Patience is a virtue! We heard this phrase frequently as we grew up. When it comes to returning to sports after shoulder surgery, patience is required.
Take It Slowly
We know you can’t wait to get back on the golf course or grab your tennis racket, but using your shoulder muscles too soon will only set your rehab back. Whether you had rotator cuff repair or a dislocation, wait until Dr. Samuel Koo tells you it is safe to play again. Even then, there will still be necessary precautions.
Listen To Your Shoulder
You will probably need to wear a sling for a time after shoulder surgery to keep it immobile. How long you must wear it depends on the type of surgery. If you have had reconstructive surgery it will take longer to heal than decompression surgery. Follow the signs your shoulder will provide, and wait until you feel no pain.
Remember The Tortoise
The tortoise took his time and eventually won the race. For some shoulder injuries it may take 4 to 6 months to recover. Others may take a full year before you can return to normal activities. Rushing your rehab can lead to re-injuring your shoulder which sets you back more months. Be a tortoise.
More Of A Good Thing
Before your injury you always took the time to warm up and cool down before beginning any activity. Performing these rituals is even more important after shoulder surgery. In fact, use more time to warm up and increase circulation. Perform range of motion exercises as per Dr. Samuel Koo. Lateral raises with light weights and arm circles should be part of any warm up.
Maintain Cardiovascular Conditioning
Don’t neglect cardiovascular work during your rehab even while you are in a sling. Talk with Dr. Samuel Koo and your physical therapist about what cardio exercises you can safely perform to maintain cardio fitness.
Have Patience Even After Being Cleared To Play
Be smart and start slowly. Don’t play 18 holes of golf on the first day back. Gradually work your way back to normal. If you feel any pain, stop playing immediately and apply ice.
Follow Common Guidelines
Returning to sports after shoulder surgery should occur only when there is no shoulder pain during rest or activity. You need normal range of motion and full strength before returning to full play, plus a little patience.
Contact shoulder doctor Samuel Koo, MD, MPH at (425) 823-4000 for an evaluation if you have suffered a shoulder injury.