What Restrictions Are There After Rotator Cuff Surgery?

drawing of the shoulder showing the rotator cuff muscle and What Restriction After Rotator Cuff SurgeryWhat Restriction After Rotator Cuff Surgery

While the pain that you experience post surgery usually diminishes a few weeks after surgery, restrictions to your body movement, particularly your arm, can be quite severe and it is important to know what restrictions after rotator cuff surgery apply.

Here is a rough time plan as to when most patients are able to go back to the normal daily routine of life, things such as lifting your arm above your head to brush your hair or driving a car. Please bear in mind your specific recovery time may vary from the times below.

Immediately Following Surgery:

After your surgery you’re newly repaired tendons need to be given time to heal themselves and properly re-attach and anchor itself to the bone. Giving your shoulder the chance to do this effectively basically means not moving your arm. This severe restriction to the rotator cuff is usually only needed for the first couple of weeks.

6 Weeks Post Surgery:

To help you restrict the movement of your arm and shoulder you will need to have your arm in a sling for at least the first 6 weeks. Also during this time you are not going to be able to drive as this will exert too much pressure and strain on the rotator cuff.

12 Weeks after Surgery:

After the 12 week mark you will start to be able to gradually lift your arm above your head. While this might seem like a perfectly simply and natural movement one of the main functions of the rotator cuff is to keep your upper arm in place in relation to you shoulder while you do this. So given you have just had surgery performed it is important not to do this too early and risk compromising your healing and recovery.

Given the rotator cuff is usually sufficiently repaired at this stage to start some slow and gentle movements this is often when rehabilitation and strengthening of the rotator cuff can begin.

6-12 Months Following Surgery:

Most rotator cuff surgery patients experience full recovery from the repair in the six to twelve months after surgery. The only two things that might mean it would take longer than twelve months would be if you sustained a very significant tear and the level of surgery required to fix you up was equally significant. Then the amount of time needed to fully heal ould be a bit longer given the extent of the work needed by the body to heal such a large injury.

The other thing that might require more time is if your healing is compromised in any way. This might mean trying to do to much to early, like driving your car inside the first 6 weeks after surgery. Or returning to your favorite activity or sport without not only giving your body enough time to heal but also carrying out enough strengthening exercises on your rotator cuff to make sure you can actually go out there and ‘play-ball’.

Rotator Cuff Exercises

The main tool that you have in your arsenal to help get back to your normal life and back to your favorite sport is rotator cuff exercises. These exercises are specifically designed to strengthen and stretch the rotator cuff, in the process making it a much more robust group of muscles which will allow you many more years of fun ‘out on the field’.

As with any type of exercise it is important that you learn how to do them properly, not only so that you don’t hurt yourself but also so that you can learn how to effectively isolate the muscle group while you are working on it to get the maximum benefit out of the time you put in. The funny thing about rotator cuff exercises is that when you first start reading the learning about them you will probably think they look like a waste of time, on first inspection they look only slightly more work than stretches.

But as with most things in life looks can be deceiving, given the small size of the rotator cuff muscles, there is not much room there on the inside of your shoulder, working on them is nothing like working on your biceps or legs, it requires only a small amount of weight but lots of repetition applied in very specific motions, in order to get the strengthening and stretching you require.

Getting the right advice and guidance when it comes to rotator cuff exercises is essential if you want lasting results from your efforts. Now one of the people most qualified to give you this advice is Brian Schiff, PT, CSCS. His 12 years of shoulder healing experience plus his excellent qualifications means that you will be in good hands when it comes to stretching and strengthening your rotator cuff.

Brian has recently distilled all his rotator cuff knowledge and experience into a fantastically comprehensive guide devoted just to the rotator cuff called The Ultimate Rotator Cuff Training Guide.

So if you want long lasting results and the ability to get back to your favorite activity or sport, check out Brian’s guide and get on the fast track to rotator cuff recovery.

This site is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended to be used as a substitute for the proper advice from your doctor or healthcare professional. It is important that you always rely on the advice of your healthcare professional or doctor with regards to your own specific condition.

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