What to Expect After Rotator Cuff Surgery


What to expect after rotator cuff surgery


So, you've got your rotator cuff surgery planned, and you've been in pain for so long that you almost can't wait for your surgery to come around. But, ask yourself: Am I prepared for the post-surgery recovery? What can I expect after my rotator cuff surgery? The road to recovery isn't far away, but it's best to understand what you may need to do and prepare for a speedy recovery.

Immediately After Surgery

In the first few days after surgery, managing pain and swelling is a priority. Your doctor will likely prescribe pain medication and advise using ice to reduce inflammation. Keeping your arm in a sling is essential to protect the repaired shoulder and support proper healing.

With that said, it’s important to have outside help! You don't want to cause more pain by trying to do something yourself. This is the time to heal. It's okay to ask for a lending hand.

Also ask your body what it might need. While you'll have pain medication, it's essential to think about what you might need post-surgery. Here are some suggestions: extendable phone charger leads, along with anything to keep you rested and entertained. Consider getting adaptive clothing, as you won't be able to lift your arm above your head. For women, especially, easy-on undergarments are crucial, especially an essential front-closure, easy-on bra for the recovery process 

post surgery braPost shoulder surgery bras | Easy-on and front closure bras

Physical Therapy:

Rehabilitation is a significant part of recovery. Initially, your orthopedic surgeon will recommend a physical therapy plan that starts with gentle movements to prevent stiffness and improve flexibility. This may involve assisted arm movements by a therapist, progressing to more active exercises as healing progresses. Make sure yo go at your own pace and be patient and persistent. 

Recovery doesn't happen overnight. It requires commitment and persistence in following the recommended rehabilitation plan. Skipping exercises or overexerting yourself can hinder progress and potentially lead to complications.

what to expect after rotator cuff surgery

Returning to Daily Activities:

The timeline for resuming daily activities varies for each individual. Simple tasks like dressing and light chores can be reintroduced gradually. However, heavy lifting and strenuous activities should wait until your surgeon gives the go-ahead.

Remember those adaptive clothing and front-closure bras we mentioned before? They are going to be your best friends for a few weeks, even months, as you start to recover and get back to daily activities. You may even find them so comfortable that they stick around. After all, adaptive clothing is designed to be comfortable and make life easier.

what to expect after rotator cuff surgery

Regaining Strength and Function:

As physical therapy progresses, the focus shifts to rebuilding strength and function in your shoulder. Targeted exercises aim to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles and improve overall shoulder stability. Your therapist may also include activities to enhance posture and prevent future injuries. Remember It's normal to face setbacks during recovery such as plateaus in progress or occasional discomfort. Communicating openly with your healthcare team allows for adjustments to the rehabilitation plan as needed.

Long-Term Care:

Even after formal physical therapy, maintaining shoulder health is crucial. Regular exercise, including specific shoulder-strengthening routines, helps prevent reinjury and supports long-term joint health. Consult with your orthopedic surgeon or physical therapist for guidance on a sustainable exercise routine.

Recovering from rotator cuff surgery requires dedication and resilience. Knowing what to expect and approaching rehabilitation with realistic optimism can make the journey more manageable. With patience, consistent effort, and open communication with healthcare professionals, you can achieve a successful recovery, leading to improved shoulder function and a return to an active, pain-free lifestyle.