An estimated 2 million people visit their orthopedists each year due to rotator cuff problems, making it one of the most common orthopedic injuries. Rotator cuff surgery often is used as a last resort to repair torn tendons in the shoulders after traditional therapies and treatments like ice, physical therapy and cortisone injections have proven ineffective. Two of the more common rotator cuff procedures are traditional shoulder replacement, which involves replacing the damaged bone and cartilage with a prosthetic joint; and reverse shoulder replacement, which is used when the damage to the rotator cuff is so extensive that traditional shoulder replacement surgery may prove ineffective. Following the procedure, recovery can vary; however, it will be based on the procedure that has been conducted and the overall condition of the patient. Here’s what you can expect during the recovery period following rotator cuff surgery.
Sleeping or resting may be difficult due either to pain or not being able to find a comfortable position. To remedy this, try propping your head up on a pillow or sleep in a comfortable reclining chair. Not only will this ease pressure on your shoulder, but it will also make resting easier.
Expect to be in a sling for two to six weeks; during this time it is best to limit or postpone rigorous activities. If necessary, ask your orthopedist to provide you with a note that will allow you to modify more strenuous activities at work or school.
Create an Ergonomic Area
Post rotator cuff surgery, even the simplest of activities may prove challenging. Have a plan and a helper to assist with daily activities such as driving, bathing, dressing, eating, and going to the bathroom. Be sure to keep your cell phone, water, medication and TV remotes within reach and on the opposite side of the affected shoulder.
Prep your Work Environment
Depending on what your job responsibilities, you may be able to return soon after surgery. However, you also may require workplace modifications. Be sure to have them in place before you return to the worksite.
Ice and Anti-inflammatory Medications
Your orthopedist likely will advise you to ice the affected area, as well as take medications to reduce pain inflammation. When it comes to medication, follow your doctor’s orders. Also, look for any abnormalities or areas of concern such as signs of infection, fever, drainage or a radiating warmth or pain from the area.
The goal of physical therapy is to overcome shoulder stiffness, prevent the build-up of scar tissue, encourage range of motion, and strengthen the affected area. Depending on your surgeon’s recommendation, you will be expected to participate in physical therapy as soon as it is feasible – oftentimes before you leave the surgery center or hospital. Expect to continue your exercises at home and in the physical therapist’s office until you have regained full strength and range of motion.
Request an Appointment at Tri-County Orthopedics
Rotator cuff pain or injury can prevent you from enjoying your favorite activities or being effective on the job. If you have been suffering from the dull and throbbing pain in your shoulder that makes it hard for you to sleep, make sure to consult with your trusted orthopedist. If you live in or around the greater Farmington Hills area, consider Tri-County Orthopedics for your chronic conditions or injuries. Our renown orthopedists specialize in the spectrum of musculoskeletal injuries, and are experts in general orthopedics, sports medicine, joint reconstruction and traumatology. Whether you require rotator cuff surgery or advice on an injury, call Tri-County Orthopedics today at (248) 474-5575. Be sure to ask about our after-hours urgent care services.