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Shoulder Physical Therapy

Rotator Cuff Repair

Do you see patients after Rotator Cuff repair surgery?

Physical therapy is usually started within a week or two of surgery.  However, this is dependent on your tear type, surgeons protocol, and other co-morbidities.  Initially your rehab is primarily focus on pain control, protecting the surgical site, and increasing your passive range of motion.  You will typically be in a sling and unable to more your arm for around 6 weeks.  After 6 weeks we progressively start to strengthen your shoulder muscles in a graded fashion.  This is done to protect the recently repaired tissues and allow them to build up tensile strength.  The goals of therapy are to maximize range of motion, increase shoulder strength, and optimize your shoulders biomechanics (HOW it moves).

How long with recovery take?

Time frames for recovery vary based on your co-morbidities, what your activity levels were prior to your injury, and especially the size of the tear that was repairs.  In general, a good average to consider would be around 3 months, however we would know more after a thorough evaluation.  

Will I need assistance at home afterwards? For how long?

Activities like driving will be difficult after surgery as most people are in a sling and instructed to not use the arm for 6 weeks.  Other considerations to make would be if the surgical arm is your dominant arm, what your house setup is like, and how independent you were prior to surgery.  We would recommend that you have assistance of some sort for at least a week or two after surgery, until you have become used to having the sling on.

When can I drive my car?

Patients are typically instructed to keep their arm in a sling for around 6 weeks. Because of this we typically recommend not driving until at least after your 6 weeks.  It is also dependent on your pain medicine use as you do not want to be driving while on pain medication.

When can I return to work?

Most people with desk jobs return rather quickly, within a few weeks.  If you have a job where you are on your feet or a more physical job this can take much longer, up to several months.

What can I expect at my Physical Therapy appointments after surgery?

We provide a unique and individualized plan of care for every patient, however there are a few things that are common in Physical Therapy.  

  1. Range of motion exercises: These exercises help to improve flexibility and mobility in the shoulder joint.

  2. Strengthening exercises: These exercises help to improve the strength and stability of the muscles around the shoulder, which can help to reduce pain and improve function.

  3. Proprioception exercises: These exercises help to improve stability and your body's awareness in space, which can help improve coordination and prevent subsequent injuries.

  4. Manual therapy: This may include techniques such as massage or joint mobilization to help improve mobility and reduce pain.

  5. Modalities for pain as needed


It's important to work with a physical therapist who is experienced in treating Rotator cuff repairs and who can tailor a treatment plan to your specific needs.

Contact Our Midland Physical Therapy Clinic

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