How to Get Your Strength Back After Rotator Cuff Surgery

Rotator cuff injuries can be debilitating. They not only cause pain and weakness but also limit the range of motion in the shoulder. When conservative treatments fail to provide relief, surgical intervention is often the next option to repair the damaged rotator cuff. However, the journey to full recovery doesn’t end with the surgery alone. Physical therapy after the surgery is critical in restoring shoulder function, reducing pain, and regaining strength and mobility. In this article, we will explore the three biggest reasons why physical therapy is essential after rotator cuff surgery.

Facilitating Healing and Tissue Repair

Following rotator cuff surgery, the healing process is crucial to ensure keep the repaired tendons in place. Our physical therapists will explain the steps to promote optimal healing. Initially, the focus will be on gentle range of motion exercises to prevent stiffness and improve circulation in the shoulder joint. We will also utilize various manual techniques to promote healing and reduce inflammation.

As the healing progresses, we will gradually introduce more targeted exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscles, including the rotator cuff muscles, deltoids, and scapular stabilizers. These exercises help rebuild the muscles, enhancing the stability of the shoulder joint. We will diversify the exercises regularly to promote neural adaptation and also control the intensity based on how you feel. We will make sure that the healing process progresses at an appropriate pace, minimizing the risk of complications while promoting optimal tissue repair. Remember, at this phase, less is more.

Individualized Plan of Care to Restore Function

Here at Advanced Physical Therapy, we provide treatment plans specific to your needs, addressing your unique posture, functional limitations, and desired outcome. For example, if your goal is to go back to playing baseball with your son, your treatment will look different from someone who would not engage in any overhead throwing. This comprehensive approach has been our best skill to get successful outcomes with our patients.

Through a combination of stretching, joint mobilization techniques, and carefully prescribed exercises, you will soon notice that your shoulder is getting more flexible. However, note that progress is not always linear. If you ever feel stuck during the rehabilitation process, communicate with us so that we can adjust the plan. We are in this together.

Strengthening and Preventing Re-injury:

After rotator cuff surgery, rebuilding strength in the shoulder is the key to a successful recovery and preventing future injuries. Physical therapy helps patients gradually regain strength and stability in the shoulder joint while reducing the risk of re-injury.

At Advanced Physical Therapy, we utilize various strengthening exercises, including resistance training, Theraband exercises, and functional movements, to target the specific muscles involved in shoulder stability and function. These exercises not only enhance the strength of the repaired rotator cuff tendons but also improve the overall muscular balance around the shoulder joint.

Furthermore, our physical therapists are experts at guiding patients on proper body mechanics to prevent undue stress on the shoulder during daily activities or sports. By focusing on postural alignment, proper lifting mechanics, and body awareness, patients can reduce the risk of future shoulder injuries and maintain a strong and healthy shoulder joint.

Start your recovery today with physical therapy

Post-operative physical therapy is a vital component of the recovery process after rotator cuff surgery. Through tailored exercises, stretching, and hands-on techniques, physical therapists guide patients toward a successful rehabilitation journey. By facilitating healing, restoring range of motion and function, and building strength and stability, physical therapy plays a crucial role in helping individuals regain their shoulder’s full potential. Adhering to a comprehensive physical therapy program not only accelerates the recovery process but also minimizes the risk of re-injury, allowing patients to return to their daily activities, work, and sports with confidence and improved quality of life.

This was by far the best team of physical therapists I have ever been treated by. There work ethic to make your body become 100% is amazing. The time and effort they put in making a stretching/workout plan for you is great, they are all super respectful and genuine. I had Vickie as my therapist and she was amazing. Spencer also stepped up and helped me out when everybody else was busy. They’re all super kind including Joe, Victoria and Lindsay. All super knowledgeable and smart. Every time I have an issue this will definitely be my go to PT office. Couldn’t thank this team enough for getting my shoulder back to 100%.

Erik / a patient from Advanced Physical Therapy in Farmington, Connecticut