Shoulder Surgery

Shoulder Surgery

  • Have you recently had shoulder surgery? 
  • Are you struggling to sleep after your surgery? 
  • Are you unsure about when to stop wearing your sling after your surgery? 

For people recovering from shoulder surgery such as a rotator cuff repair or a total shoulder replacement, common concerns include regaining movement in your arm, effectively managing pain and discomfort, and determining when you can safely return to your regular activities and hobbies. As with any type of surgery, recovery varies from person to person. Your specific experience will depend on factors such as the type of surgery you underwent, your overall health, and your conditioning before the procedure.

Common Symptoms During Recovery After Surgery

  • Pain and discomfort in the shoulder or arm
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Limited range of motion in your arm or shoulder
  • Neck pain
  • Stiffness in the affected limb
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Weakness in the surgical area
  • Scarring at the surgical site
  • Changes in sensation or temperature in the limb

It’s important to understand that the symptoms you’re experiencing are usually temporary. With consistent postoperative care, physiotherapy and exercise, your symptoms should gradually improve over the course of your recovery.

Whilst most discomfort is a natural part of recovery; certain signs warrant immediate medical attention. If you notice persistent redness, increased swelling, excessive pain, fever, or any other unusual symptoms, seek medical attention.

How can we Help?

Early in your recovery, you will likely need to follow some movement restrictions – as determined by your surgeon – to prevent damage to your healing soft tissue. You will likely need to use your sling provided to you after your surgery for a short period of time. Your physiotherapist will help to guide your recovery in the early weeks, providing advice on what movement is safe, and what to avoid, and will safely progress your exercise program. They will continue to liaise with your surgeon, and in the rare case that it may be needed, they will urgently escalate any serious concerns to your specialist.

Up to six weeks after surgery, as your tissues heal, you’ll gradually feel more comfortable and will be able to start gently returning to some of your usual daily activities. In this phase, your physiotherapist will progress your exercises and provide comprehensive advice on how to safely start returning to your normal activities.

Up to 6 months after surgery, and beyond, your shoulder will increasingly be able to cope with the general demands of your life – your work, sport and hobbies. During this phase, hands-on physiotherapy to address persistent soft tissue problems, is now safe, and may be beneficial. You’ll also be able to increase the amount and vigour of the exercises you’re doing. Your physiotherapist will prescribe and progress exercises specific to your unique needs and goals – whether you want to return to high level sport or to pottering in the garden.

Each person recovers at a different pace across these different phases. Given this, it is helpful to know that you can turn to your physiotherapist for advice at each stage of your recovery. Your physiotherapist will also provide advice on preventing future problems by helping you to gain an understanding of how your shoulder works, and what movements are safe and encouraged.

You may be pleased to learn that, by following a targeted exercise program to gradually build strength and muscle control, and learning healthy movement patterns, you’ll be able to return to a life of activity that’s normal for you, in the months and years after your surgery. Return to some very physical jobs, sports, hobbies or heavy lifting, will require specific assessment and consultation with your physiotherapist and surgeon.

Our Connected Care Approach

With our unique ‘Connected Care’ approach, our team will expertly help you to prepare for your surgery, provide you with physiotherapy during your hospital stay and while you heal and return to normal activity after surgery. You can connect with your physio in hospital, in our clinics and during our online video consultations.

What Should I Expect From my Appointment?

  • Detailed Interview: This helps your physiotherapist to fully understand your symptoms, medical and surgical history and your specific goals.
  • Physical Assessment: We undertake a thorough assessment of your movement, strength, balance, exercise tolerance and overall function, before and after surgery.
  • Targeted Treatments: This includes manual therapy and comprehensive advice and education.
  • Progressive Exercise Program: Safe, graded exercise will assist your recovery after surgery, and also your general fitness, health and well-being.
  • Communication and Collaboration: With your Orthopaedic Surgeon and General Practitioner to keep them informed of your progress and to support your care.

Where can I see my Physiotherapist?

On this page

In Clinic

Online Video Appointments

Web & Mobile App

Private Gymnasium