I am happy to say that week two, and the first half of week three, are both ripe with progress for my shoulder situation. In week two I was primarily plagued by consistent tightness / pain in my back which could have been due to a rib injury or could have simply been pissed off muscles in my shoulder girdle adjusting to their new normal. Either way, week two, in many ways, was the worst so far for pain and discomfort. The good news is that my range of motion, stability and confidence made steady improvements, culminating in me climbing some simple, steeper boulder problems at the end of the week. It felt very clunky and not at all close to 'normal' but it was a nice sensation to pull my body off the ground and up the wall!
That first day of climbing up to ~V4 broke the ice for me to try some autobelays and some longer routes a few days later at the Boulder Rock Club. On Tuesday (15 days after the accident) I climbed up to 5.12- on auto belay and it felt outstanding! I could definitely sense a lot of hesitation and cautious movement but I was almost totally pain free. The one movement that seemed weak and too scary was rocking over a right foot by pushing my left hand out to the left, like opening an elevator door with the left hand. Pulling straight down, even from a pretty extended position with my left hand however, felt mostly fine.
The next day I did some leading up to mid 5.12 on seven or eight routes before my shoulder was getting tired and I quit for the day. This felt like mini progress in itself, but I was still having some issues with that movement I mentioned - so yesterday at my PT appointment with Ross Bodine we worked through some exercises and range of motion to hopefully help strengthen that. We also went through a myriad of other exercises that I had been too cautious to try such as overhead press, push ups and levers - all of which were shockingly fine, but just will need some time to strengthen up to normal.
If I had to put a percentage on my shoulder I would probably say 50% which might seem low given all of these strides but to me it seems incredibly high considering just 2.5 weeks ago it felt as though my arm was detached from my body altogether.. Moving forward I am going to focus entirely on strengthening, and building back up to my previous loads in all of those exercises I've mentioned - as well as mixing in some not too challenging climbing, as with most injuries the time in the weight room is always more fruitful.
So what have I been doing that seems to work?? Most importantly I have been seeing my PT, Ross Bodine at Alta in Boulder once a week, and seeing my massage therapist, Dan Micheal in Boulder once or more a week. Since day one I have been taping my shoulder using Luekotape (hugely important). I've made time, several times a day, to do PT exercises and been doing a daily hour long hike in the foothills. Every 2nd or 3rd day I have been doing BFR to try and maintain my fingers, roughly following the protocol laid out here by the maestro Tyler Nelson. Lastly I have given up completely on alcohol, been sleeping 8-9 hours a night (which has gotten easier as my back has relaxed) and not taken any pain meds or NSAIDS since the first day. I've used some THC / CBD for sleep aid which was great and tried to get tons of micronutrients in my food along with daily protein smoothies. Overall I've really tried to approach this injury like an important project, placing a ton of importance and significance on my PT, exercises, ROM and nutrition.
I am aiming to be cranking hard in September but we will see how the end of this process goes! Wish me luck and send me your questions if you are going through AC separation also!!