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Old 16th Jan 2014, 11:13   #1 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Southampton
Posts: 19
Shoulder injury question.

Hi Everyone and thank you for taking the time to read this.

I am a serving UK Military pilot and have recently been grounded with a fairly minor muscular/ligament shoulder injury. It does not disable me significantly, but does give me some impingement and instablility in the joint. I am grounded because wearing heavy helmets, NVGs and survival equipment is exacerbating the injury.

The questions I have are:

1. All else being well, can I still get a Class 1 medical?

2. The military may insist I have an operation to give me a chance to return to flying. How would that affect my ability to get a Class 1?

3. Worst case, if I am medically discharged, would that affect my ability to get a Class 1, and if I do get a Class 1, a flying job?

Any advice that you can give would be great, I'm obviously concerned not only about my military flying in the medium term, but also the potential for a career outside should I need to go that way. Thank you.
Alchef is offline   Reply
Old 16th Jan 2014, 18:27   #2 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: long Left base for 23R
Age: 69
Posts: 128
Quote:
I am a serving UK Military pilot and have recently been grounded with a fairly minor muscular/ligament shoulder injury. It does not disable me significantly, but does give me some impingement and instablility in the joint. I am grounded because wearing heavy helmets, NVGs and survival equipment is exacerbating the injury
Temporary absences for this kind of minor musculoskeletal injuries are everyday stuff in civilian flying. Obviously slightly easier for civilians because they have less of the heavy equipment to carry or wear ! Full strength and range of movements (sufficient to operate all controls, etc) would be required before a return to duties after such an injury or operation.

I don't really think this episode would have much significant effect on your long-term fitness to hold an unrestricted EASA class 1. Neither would most employers look any further into the past history than simply to check that you do have a valid class 1 certificate.

I do hope you don't end up being "forced" to have surgery, especially if it were against your own wishes ! Good luck with your recovery !
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Old 16th Jan 2014, 18:57   #3 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Kiwiland
Posts: 165
I agree with Ulster provided you have the correct diagnosis. If you have pulled your shoulder with a specific injury and it fully recovers in a couple of weeks then fine. However if the symptoms suddenly occurred on their own or they are chronic you should have a definitive diagnosis involving imaging. If this shows you have a rotator cuff injury definitive surgery may well be your best option and indeed necessary to be able to have the future mobility to fly in the civilian world.

Such injuries develop a painful arc where you cannot raise your arm to eg the overhead panel / throttles.

I would recommend you see someone who does no other operations than shoulders if it doesn't settle down and if necessary get several opinions.
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Old 16th Jan 2014, 20:09   #4 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: long Left base for 23R
Age: 69
Posts: 128
Quote:
However if the symptoms suddenly occurred on their own or they are chronic you should have a definitive diagnosis involving imaging. If this shows you have a rotator cuff injury definitive surgery may well be your best option
OOPS ! Mea lots of culpa ! Radgirl is quite correct ; I fell into the trap which all students at medical school are taught strictly to avoid ; namely accepting the patient's own diagnosis without demur !

The quote above is probably the best bit of our combined replies. I would also, in that case, echo her advice to see a consultant who is an acknowledged expert in that particular anatomy.

Going off to get my supper now . . . . . . a helping of humble pie !
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Old 16th Jan 2014, 21:35   #5 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: gone surfin'
Age: 49
Posts: 2,149
I'm assuming you've explored other therapeutic options with your doc ? nsaids/physio/injections
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Old 18th Jan 2014, 17:20   #6 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Southampton
Posts: 19
Thank you for your replies. I have now found out i have a small tear in the underside of my supraspinatus. I think part of the rotator cuff. It is following a fall. Seeing a consultant in a month's time.
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Old 18th Jan 2014, 19:33   #7 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: glendale
Posts: 622
I had a torn rotator cuff and could not return to airline flying until I had surgery, physical therapy and a return to work authorization from my surgeon.

You should not wait to see a surgeon. Why wait a month?
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Old 19th Jan 2014, 20:39   #8 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Southampton
Posts: 19
The accident was 6 months ago. I've only recently had the results of the MRA, seen my GP again for a referral and am now waiting to see the surgeon!
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Old 20th Jan 2014, 02:26   #9 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: glendale
Posts: 622
alchef.

FWIW. When I got my injury, I saw an orthopaedic surgeon of my choice within 48 hours. I had an MRI within a 10 day period and surgery soon thereafter. Certainly all done within 2 months.

Good Luck. But things like this usually don't get better on their own.

Have you ever seen a film called, "Strategic Air Command"? The star gets a shoulder injury and it grounds him.
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Old 30th Jan 2014, 10:40   #10 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: m25
Posts: 34
I was recently diagnosed with "Shoulder Impingement", unable to lift arm through about 90-120 deg.
Damage caused by picking up heavy chart folder, with arm behind at full stretch .

Painful for weeks and not improving , referred to physiotherapist and within 3 sessions of gentle exercise and massage, the condition has improved .
Reasonably full recovery expected with 6-8 weeks .
If not: MRI scan , maybe keyhole op and then more physio.

In civilian world you spend hours and hours hunched up in confined cockpits , after years of this it is hardly surprising , especially with age , that the surrounding muscles weaken .

Take care , wish you a speedy recovery.
zorin is offline   Reply
Old 5th Feb 2014, 18:46   #11 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Southampton
Posts: 19
Thank you Zorin, and good luck to you too. My condition doesn't sound as severe as your impingement, but I suspect they may want to keyhole me too. Enjoy your physio and I hope you don't need an op.
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