[This is a little long-winded. Thanks in advance for reading!
Hello! I've used the 'search' tool extensively and haven't found anything that seems to fit my problem. I'm hoping someone here will have encountered the same pain and issues I have and will have some input!
I am a 37 year old right-handed 5.0 tennis player with a fairly strong serve. After taking a break from tennis for a few years (work), I dove back into it by playing 3-4 times per week and doing some minor strength training on a home gym. I had also changed from my old heavy Head racquet to a newer, lighter Wilson racquet (very stiff frame with stiff Polyester strings).
About six months ago, I started having pain on the outside of the shoulder/upper arm which I could reproduce by holding my palm downward and raising my arm upward from the side of my body. The ortho doc said I had an inflamed bursa that was impinging the tendons in my upper arm and gave me a cortisone shot. This shot masked the pain for perhaps 2 weeks. During that time, I tried more rest and some exercises geared towards folks with rotator-cuff problems. There was no change in my condition and it eventually became more painful.
At that point, I decided to try physical therapy. After two months of PT 3 times a week, my condition is worse than it has ever been. For the first two weeks, I assumed I was supposed to work through the pain and that probably made it worse. Now, I have even less mobility in the arm (can only reach a certain amount across the body - like if you wanted to scratch your back) and tennis serves and strokes hurt to the point of a stabbing pain at any point my arm is above my shoulder. It has completely ruined my game and has me very frustrated as I was finally getting back into tennis and enjoying myself.
I recently had an MRI and an arthrography done on this shoulder and no tears were apparent with only slight tendinitis. The doc noticed a small cyst on my shoulder bone that could indicate a chronic rubbing of a tendon against that area. The only two options that seem to be available to me are another cortisone shot with more PT-type exercises (the previous 2 months didn't help any, so I'm dubious) and bone decompression via shoulder arthroscopy surgery (which I'm leaning towards - they'll shave a bit of the bone away to give the inflamed tendons more room).
Has anyone here had these symptoms and gone through similar steps to the same result? Do you think that my racquet choice (stiff and light) and string choice might have contributed to my shoulder problem? I'm considering going to a more flexible racquet and string - even if it means changing the way I play. Any tips/suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I am hoping to call the surgeon this coming week.