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Rotator Cuff Repair: What to Expect During Your Recovery

Rotator Cuff Repair: What to Expect During Your Recovery

Composed of four muscles and associated soft tissue that support the shoulder joint bones, the rotator cuff frequently suffers minor and major damage. While some injuries heal with conservative treatment, more significant problems could require surgery. 

Postsurgical recovery occurs in phases, lasting as long as nine months for some patients. The recovery period includes rest, pain control, and physical therapy in a coordinated plan to heal tissue and restore function. 

As rotator cuff repair specialists, the Bahri Orthopedics & Sports Medicine team in Jacksonville will guide you through your recovery plan. We recognize that every rotator cuff injury has its challenges, so we adjust your plan based on the injury and the success of the surgery. Here’s what to expect during your recovery. 

On the day of surgery

Rotator cuff surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Whenever possible, our doctors use minimally invasive surgical techniques to limit the damage done to healthy tissue surrounding the rotator cuff area. 

Surgery reattaches tissue that’s affected by injury. At the end of your procedure, which can take several hours depending on the extent of your damage, you’ll be fitted with a sling to hold your shoulder in a relaxed position. 

The next few days

The earliest stages of recovery focus on pain and inflammation control. We’ll prescribe suitable medication for both and provide instructions on their use. Follow your medication schedule for the first few days, even if you feel you’re getting better. You may discover how well the meds work when the pain intensifies. 

Ice packs to control inflammation and pain also feature prominently in the first days of recovery, and you can continue icing your shoulder as long as it makes a difference. Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a soft cloth and limit icing sessions to 15 minutes. 

Sleeping during recovery

Sleep can be the biggest challenge during recovery. Start with a semi-upright sleep position. A recliner is an excellent option during the early stages of recovery. Side sleeping will likely be uncomfortable, so gather as many pillows as you need if you don’t have a recliner. The time you spend asleep is crucial to the recovery process. Talk to us if you require a sleep aid. 

Physical therapy

You’ll start with passive exercises. Your physical therapist will move the shoulder through its range. This preserves mobility while the surgical work heals. Expect this stage to last about six weeks. 

Active motion begins when your tendons are healed enough to support your motions. Exercises will start to add strength and reduce stiffness while continuing to develop a range of motion. This could be the longest recovery phase, lasting as long as 12 weeks. 

The third phase of physical therapy adds resistance exercises to build strength. It’s the most crucial part of recovery since it restores the capabilities needed for normal shoulder function. The intensity builds through this phase before you can return to full activity between six to nine months after your rotator cuff repair. 

Every patient recovers in their way and at their own pace. Schedule a visit with our nearest office by calling directly or using our appointment request link on this page. The best way to learn what you can expect from your repair is in consultation with your orthopedic surgeon at Bahri Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. We’re standing by, ready to help you, so book your session now. 

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