Manny Pacquiao, Punching Power and the Rotator Cuff

Posted on: May 8, 2015

Manny Pacquiao, Punching Power and the Role of the Rotator Cuff

Dr. Victor Khabie, Chief of the Department of Surgical Services, Co-Chief of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Co-Director of the Orthopedic and Spine Institute and Director of Sports Medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, NY dispenses advice on rotator cuff surgery in light of professional boxer Manny Pacquiao’s shoulder injury.

When Dr. Khabie is not performing orthopedic surgery, he is a Ring Side Physician for the New York State Athletic Commission where he cares for professional boxers and has been present at ringside for numerous world championship bouts.

Dr. Khabie says, “I will be very difficult to box at a high level with a rotator cuff tear. The rotator cuff is critical in generating the punching power that boxers require to fight effectively. I believe that his injury significantly influenced the outcome of the recent high-profile fight against Floyd Mayweather.”

He adds, “The good news is that rotator cuff surgery is generally a very successful operation but can take one year to fully heal. A rematch in one year may be of interest to fight fans as Pacquiao would be at full force and would probably make a more competitive opponent. Mayweather will want to prove that he can beat Pacquiao when Pacquiao is back at full force and injury free.”

A lot of people, not just professional athletes, tear the rotator cuff in their shoulders. Dr. Khabie shares his thoughts on the signs of an injury, and what to expect when having rotator cuff surgery.

Signs of a rotator cuff injury

“If an individual has pain in their shoulder for more than seven days, experiences pain in their shoulder while he or she is trying to sleep at night, or has trouble lifting their arm above their head, it is time to see an orthopedic surgeon to see what is going on.”

Dr. Khabie adds that, “If someone sustains an injury while engaging physical activity, or a heavy object falls on the shoulder, he or she should have it looked at by an orthopedic surgeon to get to the bottom of the injury sustained.”

Can this surgery be avoided?

“Sometimes,” says Dr. Khabie. “If there isn’t in fact  a tear, physical therapy can often help along with exercises at home using an exercise band.”

Why would someone have the surgery?

“When a rotator cuff tears, it is no longer connected to the bone in the shoulder, called the humerus. It can only be reattached with surgery,” says Dr. Khabie.

How long is the hospital stay?

“Rotator cuff surgery patients go home the same day as the procedure. We operate on our patients arthroscopically, meaning we use only tiny incisions, which is much less invasive and speeds up the recovery time,” says Dr. Khabie.

What is the recovery like?

“Patients spend about four to six weeks with their arm in a sling. It takes several months to recover. After six months, most people are cleared to begin normal physical activity and exercise, or in the case of a professional athlete, they can begin training,” says Dr. Khabie. “After nine months, most patients feel back to normal.”

Editor’s Note:
Dr. Victor Khabie, MD, FAAOS, FACS is a member of the Somers Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Group. Dr. Khabie received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed his fellowship in sports medicine at the world-renowned Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, California, where he served as assistant team physician to professional sports teams including the LA Lakers, Dodgers, Kings, Mighty Ducks, LA Sparks, and the USC Trojan football team.

Watch Dr. Khabie discuss the role of sports medicine in keeping athletes in competitive condition.