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Fractured Shoulder - Limited Recovery
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Fractured Shoulder - Limited Recovery

5 months ago I fell from a catwalk at work and sustained a fracture to the right shoulder (avulsion fracture, slightly displaced of the greater tuberosity). It was initialy diagnosed as a rotator cuff tear and then 2 weeks later the diagnosis was changed when they did an MRI.

I'm a veteran so decided to use the VA system and the injury is also covered by Federal
Workers Comp. However, after 5 months I still have range of motion issues and moderate pain. I can't lift my extended arm more than 90 degrees in any direction, there is pain and popping when I try. I cannot rotate my arm when it is extended (supination?) at all (no pain) and it is going to cost me my job if this can't be fixed. My job requires extensive overhead work and at this point I find it impossible.

The VA seems split - physical medicine and my physical therapist say the solution is surgical - but orthopedics (they don't have a shoulder specialist) refuses to see me stating that I'll basically have to live with a "disability" from now on.

I don't understand this... can't they restore full range of motion? Is this going to be a permanent disability? What options do I have. I haven't even had a second MRI - just an xray... which I find odd since the first xray showed so little they didn't even know I had a fracture till the MRI.

I'm very frustrated and am looking for a specialist outside the VA system now. My question is if I do find one, which is proving difficult as most don't seem to want to work with OWCP claims, can they do anything?
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The greater tuberosity is where three of the tendons of the rotator cuff attach. The fourth, the subscapularis, attaches to the lesser tuberosity on the other side of the biceps.  A bony avulsion means you pulled off a small piece of bone where the rotator cuff is attached.  According to the MRI, this occurred without damage to the cuff itself.  If the avulsion was so minor that it was not even seen on the original X-ray, but required an MRI for diagnosis, the it is minimally displaced, and has an excellent prognosis for healing.  At this point, the fracture is healed, and it is safe to start physical therapy.  I recommend a program focused on range of motion, strengthening and endurance.
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