You will need to wear a sling for the first 6 weeks after surgery. You may want to wear the sling for extra support or protection after that. You may also wear a shoulder immobilizer to keep the joint in place.
Rest your shoulder on a rolled up towel or small pillow when lying down. This helps prevent damage to your shoulder from the stretching of the muscles or tendons. You will need to keep doing this for 6 to 8 weeks after your surgery, even when wearing a sling.
Your surgeon or physical therapist may teach you pendulum exercises to do at home for 4 to 6 weeks. To do these exercises:
- Lean over and support your weight with your good arm on a counter or table.
- Hang your arm that had surgery down.
- Very carefully and slowly swing your loose arm around in circles.
Your surgeon or physical therapist will also teach you safe ways to move your arm and shoulder:
- DO NOT try to lift or move your shoulder without supporting it with your good arm or having someone else support it. Your surgeon or therapist will tell you when it is ok to lift or move your shoulder without this support.
- Use your other (good) arm to move the arm that had surgery. Move it only as far as your doctor or physical therapist tells you is ok.
These exercises and movements may hard but they will get easier over time. It is very important to do these as your surgeon or therapist showed you. Doing these exercises will help your shoulder get better faster. They will help you be more actives after you recover.
Activities and movements you should try to avoid are:
- Reaching or using your shoulder a lot
- Lifting objects heavier than a cup of coffee
- Supporting your body weight with your hand on the side you had surgery
- Making sudden jerking movements
Wear the sling all the time unless your surgeon says you do not have to.
After 4 to 6 weeks, your surgeon or physical therapist will show you other exercises to stretch your shoulder and gain more movement in your joint.
Returning to sports and other activities
Ask your surgeon which sports and other activities are ok for you after you recover.
Always think about how to safely use your shoulder before you move or start an activity. To protect your new shoulder avoid:
- Activities that require doing the same movement over and over again with your shoulder, such as weight lifting.
- "Jamming" activities, such as hammering.
- "Impact-loading" sports, such as boxing.
- Any physical activities that need quick stop-start motions or twisting.
You will probably not be able to drive for at least 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. You should not drive when you are taking narcotics. Your surgeon or physical therapist will tell you when driving is ok.