Exercises after Rotator Cuff surgery

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Many of our patients ask us, "How long will I take to recover after rotator cuff surgery?".

There is no ONE answer. Recovery timeframes depend on many factors and there is definitely no shortcuts. A quick peruse of youtube or similar sites will provide a lot of largely misleading information based upon an individuals own personal experience.

The size of the tear, level of weakness, anatomy of glenohumeral (shoulder) joint, multiple injuries (such as additional tears in other rotator cuff muscles - not just the supraspinatus), age, general health (diabetes, smoking eg.), type of procedure (open versus arthroscopic repair) all play significant roles in how long full recovery should take.

As a rough guide, most people should regain full or near full range of movement by 3-4 months post-operatively with hands-on physiotherapy assistance. Exercises commence as soon as you are discharged from hospital. Often gym programs carefully designed by a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist experienced in rehabilitation can be commenced by around  5 months post-op. Then, at least 3 months of gym based rehab is a good idea so full recovery and return to most sports or manual work is possible around 7-8 months. This really is approximate only.


Very specific and careful prescription of passive, active - assisted, active and resistive exercises is necessary to avoid damaging the repair, allowing adequate healing time and restoring a range of movement that will enable strength exercises to be slowly introduced. 

Strengthening of the Rotator Cuff muscles should be done carefully as often simple errors will cause pain. For example, a common exercise started approximately 13 weeks after surgery is an external rotation. The picture above shows the FINISHING POSITION of the exercise. Going much beyond this point can stress the repair and cause some pain. We see this often being done poorly.

The Recovery guides books and DVD's are an exact program to follow over a 6 month period with minimal equipment at home. Nothing like these exist on the web today. The Recovery Guides team are all experienced physiotherapists and exercise physiologists who have worked with olympians during their careers.

Findout more a www.recoveryguides.com.au

Kind Regards,
(Australian Physiotherapist & exercise Physiologist)


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