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Casting Sroke Question - Bursitis

Sage ManSage Man Posts: 195 Officer
I've just turned 57 and, coincidentally, have developed bursitis in my right shoulder (why not my left?). Anyway, I have a couple of questions.


First of all, my doctor gave me some medicine but it doesn't seem to help. Any suggestions? Should I get a witch doctor or something?

Also, and this is more problematic, I've developed a "yip" in my cast compensating for the pain. I know it's almost impossible to comment on somebody's casting without seeing it but this is what I'm noticing. On my forward cast, the line seems to go outside to the right and then back in line again. I don't think I did this
before. What would cause that?

If I didn't make myself clear, this is an example. I have a hula hoop in the back yard that I've been practing casting into. If I get at an angle that allows me two or three feet clearance to my right, I'll amost always hit the garage wall. It'll just nick it and a lot of times I still "ring" the hula hoop, but I can't think that "outside-in" action can be good. It's got to be wasted energy, doesn't it?

Does anybody have any thoughts on what I'm doing wrong? As I say, I really don't think I was doing this before. The problem is, I can't cast but five minutes or so until the pain starts. I'm using a 7wt. to practice with so it's not like I'm using a 12 wt or something.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Replies

  • DowntownNashDowntownNash Posts: 182 Officer
    There are many many many ways of reducing inflammation. Some of the first ones I would recommend researching would be Diet, Supplements, Medicine, and Home Remedies.

    Typically when I see my lines swinging wide its because the line can only follow the path your shoulder/wrist makes. You might be rolling your shoulder outward to subconsciously avoid possible pain.
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  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,283 Captain
    There are many many many ways of reducing inflammation. Some of the first ones I would recommend researching would be Diet, Supplements, Medicine, and Home Remedies.

    Typically when I see my lines swinging wide its because the line can only follow the path your shoulder/wrist makes. You might be rolling your shoulder outward to subconsciously avoid possible pain.

    Actually, it's the rod tip that determines where a fly line goes, but essentially you're right and I think everybody gets your drift (no pun intended)
    Anyway, another thing to do is to change your casting technique to (say for example), a more sidearm approach. Try it and see if the pain is greater or less. One tip that I got from Lefty Kreh, is to position yourself under a telephone line, such as the rod tip follows the "line" during the casting motion. This insures that your rod tip is maintaining a straight course, forward and back. Then close your eyes and "feel" what it is happening. You want to get that "feel" down real good, because there are no telephone lines out on the water. Anyway, that tip might be useful to you, while trying to learn to cast from a new and strange angle.

    Downtown's suggestion of diet supplements is an excellent idea, especially if you live in a seasonal fly fishing area...you know,..like the north pole. Then you could use the downtime to allow the cartilage in your shoulder socket to rebuild and then when fly fishing season begins again, you should be a lot better off. I'm not going to mention any of them, mostly because I can't spell them and besides, that should be between you and your MD. But I can tell you from experience that at our age, the problem is very likely to recur, unless you are successful at changing your casting technique, such that the pressure is placed on a different part of the shoulder socket. I am typing now, but if I stop and lift my right arm up to scratch my head...my right shoulder socket sounds like a bowl of rice crispies just got the milk. Doesn't hurt (yet) but if I start casting it does. But nothing like my casting thumb...it's history. Good luck.
    .......Rick
  • Sage ManSage Man Posts: 195 Officer
    Thanks. I'm sure I'm doing something funky to avoid the pain...but it's not working anyway.

    Maybe the starting point is getting rid of the pain and then a lesson or two to correct whatever bad habit I've picked up. I know I'm doing something to make the line swing out to the right on the forward cast...not much, but some.
  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,283 Captain
    When you get to the "lessons" part, try to get in touch with Joan Wulff. To say she is a little wisp of a woman, is a gross understatement and yet she held the world casting title for several years. Yes, she beat the men.

