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Old 01-18-2009, 06:36 AM   #1
Charlie DeWeese
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Recovery from rotator cuff surgery

I had a fairly substantial full thickness supraspinatus tear repaired six weeks ago. What experience do people have with recovery? At this point I am doing only range of motion exercises and having a lot of trouble with muscle spasms, particularly running along the trapezius and into the neck on the affected side. I don't have adequate strength right now to extend my arm up over my head all the way without considerable pain and effort, although I can extend it back to touch the ground without much trouble if I am lying down. I am 61, and I'm sure that will slow my recovery. Any advice?
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:25 AM   #2
Steven Low
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Re: Recovery from rotator cuff surgery

What did you doctor and physical therapist say?
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Old 01-19-2009, 10:57 AM   #3
Charlie DeWeese
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Re: Recovery from rotator cuff surgery

They seem to think I am doing ok, maybe the PT more than the doc, who seemed a bit surprised at how hard it is for me to lift my arm up to my head. I have definitely improved range of motion but I feel like I am a long way from returning to the pre-op level of strength. I am supposed to move from ROM to strength exercises next week at PT.
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:16 AM   #4
Steven Low
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Re: Recovery from rotator cuff surgery

I would do what your doc and PT advise you.

But you can always ask them when you're cleared to go to the gym, what you're allowed to do, and what you should avoid.
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:50 AM   #5
Aileen Reid
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Re: Recovery from rotator cuff surgery

I'm recovering from 3 minor tears, less than 20% thickness and haven't been allowed near a gym for 5 weeks now! I'm in my 3rd week of physio from tomorrow. My ROM is OK, I'm working on stability now.
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:01 AM   #6
Justin Lascek
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Re: Recovery from rotator cuff surgery

For the sake of investigating unconventional methods (of which I am not intending to discuss in this post), check out some articles in the CF Journal by Jeff Martone (his shoulders would dislocate in the middle of the night) and Mark Rippetoe that pertain to shoulder exercises. They will talk about rehabbing to a small degree, but you can see their opinions on strengthening the integrity of the shoulder joint. You could even contact them for further questions.

Again, this shouldn't be discussed here, but you can observe some other methods and make your own decision based on how you feel and such.

Don't know how to get in touch with Martone, but Rip's Q&A board are here:
http://************.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=36

Good luck and be safe with any kind of progression on your own.
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:05 AM   #7
Bethany Wadsworth
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Re: Recovery from rotator cuff surgery

I had complete tears of my supraspinatus and infraspinatus 2 years ago. I didn't even come out of the sling for 6 weeks. It is imperative that you let that tendon heal and tendons take a long time to heal as they are not terribly vascular. The surgery to correct a re-tear is not as successful. Listen to your Dr.and therapist and don't push it. I didn't lift anything heavier than a 3# dumbell for 4 months, but 6 months after my surgery I was lifting more weight than before the injury. It sounds to me like your range of motion is coming along fine.
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:54 AM   #8
Charlie DeWeese
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Re: Recovery from rotator cuff surgery

Thanks. I don't think I'll be lifting anything of any significance for at least 4 months, and just wanted to know what experience others have had. ROM continues to improve. Today was by far my best day for that.
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:52 PM   #9
Wendy Nelson
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Re: Recovery from rotator cuff surgery

When I was recovering from surgery I remember my PT holding me back and cautioning me about the stitches in there breaking free and ruining the whole surgery. Be careful not to do anything extra besides what your PT says and if you do come clean right away so they have all the information.

I always wanted to use more weight because the dainty little eensie dumbells had no wow factor. I felt silly lifting them, like geez I can do more than this. I believe I had a tendon that had to be severed and then reattached as part of the total repair work. Maybe you do not have these stitches?

Everyone has a different timeline in recovery, bottom line be patient and follow orders exactly and give feedback to your PT. Good luck.
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