Rotator Cuff Surgery Recovery Exercises Can Ensure Quick, Safe Healing

Following your rotator cuff surgery with Dr. Aron Rovner, you will learn a set of exercises to help with your recovery. These exercises are designed to isolate certain muscles and their range of motion. When performed correctly and consistently, these exercises promote stability and mobility, and contribute to a safe and quick recovery. To learn more about rotator cuff surgery recovery exercises, contact our New York City, NY, practice today and schedule your consultation.

The Importance of Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is vital to regaining strength, motion, and function of the shoulder after surgery. The first set of range-of-motion exercises will help prevent the shoulder from becoming stiff and losing mobility. Your rehabilitation program will gradually progress to strengthening and control-related exercises. Recovery follows a general time frame, but your individual progress will depend on age, health, associated injuries, the severity of your injury, and how closely you follow your doctor's instructions.

The First Weeks following Surgery

About two to six weeks after surgery, patients can begin to engage in passive range-of-motion (PROM) exercises. These exercises involve the therapist or a machine moving the joint without effort from the patient. Another rehabilitation technique performed during the initial healing period is the pendulum exercise. Patients bend forward 90 degrees at the waist, using a table for support. You will rock your body in a circular pattern, so your arm moves clockwise 10 times. Next, you will change your direction and move your arm counterclockwise 10 times.

Four to Six Weeks after Surgery

Passive range-of-motion exercises will continue, but patients can also begin incorporating active-assistive exercises, which involve the patient actively working the joint with assistance from an object, such as a wall. In some cases, patients may progress to active range-of-motion exercises, or exercises in which they completely control the joint. Isometric exercises are also initiated about a month to six weeks after surgery. These exercises are a form of strength training that isolate the angle of the joint and length of the muscle so they do not change during contraction. Isometrics are performed in static positions, such as sitting, rather than with a dynamic range of motion.

Other types of exercises patients may perform at this time include:

  • Active internal rotation (moving the arm toward the body) and external rotation (moving the arm away from the body) exercises with a rubber band or tubing.
  • Active shoulder extension performed lying down or standing up and bending at the waist.
  • Active adduction, or the movement of the arms away from the body, while lying down.

Six to Eight Weeks after Surgery

Patients will continue with their shoulder range-of-motion exercises (passive, active-assistive, and active) as needed. As strength improves, patients will begin to use free weights while lying down and externally and internally rotating their arms. This movement should be pain-free and, as with all exercises, performed only as directed by your therapist.

Two to Three Months after Surgery

At this point, your rehabilitation exercises should be more active, using your body weight and a greater range of motion. For instance, isometric exercises will emphasize eccentric strengthening, or lengthening of the muscle. Push-ups may also be added at this time, often beginning with wall push-ups. As strength improves, patients may progress to modified floor push-ups on the hands and knees, and eventually the hands and feet. Strengthening exercises focused on the elbow and wrist joint may be recommended as needed.

Four to Six Months after Surgery

In the final months of rehabilitation, your plan will focus on progressive isometric exercises, and exercises with increased strength and endurance training. You will be moving your shoulder dynamically, including internal and external rotation, and motions away from the body. As strength improves, weight resistance and high-speed training will increase. For athletes, your final weeks of rehabilitation will emphasize exercising the shoulder in positions and movements specific to your sport.

Contact Us Today

Dr. Rovner has developed a reputation for performing advanced rotator cuff surgeries followed by fast recoveries. To learn more about his arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery technique and the expedited recovery that follows, contact his practice today.