    How? It had to be technique, because she couldn't have the strength of a healthy 10 y.o. boy. I would not hesitate to ask her opinion for getting more distance with less effort....and less effort will save your shoulder as well.
    .......Rick
  • tarpon41tarpon41 Posts: 249 Deckhand
    Causation: casting or other repetitive, awkward, or single trauma events? Presumably not an infectious causation/result. I've got bad rotators from trauma but no cutting me a 70 cause cannot risk losing a season to PT. But no bursa issues so I do PT as recommended by my ortho and use non-steroidal anti-inflams ibuprofen but not acetaminophen 'cause me liver might more in jeopardy with the latter. I short stroke and haul..cannot lift elbow more than 4 inches and never more than 6-8 inches off my side and never more than a couple of inches behind my back. It reminds me of a long time ago when a trout lady put a book under my arm with a five between the pages and said cast. Give it a rest...adjust your cast...BTW I've tried the usuals MSM, Chrodins etal for both shoulders and knee for two years no results...except when I took ibupros...according to a client( a world renowned reumatologist) no double blind study confirms shark/pig cartilage or MSM does anything...it was the ibupros improved my condition but also rum tonic for the pain and red wine for the heart helped considerably
  • MistermtdMistermtd Steinhatchee Posts: 76 Greenhorn
    Don't have any input on the pain, but did have one little observation on the loop issue. I tend to cast fairly side-armed. My back-cast runs true enough but then I'll straighten up just a bit, coming over the top. (A bad habit I'm working on.) This produces that outside to in loop you're talking about. (Mine is also low to high.) If you're subconciously trying to compensate for a mobility problem you may be trying to do something similar in an effort to keep your arm/shoulder tight.

    Just an idea...
  • habenulahabenula Posts: 17 Greenhorn
    As for the shoulder, physical therapy, nonsteroidals, and rest are the best. Further pain requires further evaluation. If it persists then you need to see an orthopaedic surgeon or perhaps a physiatrist (if you haven't already). A steroid shot in the bursa can go a long way for symptomatic relief...

    BTW, isn't Lefty now a righty for the same type issues?

    Alex V
  • Sage ManSage Man Posts: 195 Officer
    Mistermtd wrote: »
    Don't have any input on the pain, but did have one little observation on the loop issue. I tend to cast fairly side-armed. My back-cast runs true enough but then I'll straighten up just a bit, coming over the top. (A bad habit I'm working on.) This produces that outside to in loop you're talking about. (Mine is also low to high.) If you're subconciously trying to compensate for a mobility problem you may be trying to do something similar in an effort to keep your arm/shoulder tight.

    Just an idea...

    That sounds exactly like what I'm doing. What should I look at to correct this...if I can work thru the pain?

    As my mother-in-law says, "Getting old ain't for sissies".
  • deerflydeerfly Posts: 769 Officer
    First off, I'm glad to see there is someone else around here that's older than me (not by much tho. :)) As was mentioned, the line follows the rod tip. So you need focus on keeping that in the same plane whether the rod is angled directly overhead or out to your side parallel with the ground, same rules apply.

    In your case, if you're countering pain, you're going to have to figure out a way to get the right motion at the rod tip without moving the parts that hurt so much. I think the elbow tucked in, with hand/arm out and rotating your torso more than arm movement is going to be your best bet. That along with the right amount of wrist snap at the right time should get you plenty of distance and line speed for most situations. I do this myself as a matter of technique when trying get flies under mangrove canopies.

    I've had a slightly torn rotator on my right (casting arm) and a torn labrum on my left from tournament softball and shooting heavy longbows. Lot's of certified PT, ibuprofen and rest has keep me out of surgery so far. Joint and ligament surgeries are 50/50 propositions at best, so unless the injury or damage is really bad it's best to avoid the knife if you can. Ideally, you'd want to get hand's on instruction too, internet advice can only go so far.
    "impossibility cannot be concluded from a sample of failed efforts" - Edsger W. Dijkstra
  • WPHornWPHorn Posts: 60 Deckhand
    This thread hits real close to home! I'm recovering from surgery on my casting shoulder to repair a torn anterior labrum. Fortunately I was able to start casting again (at about 90%) 8 weeks after surgery. Asked the Doc about the cause and he patiently noted that at 60 years -- following years of saltwater flycasting, shotgunning, and golf -- shoulders wear out. If you can avoid surgery -- great. But if there's a tear in there, bite the bullet and get it fixed.
    Additionally, when I started feeling pain last spring I found that turning my body during the casting stroke took pressure off the shoulder. During rehab, I'm continuing the body turn and it works. Give that a try in addition to all the other advice provided by others. Good luck.
  • Capt. ScottCapt. Scott Posts: 96 Deckhand
    I traveled that road also. Suffered through pain in my left shoulder,(Strippers shoulder? That's the only thing my left arm does basically), rested it, took all sorts of meds until I couldn't stand it and had surgery. Had I known how simple, painless and effective the orthroscopic,(sic?) fix was, I certainly would not have waited so long. They had me in PT three days after surgery, and it was a very short amount of time before I was back 100%. That was about six or seven years ago and the left shoulder is still 100%. But now, looks like I'll be taking the same route with the right shoulder. Warranty runs out at 35 years...what can you do?
    Steroid injections may very well relieve the pain, probably almost immediately, but you will still need to follow pretty strict recovery procedures to insure time for the shoulder to heal. Take a look at what WebMD has to say...pretty interesting stuff.
  • WPHornWPHorn Posts: 60 Deckhand
    Scott - This getting old is not recommended! but you're right, the surgery is pretty easy. I was in a sling 24/7 for the first 10 days afterwards, and started PT immediately thereafter with good results. For those contemplating the surgical fix, there is virtually no pain with the surgery. There is some pain -- very tolerable -- that comes with the PT. But its a lot less than the pain associated with the busted/torn shoulder and better than the loss of shoulder mobility. Bill
  • DowntownNashDowntownNash Posts: 182 Officer
    Thanks PR. Nothing wrong with clarity as long as it helps somebody understand what I was getting at. I think I was just trying to word it right in order to relate it to his shoulder.
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  • MistermtdMistermtd Steinhatchee Posts: 76 Greenhorn
    Sage Man wrote: »
    That sounds exactly like what I'm doing. What should I look at to correct this...if I can work thru the pain?

