Arm Injury Questions


New Member
Registered Member
Air Force, 8 years in. Long story short, I dislocated my arm over a year ago. The result was completely torn cartilage in the shoulder. I had a surgery completed to repair this issue. Over the whole course I hit three PT exemptions. I was code 31 for maybe 3 months until the medical team at my base determined I could still do my job and removed it. I've been overseas my whole career and was picked up for another OS assignment after they removed my code. Everything was okay, physical therapy and recovery from surgery went great. Fast forward a bit and I went TDY for upgrade training. It was really vigourous work, harder than I've ever worked. Lots of heavy lifting and physical activity. A month or so after that I started having severe pain and issues with my shoulder again. The surgeon exempted me from my third test because he was worried I hadn't fully recovered. He then PCSd (short tour location) so I couldn't continue to work with him.

Anyway, my next OS was fast approaching. I'm married and coming off of a short tour presented me with a ton of work to do. I was extremely busy.

I waited until PCSd to see a doc again. Result was another PT exemption. Due to the TDY I took my last PT test a a month later than usual. So technically I've had 4 exemptions in 25 months, not 24 months. However, I feel those are just semantics and will still be considered 4 consecutive waivers and I fear I'll get a MEB.

Currently, the doctors refuse to do another MRI to see if I tweaked or damaged anything during that TDY. The physical therapist did some minor muscle needling to loosen the muscles. I was supposed to stop feeling pain after a week because I was assured it was just locked muscles and not damage to my shoulder. Here I am three weeks after the fact and in much worse pain.

My fears are that they won't take me seriously when I say I continue to feel pain and I won't get an MRI to verify. I also fear that the 4 consecutive test waivers will trigger a MEB despite the first waived test being 25 months ago.

I really want to continue serving... I love my job and the opportunities it has given me. As far as the docs are concerned they agree I can continue to do my job just fine. However, the complete pain of the arm injury has made everything a complete hassle when it comes to doing PT. I've resorted to just eating way less so I can at least maintain my weight but my arms are getting weaker (including the good arm), my cardio is failing more and more (the sheer impact of running sends jolting pain to my shoulder) and sit-ups kind of suck...

So I fear if this issue isn't resolved it'll continue to impact my overall PT scores. I mean even if I got everything else good who knows how long it'll be before I can do enough pushups again if they don't correct my arm through surgery or otherwise and I feel too many PT exemptions will lead to them showing me the door...

Just want to know what my options are and if anyone else has gone through something similar. I guess I'm just hoping the system will take care of me and let me stay in while I recover instead of kicking me to the curve. Really worried at the moment because I don't want to have to separate because I don't know what the hell I'd do.

I guess I don't know if the MEB system is kind to people like me or if they would care about what I'm going through or do what they can to keep me in.

All help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advanced.


Super Moderator
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Lifetime Supporter
Registered Member
  1. An MEB can result in return to duty.
  2. It sounds like the medics can do more. PT and motrin is considered conservative treatment, but given your prior surgery and present pain; conservative treatment has not worked. You may have to be more insistent to get an MRI. Sometimes a second surgery helps.
data-matched-content-ui-type="image_stacked" data-matched-content-rows-num="3" data-matched-content-columns-num="1" data-ad-format="autorelaxed">