Post Op Rotator Cuff Repair – 6 weeks Instructions ©
Congratulations!!! You survived 6 weeks in your sling. It is time to discard the sling and move forward with your rehabilitation. The purpose of this form is to emphasize what we talked about in your visit today.
Healing of rotator cuff tissue is a process. You have successfully made it through the early healing phase and now it is VERY important for you to proceed as directed and not to take yourself outside of the recommended activity levels as it will most certainly affect your final outcome and likely prevent the tear from healing properly.
The next phase of the healing process involves strengthening of the scar tissue (rotator cuff healing interface to bone) to mature and become stronger. During the next 6 weeks I ask that you work on obtaining your shoulder range of motion without lifting any weight or doing any strengthening exercises.
The first step is to work on ACTIVE-ASSISTED RANGE OF MOTION. This means that you will be moving your shoulder/arm with assistance. This can be done with assistance from your other arm, walking up the wall with your fingers, using a wand/cane or a pulley system. The more that you work on this, the better you will feel and be able to progress to ACTIVE RANGE OF MOTION (AROM). AROM involves moving you shoulder/arm under its own power. Your goal is to obtain 70-80% of your range of motion during this 6 weeks.
Some people do get significantly stiff after rotator cuff repair surgery and can take longer to get their range of motion back. The best way to improve your ROM and “stretch” the shoulder is to work on it frequently and use “body weight stretches”. To do body weight stretches you will plant your hand on a stationary object (i.e. wall, cabinet, door frame etc.) and slowly use your weight to impart stretch in the directions that need to be improved. This usually includes rotation outwards and elevation forward. Internal rotation (reaching behind your back) is usually the last thing to return. You can work on this using a towel, belt or rope thrown over your opposite shoulder to help stretch with our other arm.
This is a lot of information, and I realize that some of it may be confusing. This is why I will refer you to a physical therapist to help guide you for the next 6 weeks.
Good Luck!!! See you in 6 weeks.