    As my mother-in-law says, "Getting old ain't for sissies".

    Well, let's keep in mind that I'm talking about the correction of my problem. Here's what I'm trying to do.

    1st, my stance is about 45 degrees to the target and my fly rod is about 45 degrees. Also, my back is slightly angled and my head is tilted just slightly. If I'm throwing a good loop, my back and neck will hold these angles and the rod will stay on the same track.

    When I'm screwing it up, my head straightens up, my back does the same and my torso rotates towards the target, squaring my chest up. All that drags the rod into a more upright plane and viola - tailing loop.

    So, I never figured any of that out. It took an hour with a cca explaining it in a way I could understand. If your problem were mine, I'd start by taking a fly rod to my next appt with a PT. Explain the basic mechanics and then try and find a motion that works. I'd then take that info and spend an hour with a cca finding the best groove.

    Just my .02
  • saltybumsaltybum Posts: 1,595 Captain
    Ask Lefty in the FFSW mag. I'd love to see what he has to say. Cus I sure don't know!
  • bobbrownbobbrown Posts: 52 Greenhorn
    The best thing I have done for my shoulders ....going to a 11 foot 2 handed switch rod.
    The casting stroke allows your hands to remain low and in front of your body with minimal arm movement and very little shoulder stress.
    Great for tidal rivers and beach...not so good for boat applications.
  • mbowersmbowers Posts: 496 Deckhand
    bobbrown wrote: »
    The best thing I have done for my shoulders ....going to a 11 foot 2 handed switch rod.
    The casting stroke allows your hands to remain low and in front of your body with minimal arm movement and very little shoulder stress.
    Great for tidal rivers and beach...not so good for boat applications.

    shhh don't be saying a two hander is better for anything around here or the single handed rod bogey man will jump out of the mangroves and judo-chop the rear grip off your rod with his free hand. :)

    Why no good on the boat? Should be easier to manage line as you can easily use a bigger stripping basket. Landing fish is a pain but only if you're solo.

    Lots of the "heavily experienced" guys on the Pacific coast are going to a switch rod on the beach / boat for relief on worn out body parts..

    http://www.rioproducts.com/xcms_entry.php?xcmsentryid=23
  • bobbrownbobbrown Posts: 52 Greenhorn
    That's a good question about not so good on a boat. In my opinion, one of the great things about the switch rod is the ability to water haul and then shoot considerable amounts of line. Water haul into one back cast and let it sail. One hand applications for me are a bit challenging. That combined with rod length sort of eliminated boat applications for me.
    Time to take it on the boat and see how it works
  • Ol'DirtyCasterOl'DirtyCaster Posts: 2,381 Captain
    mbowers wrote: »
    shhh don't be saying a two hander is better for anything around here or the single handed rod bogey man will jump out of the mangroves and judo-chop the rear grip off your rod with his free hand. :)
    http://www.rioproducts.com/xcms_entry.php?xcmsentryid=23


