Phase 1: First 3 weeks

  • Wound care as outlined on the Shoulder Arthroscopy Rehabilitation page
  • If the operation has been performed through a larger incision this will have a dissolving stitch.
  • You will wake up with a sling on. It is important that this is worn at all times.
  • You may remove the sling for washing but keep your hand against your stomach
  • Keep moving your hand to keep your wrist from becoming stiff
  • Take your hand out of the sling and straighten the elbow regularly to prevent the elbow from becoming stiff. When doing this start with the palm on the stomach then straighten the elbow so that the palm rests on the front of the thigh.
  • Rotate the arm out to the side (external rotation) hourly to prevent the shoudler stiffening. This will be uncomfortable but will do no damage.

Phase 2: 3-6 weeks

  • You will be seen in the clinic at 3 weeks
  • At 4 weeks you can remove the sling
  • Then start working on forward elevation and abduction (lift the arm to the front and the side)
  • Use the good arm to raise the operated arm in both directions to shoudler height but no higher
  • Aim: Forward elevation to horizontal by 6 weeks

Phase 3: 6-12 weeks

  • Physiotherapy should start at this stage
  • Start working on full range of motion with no restrictions
  • Do not lift more than 5Kg

Phase 4: 12-16 weeks

  • You will be seen in the clinic at 12 weeks
  • Continue working on forward flexion, abduction an external rotation
  • Resistance or strength training can start at 12 weeks
  • If you have regained most of your motion you will be discharged at this stage

Phase 5: 16+ weeks

  • You may be seen in the clinic at 16 weeks
  • If you have higher demands of the shoulder (i.e. specific sports demands (throwing, swimming etc)) you will be started on sports specific training.
  • Possible return to contact sports at 6 months