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Old 30-08-2019, 03:26   #1
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Cruisers shoulders: Repetitive motion injury while living aboard

I am curious if anyone has developed uneven shoulders after living aboard for an extended period.

For example if you always carry a heavy Jerry can with the same arm that shoulder may become lower.

In my case I have noticed a higher favored shoulder I suspect came about from hundreds of hours of scrapping the hull with my arm extending over my head.

Ring any fog horns?"
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Old 30-08-2019, 03:57   #2
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pirate Re: Cruisers shoulders: Repetitive motion injury while living aboard

I have known a couple of helicopter pilots over the years and one leg is much more muscled and developed than the other.
For sailing however just go ambidextrous, it helps if you can be competent with both arms.
Jerry can carrying for example, my last trip the nearest garage was 2km from the marina so as I humped the 25L can back I switched sides every so often.
Getting to old for this $h1te..
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Old 31-08-2019, 19:06   #3
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Re: Cruisers shoulders: Repetitive motion injury while living aboard

I found a more complete medical based description of my condition.

I have an
Acromicioclavicular (AC) Joint Injury

The big question I have is whether this was a dramatic injury caused by a recent bike fall or long term condition caused by scrapping the boat overhead for ten years.

The fact I am in no pain and have full range of motion leads me to believe this was long term injury versus dramatic injury after I suffered a bike fall.


"An overuse AC joint injury occurs over time as repeated, excessive stress is placed on the joint. Cartilage at the ends of the acromion and clavicle bones protects the joint from daily wear and tear. Over time, the demand placed on this cartilage may be more than it is capable of enduring, resulting in an overuse injury. Significant wearing of the cartilage is known as arthritis. Overuse AC joint injury is most common in individuals who perform tasks, such as heavy weight lifting (bench and military presses), or jobs that require physical labor with the arms stretched over the head."

I am hoping if other long term sailors did or didn't also have AC joint injuries to narrow down the cause of my condition.

I am hoping also to avoid a non surgical treatment or may very well have to live with the condition as is.
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Old 31-08-2019, 19:35   #4
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Re: Cruisers shoulders: Repetitive motion injury while living aboard

If there's no pain and full range of motion, what exactly is the problem?
What exactly do you mean by "uneven" and "highly favored" shoulder?
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Old 31-08-2019, 19:42   #5
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Re: Cruisers shoulders: Repetitive motion injury while living aboard

I have. Pumping manual toilets, grinding winches, and lifting dinghy motors. Absolutely noticed my right shoulder feeling well-worked out.
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Old 31-08-2019, 19:58   #6
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Re: Cruisers shoulders: Repetitive motion injury while living aboard

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Originally Posted by StuM View Post
If there's no pain and full range of motion, what exactly is the problem?
What exactly do you mean by "uneven" and "highly favored" shoulder?
Perhaps a picture is appropriate to explain what I see. Notice right shoulder.

In addition to spending many hours scraping the hull I am realizing now I also spent many many hours pressing an orbital sander overhead to resurface interior ceilings.
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Old 31-08-2019, 21:19   #7
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Re: Cruisers shoulders: Repetitive motion injury while living aboard

Ah, yes. The noticeable bump and atrophied muscles on the right.
I am not a doctor, but if there is no pain and full movement, I'd be making an effort to use that side more to rebuild the muscles (I have atrophied lower left leg muscles as well as the other classic symptoms of peroneal nerve damage from an injury many years ago and need to consciously work that side regularly to keep some muscle tone).
I'd definitely put yours down to repetitive strain given your description
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Old 01-09-2019, 03:51   #8
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Re: Cruisers shoulders: Repetitive motion injury while living aboard

This is a AC injury symptom as you mentioned, and most likely a result from a impact, nothing to do with repetitive work.

I used to own a gym and have seen it many times, you can get it fixed (surgery) but most leave it as theres no pain.
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Old 01-09-2019, 04:06   #9
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pirate Re: Cruisers shoulders: Repetitive motion injury while living aboard

Just follow the old rule..
49, 50.. Change hands
If it was down to sailing or other boats it would be affecting all of us.. after 35yrs of sailing a lot of miles, working in boatyards sanding, grinding and painting OP's boats I do not have this problem its my opinion its not the boating thats doing it, just personal abuse by over reliance on one arm.
No pain or hindrance, live with it, an op may restore the asthetics but.. may result in ill effects down the line
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Old 07-09-2019, 09:30   #10
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Re: Cruisers shoulders: Repetitive motion injury while living aboard

The only shoulder problems I've had really is when the outboard would start and I injure trying it to. This last time it took 4 months to stop hurting and didn't happen till I was in a slip for 1.5 months so didn't use the dinghy.
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:33   #11
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Re: Cruisers shoulders: Repetitive motion injury while living aboard

Many years ago due to some climbing issues I had to have screws put in my right shoulder - when took up sailing no big issues the shoulder would get tired after a while but just switched and did more work with my left arm -- THAT is until I was pulling the anchor on to the deck to change the chain out in Tunisia - holding on with my right hand as I was leaning over the rail and pulling with my left - ripped a shoulder tendon in my left arm - Doc Sahbi put it back together with a couple of screws - now my shoulders only get tired if I work overhead too much - carrying things I just switch hands a lot - but days of using a sander on the bottom are over -
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