Physical therapy after rotator cuff repair surgery

Week 1 ####

  1. Arm is in postoperative sling
  2. Gentle motion of fingers, hand, wrist, elbow.
  3. Immediate pendulum and AAROM/passive motion
  4. Pain management
  5. Ice/cryotherapy as needed after exercise
  6. Keep wounds dry
  7. Bacitracin, neomycin, etc., are not necessary and application of ointments is discouraged
  8. May shower, do not bathe or immerse in water
  9. No driving

Weeks 2 - 6 after surgery

  1. Postoperative sling for comfort
  2. Sutures to be removed about 14 days after surgery
  3. Start formal physical therapy
  4. Pendulum exercises
  5. Pulleys
  6. Wall walking
  7. Assisted motion with help from therapist
  8. No active motion or strengthening
  9. Avoid abrupt jerking motion, straining, etc.
  10. Ice/cryotherapy as needed after exercise
  11. Use sling at night
  12. Sling use should decrease steadily during this period
  13. Goal is to be weaned off sling by 2-3 weeks
  14. No driving

Weeks 7 - 12 after surgery ####

  1. By this time should expect about 120 degrees of passive forward flexion
  2. Start shoulder and forearm active motion
  3. In order to drive
  4. Must be off pain medications
  5. Must have full control of steering wheel without any pain 3 months after surgery
  6. Full ROM
  7. Strengthening
  8. May start light sports as tolerated