    If you can't cast a single handed rod, I'm not going to criticize anyone for using a switch/spey. It's the guys obsessed with distance who don't put any thought into the rest of their game that provoke the boogey man.
  • kbkeyskbkeys Posts: 691 Officer
    fly casting, serving a tennis ball, swinging a golf club, can create shoulder/elbow pain when the person tries to "muscle" the movement instead of using correct technique. keeping that casting elbow close to body,on a level plane(sidearm is fine) , using proper foot positioning, and shoulder rotation should help keep that loop tight, and not cause undue stress on joints.
  • saltybumsaltybum Posts: 1,595 Captain
    Try wobenzyme.
  • mtd885mtd885 Posts: 1,159 Officer
    I had what appeared to be a small tear in the cuff so after two years of 'conservative' treatment I had the arthroscopy on the left shoulder. Once inside the shoulder the Doctor found lots more going on than just the small tear. What started out as a 4-6 week recovery turned into 6-12 months. Now one year later the left feels great but the right is now giving me trouble. Once again we started 'conservative' treatment with PT and the Cortisone shots and nsaids. Now my elbow is messed up and sure enough the same routine. I've started taking the glucosamine/chondroitin supplements. I hope they work. Getting old is not for the meek!
  • Bill@NSB[email protected] Posts: 207 Deckhand
    kbkeys wrote: »
    fly casting, serving a tennis ball, swinging a golf club, can create shoulder/elbow pain when the person tries to "muscle" the movement instead of using correct technique. keeping that casting elbow close to body,on a level plane(sidearm is fine) , using proper foot positioning, and shoulder rotation should help keep that loop tight, and not cause undue stress on joints.

    That may be true. But once the injury has occurred, an depending on the severity, even proper technique can exacerbate it.
  • Sage ManSage Man Posts: 195 Officer
    That may be true. But once the injury has occurred, an depending on the severity, even proper technique can exacerbate it.

    Dang Bill...not what I wanted to hear.

    With me, I've noticed the problem with my casting stroke is that I'm lowering the rod just as I come to a stop. Seems like it's opening up the loop more than it was. I don't recall doing that before so I'm guessing it's just to avoid the pain.

    Right now, I wouldn't (couldn't) do an extended trip of blind casting...which we do over grass flats etc. where I live. I need to seek out some site casting opportunities and go with that for a bit, probably.
  • Ol'DirtyCasterOl'DirtyCaster Posts: 2,381 Captain
    Sage Man wrote: »
    Dang Bill...not what I wanted to hear.

    I have three herniated discs in my neck, I've broken both collar bones, separated my right shoulder, and shattered the growth plate in my right elbow, and here I am fishing 20-40hrs a week and I like throwing large flies on little rods in some relatively nasty conditions. Don't underestimate the ability of the human body to recover from some pretty severe trauma. I don't know anything about your condition, or the fishing you do, but don't get discouraged yet.
  • Bill@NSB[email protected] Posts: 207 Deckhand
    I wasn't trying to discourage you, just saying "until the injury heals" even proper technique can cause pain.
    There's a school out there that thinks proper technique will make injuries disappear.
    I was just stating that once you are injured that's not necessarily true, until you recover.

    I, too, believe in the body recuperative powers, especially soft tissue injuries.
    I suffered through a non-fishing related elbow injury that almost made me give up fly fishing.
    Completely healed now and never give it a second thought.
  • Capt TonyCapt Tony Posts: 12 Greenhorn
    Because I've been a casting instructor for about 25 years, I've seen a lot of situations such as yours. The advice that's already been mentioned about using a sidearm cast probably is the best you'll get. By keeping your elbow close to your body and using your forearm and wrist you will avoid the shoulder pain almost entirely.

    The "trick" to laying the line where you want it when casting completely sidearm is to concentrate on stopping the rod tip exactly where you want the fly to land, then "drawing" the butt cap against your belly to essentially stop the rod from continuing it's swing.

    You won't get as much distance with this maneuver, since the rod tip is low to the water and gravity will pull the line down fairly quickly, but you should still throw 50 feet of fly line without much trouble.

    And, as mentioned previously, this sidearm technique is great for overhanging mangroves in the salt--as well as tag alders or overhanging grass on trout streams.

    Good luck. And I can relate, since I recently have developed arthritis in both thumbs. :>( !!!!!!

    Tight Loops,
    Capt. Tony
  • saltybumsaltybum Posts: 1,595 Captain
    It has been a couple weeks+ now that Ihave been trying the Wobenzyme and it seems to be helping. I find I'm not reaching for Meloxicam or Motrin as much. Recommended taken on empty stomach. Not like NSAIDS which eat your stomach up along with possible liver or kidney damage.
    No magic bullets out there I know of and I have tried about everything. VIOXX was the best. Now gone because it was supposedly hazardous, but that's OK go buy some tobacco which kills 50K plus every year with ZERO health benefits. Rediculous.
    Wobenzyme might be worth a try.
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