Rotator Cuff


Well-known member
First off, just to clarify, mine was NOT a workers comp case:
About a half-year ago, I gradually started developing pain and irritation symptoms in my shoulder. Finally I ended up getting rotator cuff surgery to clean out a lot of the sinovitis and bursitis, and I'm now 1 month post-op. Just barely yesterday my PT started doing some very mild active strengthening, but mostly up till now I've been doing passive ROM.

I'm planning on returning to light duty in a couple of weeks, just editing for now.
It seems like it's been a very slow recovery for me, and I was expecting that, but still it's very frustrating, and it stresses me out thinking of having to ask my employer to accommodate me as an in-house editor, when they may or may not need an extra editor at this time. I'm approved for some short term disability, but I don't want to rely too much on that because that only pays 60% of my salary. It's frustrating not knowing how long it will take, or even if I will recover fully any time soon. My body needs maintenance and repair, but unlike a camera or live truck, you can't just say, "It'll be fixed and back in service by Thursday..."

Any other photojournalists out there been through this type of surgery before? I'd appreciate if you'd share your experience here.

How long did it take to get back to full-duty shooting?
What was your experience with your company's medical leave benefits?
How accommodating and sympathetic was your company through the whole ordeal?


Well-known member
ISTR a that former coworker had ongoing rotator cuff problems and eventually had surgery but it didn't really fix the problem. His doc basically told him that as long as he continued shooting he'd keep having problems.

He spent a lot of time on light duty as an editor, but because we didn't have any open editor positions they eventually let him go.


Well-known member
Ooohh, that's not very encouraging! A lot of people who've had this surgery told me they took as long as an entire year to get better, but I heard a co-worker tell me of someone who only took 4-5 weeks and "came back like a trooper..."
Anyone else want to chime in?


Well-known member
Near the end of my career was not able to lift right arm much above waist level easily (for some reason WAS able to with camera in hand). Moved over to teaching broadcasting and within six months had complete movement back. Not sure if similar but damn it did hurt.

At the scene

Well-known member
I had the surgery when I was 18 yrs old. Over 35yrs ago no arthroscopic surgery then, I think they were doing it but not many Doctors. I was sliced from top of the shoulder to the armpit. I was an athlete back then playing college hockey with aspirations of making the pro's. It took me over a year of rehab but really never healed right, you do get used to the pain. I'm 53 now still athletic and raise a camera on that shoulder every day. I just have to stretch my shoulder every day before work with exercises and stretching. I find on cold days it takes a little longer to get going but stretching is key. I'm sure you will be fine, my advise is to not rush it. Stay editing until your station tells you to grab a camera. Keep us posted and good luck.

Berkeley Shooter

Active member
I'm always on here advising cameramen to use an Easy Rig. Transfer the weight of the camera to the hips and off of your back & shoulders. My shoulders are a mess and I spend long days shooting House Hunters with no shoulder pain. I've been using one since I had spine surgery 20 years ago. I wouldn't still be working if I didn't have one. I use a Model 2.5 400N (17-22lbs.) weighted my Sony F800. I have no connection with the company. I just think our bodies deserve a break.

Robin (Berkeley)


Well-known member
2nd the Easy Rig

Easy Rig is great. If you have shoulder/back issues... I recommend you look into it. This device will keep you in the game longer. (and no-I'm not a spokesman.)

Easy Rigs seem to be more common in production environments over news, but maybe that because it takes 3 minutes to get set. Sometimes that isn't in option when stuff is going down. And then there are budgets. You could get an extra set of cheap gear for one Easy rig. But news is also not carrying around 70 lb set ups with PL glass.

Side note - A cable sports division I freelance with recently added 2 Easy Rigs to each truck. Myself and other freelancers were jazzed about having them when shouldering IDX cameras all day. Whats funny is the rest of the staff hate them. They think they look stupid and are waste of money. Engineering wishes they had more tools and replacements parts instead of "vests" that no one wants.

Personally, I think its short sided of the staff to complain like this. They wont put in the few minutes to configure it to their body so they have not had a good experience yes and are immediately against using them. When I'm working games, I use the rig and afterward I feel like I haven't even gone to work yet.


Well-known member
Hmm, I seen images online of those before, but it looks like it would get in the way of a LiveU backpack.


Well-known member
I really don't like them but that's after years of shooting with Stedicam type rigs, all my instincts are wrong and I end up frustrated. :)


Well-known member
I guess it would be good for stuff like football sideline coverage, but not so sure it would be ideal for shooting a creative package where you have to be versatile and shoot a combination of shoulder, ground-level, waste feet level walking shots and tripod shots.