Rotator Cuff Repair PT after rotator cuff surgery


Feb 25, 2018
Gilford, NH
United States United States
I’m used to my hip replacements; no PT needed and knee replacements where I followed the Bonesmart way.

What is the Bonesmart way regarding PT after shoulder surgery? It’s a partial tear so no repair, just cleaning up, debridement, other fun stuff. I will have an Ultra sling and my first post op is a week after surgery. PT will be discussed at that point.

Thanks for any advice!

@InkedMarie You might need some PT for the shoulder -- it sort of depends on what your surgeon actually does to the shoulder/rotator cuff and on how long the shoulder has been dysfunctional prior to the surgery. Sort of a "wait and see" situation at this point in time. The shoulder is a complex joint - more like the knee than like the hip. So it might require some careful exercises to rebuild range of motion and strength once you've healed.
I know I will have PT; I’m to bring his info with me on Thursday. I just know that “no pain, no gain” is NOT what we do with knees but do we do that for shoulders? Do I do what the therapist says?

@Jamie had a shoulder replacement. I've tagged her for advice on PT for shoulders.
@InkedMarie The basic BoneSmart philosophy applies to shoulders too! Do not allow PT to force yur shoulder. If it hurts don't do it. For each of my shoulder replacements I was fortunate to have wonderful PT folks. They took things slowly and gradually increased to range of motion and strength. For me, I went in to see them about every 2 weeks and did the exercises they gave me diligently between visits. I now have pain free shoulders and pretty much full range of motion ( I think my surgeries may have shortened each arm a bit so I can't hook a bra behind my back ... not a big problem!) It did take about 5 months post op to finish with PT and that was with my surgeons insisting that PT NOT start until about 6 weeks after surgery.
This is correct. The guidance is the same for your shoulder. Rotator cuff repair surgery can be a little more painful during recovery than a shoulder replacement, which is even more reason not to push therapy past the point of mild discomfort. There is lots of time later in the recovery process for strengthening and gains in your range of motion. The immobilizer brace you’ll get can be a bit frustrating because you’ll suddenly realize how much you depend on BOTH hands and arms to do a lot of things. And it can be awkward to sleep in. I used a wedge pillow on the couch so I could also use the back of the couch for support while sleeping on my unoperated side. But it is temporary to allow things to heal properly. During the first weeks and months after surgery, you’ll be going for gentle movement to keep the shoulder from freezing up. While this is not a risk with knees or hips, it can be a problem for a shoulder that is immobilized following surgery.
Thank you, Deb & Jamie! I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Ice machine, ice packs, bagged peas, wedge pillow set and slip on sneakers.

The email I got said to wear a strapless bra without wires. Even if such a thing exists, they don’t in my size, at least not locally. Tried to find a bathing suit top; it’s only July but not much left up here. I found a couple strapless shirts with a ribbed, padded tube top. They will function as a bra when I have to go to post op appointments and PT, til I can be comfortable in a bra.

@InkedMarie Yup the bra problem does require creative problem solving. :eyebrows: I think it took me a month or so for shoulder incisions to heal up enough for a regular bra to be comfortable enough to wear. Before that I just went without one.

Best of everything for you with this soon to be surgery!!

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