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DWx
KF Sensei
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Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 5850
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:56 am    Post subject: UCL reconstruction Reply with quote

Currently typing this one handed with a plaster cast..

Some of you may remember my last post on this but back in 2015, a badly executed dive roll resulted in a complete tear of my ulnar collateral ligament. The UCL is a ligament on the inside of the elbow joint and connects the humerus to the ulna and helps to stabilise the joint.

I've been having problems weight bearing on the damaged arm despite a strength programme and was getting a lot of pain from any fast extensions like punching or striking. On Thursday I had what is known as a Tommy John surgery to repair this.

A Tommy John Surgery or Ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, is very common in baseball players as they damage the ligaments throwing. It involves harvesting a tendon, in my case the palmaris tendon from my wrist, and threading this through in a figure of eight through the humerus and ulna in order to stabilise the joint again. Patients then spend up to 10 days in a plaster cast before switching to a brace which is slowly opened up over the course of 6 weeks until a full range of movement is achieved.

My surgeon was an orthopaedic consultant specialising in elbows and shoulders with a background in sports medicine. The hospital itself is a teaching hospital and it must have been an interesting case as various students have had to diagnose me over the past few weeks and 8 of them were brought up to watch when my surgeon did his final assessments.

My aim is to be back doing light training in January, with a view to compete again in TKD in 2019. I had postponed this op once already as the ITF European Championships were hosted in my country in 2017 and I wanted to be there. We will now host the 2019 World Championships and I intend to be in a position to participate then. 3 months no training is going to be hard though as I'm normally used to being active 5 to 6 days a week.

Thought I might document my recovery in case anyone else has to go through something similar:

Day 0 (day of the surgery): went down for surgery at 10.30 am. Brought back around at 4:30 pm with a plaster cast on my arm. Kept in overnight and was immobilised and hooked up to paracetamol drip, morphine and oxygen. Didn't get too much sleep as the morphine made me very nauseous (throwing up) and the nurses had to come take my vitals every 2 hours. Could move my hand but felt very numb.

Day 1 (released home): pain was manageable and I was walking around the ward so was released home at around 2.30 pm. Worst car journey ever as my sister can't drive smoothly and seemed to aim for every pothole possible. Trying to move my hand as much as possible and also shoulder exercises from the physio.

Day 2 (today): not too much pain, only when I try to move my arm too much and when my mother tried unhelpfully to shove a cushion under my arm - emphasis on the shove. Good thing I started squatting at the gym before this as having to bodyweight squat to pick anything up as can't lean forward. Still numbness in my 4th finger and little finger but can now lightly hold things in my hand.
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Last edited by DWx on Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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sensei8
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 13017
Location: Owasso, OK
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can I please say this....OUCH!!

I've not experienced anything like what you're experiencing. I've had knee surgery when I was much younger, and that was no picnic whatsoever.

I believe that you'll follow the orders of the doctors and any other medical professionals while on your journey to reach full recovery. It might seem like forever for you when all is said and done; patience is that virtue. Frustration will visit quite often, especially if you don't find things to do to keep you mind off the recovering process, and how long it seems to be taken.

Your decisions around the Championships are understood, and appreciated wholeheartedly!! When the time is right, in 2019, you'll take your rightful place on the floor with your team, and kick butt!! Just don't rush the recovery process because if you do rush it, you'll aggravate the injury more, and cause undo further complications, and you'll lengthen the recovery time.

Hang in there!! I got your back!! You've my undying respect, now and forever!!

Heal well...heal right!! You're in my thoughts and prayers!!



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singularity6
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Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 490
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ooof... that sounds rough! I suspect I'll be getting surgery on my shoulders at some point. I'm not looking forward to it.
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Wastelander
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Joined: 18 Oct 2010
Posts: 2250
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That ligament sometimes gives me trouble, but so far not too bad. I'm sorry to hear about you having to go through this! That said, 3 months isn't that long in the grand scheme of things, and I know you'll get back to training as soon as you can
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DWx
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Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 5850
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys

Wastelander wrote:
That ligament sometimes gives me trouble, but so far not too bad. I'm sorry to hear about you having to go through this! That said, 3 months isn't that long in the grand scheme of things, and I know you'll get back to training as soon as you can

I could have gone without the repair and the surgeon said for most people he wouldn't recommend bothering with it and that they should try to build up as much muscle as possible. But because I'm doing a sport/physical activity there were benefits to going through with it for the extra stability. I would say if you can, hold off for as long as possible but if its causing you grief its maybe worth looking at.
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DWx
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Joined: 17 Jan 2007
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Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Day 4 to 6: hasn't been too bad. Mostly my shoulder is getting sore as I can't move it too much and the cast is very heavy. I've been focusing on my hand exercises and seeing a gradual improvement in strength and dexterity. The inside of my elbow is really sore and itchy, I'm guessing where the incision was (I'll have a 10 cm scar after) but I won't know how things are coming along until they redo the cast next week.
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bushido_man96
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Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wishing you a speedy, and full, recovery, Danielle. Can't imagine what that's like, but hopefully you'll be stronger in the end.
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mazzybear
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Joined: 30 Oct 2013
Posts: 605
Location: Scotland.
Styles: Wado Kai

PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wishing you a speedy recovery, Danielle! Sounds very painful but, hopefully you're not out too long.



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DWx
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Joined: 17 Jan 2007
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Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To update:

Day 7: I had a new polymer cast fitted. Previously I had a half back cast which was open and bandaged on one side to accommodate any swelling. The hospital have now fitted me with a full polymer based cast which is much lighter and sturdier. First time I got to see the wounds and looks like i will have a scar from my wrist all the way to under my elbow.

Day 10 (today): had to go to the hospital this afternoon as have had an allergic reaction to something and have broken out in a rash all over my arms and legs. The hospital don't think it's the cast but I'm struggling to think of anything else that has changed recently. For now I have to load up on antihistamines and be careful of any swelling in the cast.

Sitting around is driving me nuts... Just moving from bed to chair to couch. Haven't done any exercise for 2 weeks.
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sensei8
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
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Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I've not said this, forgive me, Danielle, but I do wish you a speedy recovery, and all the best!!

How are you sleeping with the cast?

Will you have to have physical therapy to regain mobility in your shoulder and/or elbow?? I ask because, in a cast, I'm thinking your arm is in a fixed position across your midriff.

Hang in there, Danielle, because at the end of the road, you'll be back on the floor, and enjoying the things you love.



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