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How Long Is Physical Therapy After Rotator Cuff Surgery?

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The rotator cuff muscles stabilize and control your shoulder joint, allowing you to move your arm, swing a baseball bat, sleep comfortably, swim, reach items on tall shelves, or do anything else you enjoy daily. Unfortunately, rotator cuff injuries are quite common and often require surgery that takes time and physical therapy to heal. So, how long is physical therapy after rotator cuff surgery?

At Exchange Physical Therapy Group, Jersey City’s post-surgical physical therapy team, we provide specialty, hands-on rehab using the latest techniques to help you restore your quality of life. Below, we discuss what you can expect from physical therapy following rotator cuff surgery. 

Physical Therapy Recovery Timelines After Rotator Cuff Surgery

To determine how long it takes to recover after rotator cuff surgery, you must understand the different types of operations and how physical therapy aids in the healing process. 

Different Types of Rotator Cuff Surgeries

Rotator cuff surgery repairs a torn tendon in the shoulder joint. Depending on the severity of your injury and other factors, your surgeon may choose to perform the procedure through multiple small incisions, an open repair, or a mini-open repair:

·      Arthroscopy (multiple small incisions): Arthroscopic procedures are the least invasive and can offer the fastest healing periods. 

·      Open repair: In an open repair, the surgeon must create a large incision to move the deltoid muscle away from the shoulder joint to perform the repair. This aggressive process often requires the longest healing times. 

·      Mini-open repair: Mini-open repairs use an arthroscope inside a smaller incision to remove or repair tissue or bone spurs during the procedure. 

How Physical Therapy Helps the Healing Process

As you heal from surgery, your muscles lose strength and your joint loses its range of motion. Physical therapists can help you achieve the following during your healing process:

· Increased circulation and range of motion

· Improved strength and arm control

· Reduced muscle contractions

· Reduced swelling, discomfort, stiffness, and pain

· Reduced damage and scarring following surgery

Most importantly, physical therapists work with you individually to help achieve your functional goals through a personalized treatment plan. Treatments involve teaching you to strengthen muscles with at-home exercises, reduce risks and re-injury concerns, and correctly use the joint. Whether you want to get back onto the baseball field, return to work, or simply feel comfortable in everyday life, your provider will employ the latest techniques to get you there as effectively as possible. 

Recovery Timeline After Rotator Cuff Surgery

So, how long is physical therapy after rotator cuff surgery? Full recovery typically takes around six months, though you usually won’t require physical therapy for this entire duration. 

Physical therapy after rotator cuff surgery typically takes around four to twelve weeks, depending on the complexity of your surgery, how well you’re healing, and what sort of activity level you wish to get back to. 

Stages of Physical Therapy Recovery

Physical therapists guide you through four phases of recovery following rotator cuff surgery that help them understand how long your healing process will take:

·      Passive range of motion: Your arm is still in a sling for around six weeks post-op. During this period, your physical therapist can rotate the joint manually to improve motion ranges. 

·      Active motion without resistance: You can move your arm independently without added weight or resistance (i.e., no lifting or pulling). 

·      Using resistance to strengthen muscles: Now, you can add strength training to your healing regimen to rebuild atrophied muscles. 

·      Return to full activity: You have regained full strength and range of motion without pain or swelling. 

Begin Your Journey to Full Recovery Today

So, how long is physical therapy after rotator cuff surgery? Physical therapy after surgery can take anywhere from four weeks to six months, depending on your condition. Begin your healing journey by scheduling an appointment with Exchange Physical Therapy Group in Jersey City, NJ. Call our office at (201) 721-6130 to learn more.