgery was exactly four weeks ago and after spending the first three weeks in a right-arm (sling which severely hampers the ability to type) I have been released to begin rehab work. In addition to the resurfacing procedure of the joint, the surgeon repaired my bicep tendon which had become frayed by the interaction with the raw bone. The first few sessions consisted of the therapist performing passive circumduction. We quickly moved to pendulum swings and then pulley work to extend range of motion frontal and then abduction. Because of the nature of the surgery and the need to cut through the infraspinatus to get to the joint, I will be restricted to just 20 degrees of external rotation for another three weeks. However, I can already tell that the severe pain from the osteoarthritis in the shoulder is gone and that this was absolutely the right decision. It will allow me to get back to full competition after rehab.
After eleven years as a competitive powerlifter (24 World and 25 American titles), my shoulder joints have been reduced to bone on bone. Osteoarthritis is defined as the wearing away of the cartilage which cushions the joint. Most people over 60 years of age with this condition are subjected to shoulder replacement surgery, which is an invasive procedure involving the removal of the head of the humerus and the installation of a titanium rod with a titanium ball on top, into the bone marrow of the humerus itself. I was told a number of years ago by my orthopedic surgeon that I would not be able to lift heavy ever again if I undertook such an operation. Therefore, I continued to train with severe pain rather than end my career. My training partner, John Hare, has literally had to shove me under the bar for the last four years in order to get into position to squat-a very painful movement.