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Rotator cuff surgery

Bones, Joints & Muscles | Last Active: Dec 6, 2023 | Replies (51)

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Mine was only a rotator repair. I initially went in to simply have an impinged nerve released. It was during that operation that they saw my rotator had completely peeled off the bone at some point. It was not a full tear, but they said it looked as though I had partially torn it at some point and my body tried to heal on its own, a process that I likely went through multiple times. Even though it was a partial tear, a repair requires a full tear anyways.

Obviously, your surgery was far more extensive than mine, but it sounds as though the recovery protocol is/was very similar. I also had to be in a sling with a wedge for 6 weeks. I was told to sleep in mine actually, but after 3 weeks, I did try to sleep without it using pillows to stabilize it instead. At 6 weeks, I was told to stop using the sling, but still not actively try to engage my shoulder. My exercises were guided stretching using a pole or stick, but not actually using my own muscle on the operated side to move. It wasn't until 8 weeks that I began movement exercises. 12 weeks is when I got to be a bit more aggressive, and at 16 weeks I really began aggressive exercises without restrictions. My ROM is still not near where it was prior to surgery, but I am finally noticing small gains. I also cannot lift more than 5 lbs if I try to raise my arm out in front of me. I have a hard time reaching to my opposite side of the body and doing an overhead press motion. It felt like I was not getting anywhere for a LONG time, but I do feel like every so often I get a big leap forward almost overnight. I would still say I am probably only about 60% of where I would like to be, but I am seeing some light at the end of the tunnel (although it still feels like a long ways away). If you are feeling rushed, I would convey that. I was told that pain is normal as the shoulder is the hardest to recover and rehab of any joint in our body. But I was told excruciating pain is a sing that you are doing more than what your body is ready for.

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Replies to "Mine was only a rotator repair. I initially went in to simply have an impinged nerve..."

I find the difference in the approach to therapy between your surgeon and mine to be interesting. I was told prior to surgery that I would need therapy for 3-4 months, and it would take 6 months for complete healing. I don't mean to imply that either surgeon is wrong, they just have a different approach. My surgeon is the team physician for the minor league LaCrosse team where I live and when you mentioned that pain could mean that I was doing more than my body is ready for, I wondered if he was putting me at the pace of the LaCrosse players. I know he was worried about the time between the injury and the surgery and losing ROM, that could also be why he is wanting an aggressive approach. The water therapy has been helping. It is much easier to move the shoulder in the water. Tomorrow I go to land therapy and will see how I do afterwards. I have been able to control the pain with 600 mg of ibuprofen and 2 arthritis strength tylenol, however my stomach is taking a beating. I am going to try and find something homeopathic that will work. I know they suggested tumeric for my knee. I will see how tomorrow goes and call and discuss toning down the pace of PT if I need to. Thank you for mentioning that.