n Shoulder Surgery Recovery - AOA Orthopedic Specialists

Shoulder Surgery Recovery

While there are many types of shoulder surgeries, your shoulder surgery recovery plays an important role in the health and well-being of your shoulder in the long run. The three bones of the shoulder— the clavicle, humerus, and scapula— are joined together by soft tissues made up of ligaments, tendons, muscles, and joint capsules. Each work part of the shoulder is tasked with the responsibility of rotating and operating the shoulder. When you undergo shoulder surgery recovery, the goal is to give your body time to restore your shoulder’s functionality.

Shoulder Surgery Recovery can be a lengthy experienceThe flexibility of the shoulder joint allows you to move your arm in several different directions, but this also makes the shoulder a prone candidate for injury.

Possible Causes Leading To Shoulder Surgery Recovery

If you have not yet experience shoulder surgery recovery, but your are experiencing shoulder pain, you may want to set up an appointment with one of AOA’s board-certified shoulder specialists. Here are a list of potential symptoms that could lead to shoulder surgery and shoulder surgery recovery:

it’s important to know which part of the shoulder you’re feeling that pain in order to determine possible injuries. Always consult your doctor about any pain you may be feeling in your shoulder. Common injuries that lead to shoulder surgery is fractures, torn or problematic rotator cufftendonitisSLAP tear, bursitis, bicep tearsshoulder dislocation, or even shoulder arthritis.

To learn more about shoulder injuries and procedures, click here.

What You Need to Know About Your Shoulder Surgery Recovery

Depending on your injury, your surgeon may have preformed either an arthroscopic shoulder surgery, a shoulder replacement, and open repair, or a mini open repair. The shoulder surgery recovery process may vary depending on the type of surgery you had.

Shoulder Pain

Open repair shoulder surgery requires the surgeon to make a surgical incision several inches long in order to reattach any torn or damaged tendons. Recovery can take anywhere from four to six months depending on the size of the tear.

Mini open repair shoulder surgery uses smaller incisions than open surgery, which results in slightly less recovery time. Recovery can take anywhere from two to four months depending on the patient.

During arthroscopic surgery, the surgeon makes small incisions around your shoulder, then inserts a small camera and miniature instruments through the incisions. This less invasive surgery results in an often faster recovery than open repair, but still may take weeks or months for your shoulder to completely recover.

Total shoulder replacement involves replacing the shoulder joint with artificial parts and will likely require your arm to remain in a sling for four to six weeks after surgery.

The Shoulder Surgery Recovery Process

Recovery from an arthroscopic surgery is typically quicker than open tendon repair. Since open tendon repair is more involved, you may also have more pain right afterwards. Patience is a virtue when it comes to shoulder surgery recovery. It is important to follow the instructions given to you such as regulating how long you should apply ice, returning to your regular activities at the suggested pace of your doctor, and actively engaging in physical therapy. Trying to do too much too soon can result in re-injury.

Your body needs time to repair itself and restoring the strength back to your shoulder. Adequate nutrition plays an equally vital role in your shoulder surgery recovery period. Sustenance that is high in vitamin C and E can aid in your recovery as well as foods that are proteins rich. Your body will use these nutrients repair and heal your shoulder after surgery.

While shoulder surgery recovery can be painful up to the first couple of weeks post operation, use pain medications only as recommended. Another challenge you may face after undergoing shoulder surgery may be finding a proper sleeping position. Try sleeping in a reclined position instead of flat on your back if possible. Experimenting with different sleep positions may be the key to finding what works best for you.

How Long Will Shoulder Surgery Recovery Take?

When there is a major tear in the rotator cuff, that means that the tendon and ligaments that are attached to and envelop the humerus have been damaged. In the case of undergoing surgery for a rotator cuff tear, there is usually an extensive recovery period which can last up to 6 months depending on the patient and the severity of the tear. The reason for this is that it takes some time for the tendon to heal and to re-attach properly to the bone.

Can I Speed Up My Shoulder Surgery Recovery?


There is no magic tip or trick to speed up shoulder surgery recovery, the only way to ensure optimal results and the quickest possible recovery is to follow your doctor’s instructions once you’ve begun your recovery process.

Avoid certain movements that may interfere with your shoulder’s healing process such as heavy lifting, reaching over your head or behind your back, and rotating your arm in uncomfortable positions.

It is important to get plenty of rest, wear your shoulder sling (or whichever shoulder immobilizer you’ve been given), and do your physical therapy. As boring and repetitive as those instructions may sound, they play an important role in your speedy and health shoulder surgery recovery.

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