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Rehabilitation guidelines for Arthroscopic subacromial decompression with or without ACJ excision

  • The time-lines mentioned are approximate and actual progression depends on individual recovery. Full recovery can take six months, but 75-80% recovery can be expected in 12 weeks.
  • You will need to wear a sling for 2-3 weeks for comfort. Please remove the sling for shower and for exercises 5 times daily for 15-20 minutes each time.
  • 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.
  • I encourage Hydrotherapy commencing 2-3 weeks after surgery. The warm water and buoyancy allows for comfort and less pain during exercises and muscle relaxation.
  • Do not perform forceful exercises. Perform exercises within the limits of pain.
  • For the first 2 weeks – Apply icepacks 5 times daily for 10 minutes each time.
  • Remember to take pain medication as advised to assist with exercises and keeping you comfortable.

First 2 weeks

  • Passive and active assisted-exercises 5 times daily out of sling.
  • Self stretching shoulder exercises as per protocol. Download sheet from link on this page.
  • Passive and active assisted forward elevation and rotations to neutral as soon as able.  
  • Start gentle isometric deltoid exercises, scapular retraction and shoulder shrugging.
  • Elbow, wrist and hand exercises.
  • ADLs as tolerated.

2- 6 weeks

  • Progress with ROM.
  • Start deltoid and scapular stabiliser strengthening exercises.
  • Integrate functional exercises.
  • Do not perform forceful stretching. Exercise within limits of pain.
  • Rotator cuff strengthening exercises not required.

Beyond 6 weeks

  • No restrictions to movements or activities.
  • No forceful stretching.
  • Progress with strengthening and ROM exercises.
  • Wean to a home exercise program.
  • Can lift weights at work or home, but remember to do so close to body.