T Nation

AC Joint & Forearm Supinator Injuries


Hello all. I am just over 40 years old and about 3-5 months ago I injured what I believe is my AC Joint in my left shoulder doing flat bench press. Since then, I have continued to lift chest by using mainly Hammer Strength machines. It was really bad in the beginning and then it seemed to get a bit better for a while, possibly from some Deca I was taking at the time, and then it got a bit worse again when I got off the Deca. Now it is still pretty bad, but at least not getting worse anymore and I can still lift a bit on the hammer strength machines if I don't go too heavy.

Unfortunately there is pain at all times though when I lift and I can't do any flat or incline bench at all. I can only do the Hammer Strength machines for the flat bench and decline bench positions and I live with the dull aching pain every day even when I am not lifting. Like most people, the injury hurts the most right when I wake up in the morning for the first hour or so.

Doing heavy dumbbell bicep curls also hurt my shoulder at the time when I first got the injury, but like a rebel, I continued to do them anyway and, as a result of imperfect curling form because of the shoulder injury on that side, I caused a secondary injury in my forearm on the same side of my body. The forearm injury seems to be a torn or stretched tendon (tendentious) around the supinator muscle on the back of the upper forearm close to my elbow. No elbow pain though at all I am happy to say.

The forearm injury has resulted in not being able to do dumbbell bicep curls anymore and only very light weight bicep exercises using machines, which still hurts a bit. I also can't do any wide grip lat pull downs or any pulling exercises in general where my wrists are turned in too much.

I know I should have stayed off the shoulder completely in the beginning when the injury occurred and now I should probably lay off the forearm as well, but like most people, I don't want to stop lifting knowing I will loose a lot of muscle and the rest will turn quickly to fat and soft mass at my age. I have already lost 4-5 pounds of size (some of it muscle) by not being able to lift as heavy as before, which is already a bit depressing.

I have not seen any doctors yet because I live in Thailand and, from what I know about the doctors here, there are no sports medicine or sport injury specialists in Bangkok. Only your basic orthopedic surgeons who I assume will only tell me to lay off the lifting and/or have surgery without offering any good practical advice to go with it. Maybe at least an MRI or some x-rays would be good though to get a clearer understanding of what the injuries really are and how serious they might be.

My guess is probably eventually I will have to get some sort of surgery on the shoulder though so that the bones at the joint don't keep rubbing together and causing pain like they are now, but I am wondering if there is anything I can do; exercises, joint/tendon/muscle rehab, strength building in the shoulders or anything to help strengthen the shoulder joint, shoulder muscles, and my forearm tendon so that I can keep lifting and not continue to cause more damage and pain?

Any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on my condition would be much appreciated.