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Rehabilitation guidelines for Arthroscopic Rotator cuff repair

  • The time-lines mentioned are approximate and actual progression depends on individual recovery.
  • Please follow the advice and exercises demonstrated by Dr Reddy and your therapist to give yourself the best possible chance of recovery and a good outcome.
  • Exercises as per “Dr_Sunil_Reddy_Shoulder_Surgery_Rehabilitation_Protocol” form the mainstay of rehab. Your therapist will incorporate this exercise into your daily home exercise regimen.
  • Do not perform forceful exercises. Perform exercises within the limits of pain and allow for a gradual return of movements over time. It can take 6-8 months for the movement and function to return to near normal levels.
  • For the first 2 weeks – Apply icepacks 3-5 times daily for 10 minutes each time.
  • Remember to take pain medication as advised to assist with exercises and keeping you comfortable.

First 6 weeks

  • Keep arm supported in sling including at night. Please remove the sling for shower and for exercises 3-5 times daily for 15-20 minutes each time.
  • No active use of the operated arm. Please completely avoid any push, pull or reaching out movements. 
  • Self stretching shoulder exercises as per protocol. Download sheet from link on this page.
  • Passive forward elevation and rotations to neutral position only  form the mainstay. 
  • The Physiotherapist will see you in the hospital before discharge. Please follow his / her advice and the self-stretching exercises in the sheet will be incorporated in your home exercise regimen.
  • Pendulum, Stick-assisted and pulley exercises as tolerated.
  • Start scapular retraction and shoulder shrugging as soon as able.
  • ROM exercises elbow, wrist, hand thrice daily.
  • Walking, deep breathing exercises and cardio-vascular conditioning on a daily basis.

6-12 week

  • Start activities of daily living. No lifting more than 1-2 kg. No push, pull activities.
  • Cease use of sling. Can start driving depending on movement achieved and arm control.
  • Exercises as advised by your therapist.
  • Start active-assisted exercises and progress to full active ROM as able. Pulley-assisted passive ROM within limits of pain. No forceful stretching please.
  • Start core strengthening exercises.
  • No rotator cuff strengthening exercises.

After 12 weeks

  • Progress with ROM.
  • Start strengthening exercises of rotator cuff, deltoid, but avoid maximal resistance till 5-6 months.
  • Core strengthening exercises.
  • Strengthening of scapular stabilisers and proprioception.
  • Integrate functional exercises and wean to a home or gym based program after 4-5 months.
  • No lifting more than 5 kg weight till 6 months.