In the six years that my family has skied, we have experienced only a few minor incidents: a sprained wrist, a bump on the head, and a broken ankle. My husband and I have been lucky enough to have escaped any kind of ski injuries ourselves.
Until this March Break.
I was skiing with my two daughters while my husband and son went off to the terrain park. As I skied down to the chairlift I heard my name over the loudspeaker and a big sign telling me to go to the ski patrol hut as soon as possible. Of course my first thought was of my son who is a maniac in the terrain park.
Panicked and frustrated at how slow the chairlift was carrying me up to the top of the hill, I was thinking the worst. As I raced down to the ski patrol hut and threw off my skis, I had no idea what I would find on the other side of the door. Was it my son? Was it my husband? Has my life changed forever with whatever lies behind the door? I threw open the door and saw my husband sitting, fully conscious, with an ice pack on his shoulder.
I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Nobody was unconscious, bleeding, or severely broken.
And it was not my son. (My husband playfully will not let me live that down.)
The ski patrol said it was a dislocated shoulder.
Here Are Three Easy Steps to End Your Ski Season
1) Ski too fast in a slow zone
2) Get your ski caught in a snow net
3) Topple head over heels and land squarely on your shoulder
For those who have not had experience with this kind of injury, I can tell you that it is very painful and very disabling. I have never seen my husband in so much pain before. The 45 minute drive to the hospital in a snowstorm did not help matters. It was excruciating for him. Of course he felt much better once they drugged him up and put the shoulder back into place.
For those of you unfamiliar with the anatomy of the shoulder joint, here’s a short lesson:
The shoulder is a unique ball and socket joint with a complex anatomy that allows for high mobility and much-needed coordination in order to reach, lift, throw and perform many other movements. The soft tissue around the shoulder joint holds the ball in the socket and prevents it from being displaced. The soft tissue consists of ligaments, muscles and tendons.
A dislocation occurs when the ball is wrenched out of its socket. The force required to do this can also cause tearing or partially tearing of the surrounding muscles, ligaments or capsule. Rotator cuff tears are common occurrences with a dislocated shoulder.
My husband is now into his fourth week of immobilization in a sling. He is getting antsy and wants to start moving it. He will start physiotherapy in a few days.
Rehabilitation of a dislocated shoulder can take many, many months. Try telling that to a very active and somewhat non-compliant husband, who seems to think that his shoulder will be as good as new the minute the sling comes off.
He has no idea what’s in store for him.
My only advice to him will be:
“Listen to your physiotherapist.”
About the author: Jill Rawlin has an MBA and a BSc. in Physiotherapy with a passion for online marketing and blogging.