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Shoulder Replacement Rehabilitation

Welcome to our Shoulder Replacement Rehabilitation video series. The goal of these videos is to help maximize your recovery following shoulder replacement surgery. These videos should not be used as a substitute for regular physical therapy visits and guidance from your physician.

Click here to download a pdf version of the Shoulder Replacement Rehabilitation Guide

PHASE I – PROTECT HEALING, PREVENT STIFFNESS (0-6 weeks post-op)

GOALS:  Protect the shoulder as it heals; start gentle motion and muscle contraction exercises

KEY POINTS:

  • Remove sling after first 10-14 days at your physician’s direction and begin light daily use of the arm at home
  • After removing the sling, start motion exercises [Exercises 4-9].  Start with Table Slides, progress to Pulleys, and then perform Stick Exercises as tolerated
  • Perform 1-2 sets of 20 repetitions each exercise
  • Use sling for comfort when out in public for up to 4 weeks
  • Avoid arm motion behind the back for 8 weeks after surgery
  • Do not push off with operative arm (i.e. – when getting up from chair or bed) for 8 weeks following surgery
  • Start Isometric strengthening [Exercises 15, 16, & 17] at 3 weeks post-op as comfort allows
  • Hold contracted position for 2-3 seconds to activate muscle contraction

PHASE 2 – RANGE OF MOTION, EARLY STRENGTHENING (6-12 weeks post-op)

GOALS: Progress to full range of motion; start light strengthening

KEY POINTS:

  • Conduct stretching exercises [Exercises 1-5] 2-3 times daily to maximize shoulder motion
    • Hold the stretch position for 30 seconds, relax for 15 seconds, then repeat stretch
    • Perform one set of 5 repetitions each exercise
  • Conduct strengthening exercises [Exercises 6-12] 3-4 times per week [every-other-day] to prevent irritation
    • Start with lightest resistance band, progress to next highest band every 2-3 weeks 
    • If exercises are causing pain, decrease resistance band or perform exercises every third day to allow shoulder to rest
    • Do not progress if shoulder is painful after exercises
    • Therabands comprise an assortment of exercise resistance bands and may be purchased in a set or provided by a therapist for home use

PHASE 3 – ADVANCED STRENGTHENING / FUNCTIONAL EXERCISE (12 weeks – 12 months post-op)

GOALS: Improve strength and functional use of the arm

KEY POINTS:

  • Conduct stretching exercises until you achieve full shoulder motion (as compared to opposite side)
  • Stretch 2-3 times per day as needed
  • Progress strengthening exercises from use of exercise bands to dumbbells
  • Conduct 1-2 sets of 15 repetitions each exercise, 3-4 times per week
  • Start light, functional sports activity if applicable [Exercises 16 & 17]
  • Release to full activity per your physician’s approval

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