Road To Rotator Cuff Recovery

Shoulder surgery is a major medical procedure that can be daunting, especially for people concerned with recovery. A common type of shoulder surgery is rotator cuff repair, used to repair a torn tendon in the shoulder. A rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that connect the upper arm bone to the shoulder blade. A tear can occur from a traumatic injury, overuse, or natural wear and tear. Proper care and attention make a smooth recovery after shoulder surgery possible.

minnesota valley surgery center What To Expect After Shoulder Surgery A Smooth Recovery After Rotator Cuff Repair.jpg

Pain management

Immediately following the surgery, the surgeon will prescribe pain medication to help manage any discomfort. In addition to medication, individuals may also use ice packs to help with swelling and pain. Most people will experience some pain or discomfort for the first few days after surgery but should improve over time.

Physical therapy

Typically, physical therapy (PT) begins within the first few days after surgery. The physical therapist will demonstrate exercises that can be done to help improve range of motion (ROM) and strength. In addition, physical therapists may also use various techniques, such as massage or electrical stimulation, to help relieve pain and promote healing.


Following surgery, individuals must follow certain restrictions to ensure proper healing. Individuals will likely be required to wear a sling for a certain period of time to keep the arm immobilized. Patients will also be instructed to avoid certain activities, such as lifting heavy objects or driving a car, for several weeks.

Return to normal activities

The recovery time before returning to normal activities following rotator cuff surgery can vary depending on several factors, such as the extent of the surgery, the person’s age, and the patient’s overall health. In general, most people can return to normal daily activities within 6-8 weeks after surgery. However, a complete recovery may take several months before more strenuous activities, such as playing sports, are resumed.

Sleeping comfortably

Approved sleeping positions include on the back or in a reclined position to avoid putting pressure on the shoulder. The recommended sleeping positions can be uncomfortable, especially for patients used to sleeping on the side or stomach. The patient may want to invest in a specialized pillow or wedge to make sleeping more comfortable. Good sleep is an essential part of the recovery process and can help the patient feel more rested and energized during the day.

On track toward a healed shoulder

The road to recovery after rotator cuff surgery is not easy but is a journey well worth the effort. Recovery takes patience, determination, and a positive attitude, but the reward is the ability to return to daily activities without the limitations of a shoulder injury. Patients should follow the doctor's instructions, attend PT sessions, and take care of the body with rest and nutrition. Every step counts, no matter how small.

More Articles from MVSC