We wish we could wave a magic wand and all our patients would instantly recover from their rotator cuff surgery, but it requires time and diligence before your arm and shoulder are back to themselves. At ORTHOKnox, we will be with you every step of the way, but you can enhance the quality and even speed up your recovery from rotator cuff surgery by following our top tips for recovering from rotator cuff surgery.
What happens during surgery for a rotator cuff tear?
Patients have torn their rotator cuff tear by falling, playing sports, or even over time with gradual wear. Symptoms usually include pain in the shoulder and upper arm, which can affect your sleep and interfere with daily functioning and activities. If conservative treatment with physical therapy is not an option for your rotator cuff tear, then we can treat your injury with surgery.
During rotator cuff surgery, the surgeon reattaches the tendon to the humerus (upper arm bone) with sutures. At ORTHOKnox, rotator cuff repair can be done using arthroscopic surgery. The tiny camera allows the surgeon to see and repair the wound with only a small incision. This takes about an hour and results in less bleeding and pain and an overall shorter recovery time.
Can I speed up my recovery time after rotator cuff surgery?
While it takes about 6–8 weeks for the tendon to heal to the bone and the size of your tear can affect your total recovery time (around 4–6 months), you can improve and possibly speed up your recovery. Here are our top tips for a faster recovery from rotator cuff surgery.
- Keep your shoulder immobilized following surgery. Most patients are given a sling to help them keep their shoulders stable.
- Follow your physical therapy routine. Once you are clear to start your exercises, stick to them to improve your range of motion and overall function of your arm. The more diligent you are with your exercises, the easier they become and the quicker your recovery. Don’t skimp on your home exercises!
- Organize your home. Make sure all of your necessities are within easy reach and try to prep as much as possible. Set up a meal train or make plenty of freezer meals to have on hand, and restrict yourself to light housework (we know that’s a tough one!) for a few weeks. Don’t overstrain yourself trying to get the dust out of the house!
- Get a driver. Maybe not a personal driver but ask a friend or family member to take you home from the hospital, to appointments, and to run errands during the period when you cannot drive (typically about 6–12 weeks).
- Set up your sleep space. Your recliner will be your best friend after shoulder surgery because it allows you to rest in more of an upright position. But you can always prop yourself up with pillows if you don’t have access to one or prefer your bed!
- Eat healthy foods. We should all be doing this anyway but making sure your body is getting nutrients while you are recovering is extra beneficial. Drink plenty of water, too!
- Ask your doctor or physical therapist if you have questions. If you are curious about an exercise, unsure if you should do an activity, or have general questions about your recovery, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor. At ORTHOKnox, your doctor will support you before, during, and after your surgery.
Where can I get treatment for my rotator cuff tear in Knoxville or Athens, TN?
If you have a rotator cuff tear, then you can go to the ORTHOKnox orthopedic clinics in Knoxville, Tennessee, or Athens, Tennessee, to discuss your treatment options. See our website and blog for more details on rotator cuff tear diagnosis and treatments. With its on-site physical therapists, board-certified surgeon, and Orthopedic Urgent Care that is available without an appointment, ORTHOKnox has got you covered. For more information about how ORTHOKnox can treat your rotator cuff tear, call (865) 251-3030, or fill out our easy-to-use online appointment request form. We look forward to hearing from you!