The odds are your rotator cuff problems didn’t develop overnight, which is why you need to be patient after rotator cuff surgery. That said, there are a few things you can do to pave the way for a faster, and healthier, recovery.
Here at Crescent City Orthopedics, we want to make sure that our patients in Metairie, Louisiana, have the tools necessary for a healthy and active lifestyle. While surgery is sometimes necessary, our goal is to restore your normal function in a speedy, yet safe, manner.
To help, we’ve pulled together the following tips to help your recovery from rotator cuff surgery go as smoothly as possible.
After your rotator cuff surgery, we’re going to send you home in a sling to immobilize your shoulder while it heals. If you’ve never negotiated life with a sling, you’ll quickly realize how extraordinarily difficult even the simplest tasks become. From getting dressed in the morning to preparing a meal, one-armed living has its challenges.
Before your rotator cuff surgery, we highly recommend that you make some preparations on the home front to ease your recovery. Maybe you can cook and freeze some meals ahead of time and make sure your kitchen is stocked with easy-to-prepare food. Even making a sandwich can be a tricky process, so think ahead about what meals are easiest to pull together with the use of just one arm.
And while we’re on the subject of food, eating right during your recovery gives your body the nutrients it needs to heal more quickly. So, ditch the junk food and have plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains on hand.
Your clothing choices will be somewhat dictated by your sling, as well. Since you can’t lift your arm, you should count on wearing shirts that open in the front. And you may want to stock up on pants that don’t have zippers for a little while — these closure systems are incredibly hard to wrangle with only one arm.
For everything else, from driving to cleaning and laundry, you should line up family and friends to help you better negotiate the first week or two of your recovery after rotator cuff surgery.
One of the best ways to speed up your recovery after rotator cuff surgery is to follow your physical therapy program to the letter. We work with your physical therapist to come up with a customized plan that helps you regain strength and range of motion in your shoulder. And while these goals may seem fairly basic, we caution you about embarking on your own postoperative plan, which can damage your delicate rotator cuff and set your recovery back considerably.
Your physical therapist ensures that you go at the speed of your unique recovery, and everyone is different. If your rotator cuff is healing nicely, your physical therapist works with you to regain full function as quickly, and as safely, as possible.
If your rotator cuff is taking a little more time to heal, your physical therapist works with you to gradually strengthen the soft tissue so that when your rotator cuff heals, you’ll regain full use and greatly reduce your risk of re-injury.
The exercises and stretching you do under the watchful eye of your physical therapist are designed to be jumping off points — the rest is up to you. Whether you see a physical therapist once a week or five times a week during your early recovery, the work you do at home is just as important.
Your physical therapist will give you exercise homework that’s designed to continue strengthening your shoulder, while also helping you restore full range of motion. These at-home exercises build on the work you do during your physical therapy sessions, and they make all the difference between a great and speedy recovery or a prolonged, and potentially unstable, recovery.
Ultimately, the keys to recovering from rotator cuff surgery are diligence and patience. We understand that you want the use of your arm and shoulder back as quickly as possible, but don’t push too hard and overdo it. If you follow our recovery instructions and allow your body time to heal properly, you’ll come out the other side swinging before you know it.
If you have any more questions about rotator cuff surgery, or the recovery afterward, please give us a call. Or you can use the online scheduling tool on this website to set up an appointment.