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Caring for Your Shoulder After Rotator Cuff Tear and Shoulder Replacement Surgery

If you have recently undergone shoulder surgery or will be receiving shoulder surgery in the near future, you may be concerned about the healing process, and whether you will have to worry about further shoulder pain developing in the future.

Any thoughtful orthopedic surgeon will consider your medical history and health prior to recommending shoulder surgery. If your orthopedic surgeon suggests surgery, it is because he/she truly believes you will gain better mobility and functionality of your shoulder following treatment. Your orthopedic surgeon will recommend the proper care after surgery to regain shoulder strength and prevent future issues and complications from developing.

What Causes a Rotator Cuff Tear?

Rotator cuff tears are caused by degeneration in the tendons of the rotator cuff. This can be result of repetitive use of the rotator cuff, commonly seen in baseball pitchers, weightlifters, and others who require frequent use of their shoulder in sport or work. Shoulder injuries, like those caused by catching a heavy object or lifting an object with extended arms, can also create a rotator cuff tear.

How Is a Torn Rotator Cuff Treated?

A partial rotator cuff tear may initially be treated with oral or injectable anti-inflammatory medications to ease shoulder discomfort upon beginning physical therapy. If your shoulder does not respond to nonsurgical treatment and physical therapy, or you have a complete rotator cuff tear, you may opt for surgical treatment. Depending on the level of severity of your rotator cuff tear as well as any other underlying shoulder conditions you may have, Dr. Jacob Rozbruch can help you determine which surgical option will be best for you.

Physical Therapy After Torn Rotator Cuff Treatment

After torn rotator cuff treatment or surgery, a crucial component of your healing will be physical therapy. Physical therapists are trained to create individualized exercises that will treat any symptoms or pain you may have. Additionally, physical therapy will also help you improve shoulder mobility and range of motion.

It is important to work moving your shoulder after surgery, but also to not overextend yourself or take on too much activity too quickly. Your physical therapist will help you find the right balance for your particular case, and make sure any pain or inflammation is avoided.

When Should You Get Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medications, and cortisone injections may be utilized alongside physical therapy to restore mobility and alleviate tension in the shoulder prior to receiving surgery. If you find your pain is not alleviated by physical therapy and medication alone, shoulder replacement surgery may be your best option.

What Is Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Two techniques for shoulder replacement surgery include shoulder arthroplasty and shoulder hemiarthroplasty. During shoulder arthroplasty, the humeral head and glenoid of the shoulder are completely removed and reconstructed, reserved for those who have experienced a total degeneration of the shoulder ball and socket. Shoulder hemiarthroplasty, the much more common of the two, involves the removal and replacement of the ball of the shoulder and is used for patients who have only experienced partial degeneration.

Physical Therapy After Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Following shoulder joint replacement surgery, a passive motion machine may be used to gently move your arm and shoulder and reduce any stiffness, pain, or scar tissue formation. Physical therapy will also be utilized initially to help you comfortably perform daily tasks, and later, to help you further increase shoulder strength and coordination. Your physical therapist may also introduce exercises in order to decrease inflammation, strengthen your arms, and reduce the possibility of future injury.

With any post-operative therapy plan, it is important that you remain consistent in your prescribed exercises and that you feel comfortable discussing any issues you are having with your physical therapist or surgeon. In order to properly heal and continue to gain shoulder mobility and functionality after surgery or treatment, a sustainable physical therapy plan must be developed and modified with your needs in mind.

Dr. Jacob Rozbruch and our staff welcome any questions you may have regarding any of his orthopedic services. Contact our office at 212-744-9857, or request an appointment online today for your personal consultation!

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