A key component of recovery from rotator cuff surgery is physical therapy. Your doctor and physical therapist will recommend a specific course of action depending on your age, the extent of your injury, and your physical condition. Always follow their instructions closely and be sure not to overdo it, even if you don't feel much pain.
4 Types of Exercises for Rotator Cuff Surgery Recovery
Some of the activities your doctor or physical therapist might suggest include passive motion, active assisted, strengthening, and advanced strengthening exercises. These will progress as the recovery process continues.
- Therapist-assisted passive motion exercises include joint oscillations, forward flexion, internal and external rotation, and abduction. These movements will be performed with the aid of a therapist because in the early stages of recovery, it is important to both promote healing and protect the joint after surgery.
- As your recovery progresses, after a month or two you will move on to active assisted range of motion exercises. Examples of these types of exercises include making circular motions with a medium-sized ball placed on a tabletop; laying flat on your back and using a long stick to aid internal rotation and forward flexion; repeated salutes while sitting or standing; and laying flat on your back with your arm extended to the ceiling and drawing the alphabet in the air.
- After about 8 or 12 weeks, you can begin strengthening exercises. Most of these exercises will be isotonic and designed to improve stability in the shoulder joint. Examples include a bear hug exercise with resistance bands, which is similar to a vertical chest press; a standing row with resistance bands; and biceps curls and triceps extensions with light free weights.
- When 12 to 16 weeks have passed, advanced strengthening exercises are recommended for a full recovery from rotator cuff surgery. Increasing the amount of resistance with thicker bands or heavier free weights further strengthens the affected muscles in the shoulder joint. Examples include external rotation with a resistance band; push-ups that progress from vertical to horizontal; and throwing exercises.
These are just a few examples of each type of exercise you are likely to encounter through the recovery process after rotator cuff surgery. Because every patient is different, it is important to work closely with your healthcare providers to customize a program based on your healing progress.
In addition to these exercises, adding cold compression therapy to your your recovery will help accelerate the healing process and reduce the pain and swelling that you will experience after surgery.
Game Ready cold compression wraps are designed to conform to the contours of your body for maximum coverage and cold penetration. Find a provider near you today to make sure you have Game Ready for your shoulder surgery recovery.