Exercises For After Your Shoulder Replacement

Although less common than hip replacements, approximately 65,000 people in the US have total or partial shoulder replacement surgery each year. Once the surgery has been performed, next comes the work of healing and the return to normal activities. You and your physical therapist are in charge of this part of your recovery, but here are some common exercises for after your shoulder replacement.

Why You Need Physical Therapy After A Shoulder Replacement

After spending a few weeks in a sling and some healing has begun, your physician will release you for physical therapy.

The goal of physical therapy after a shoulder replacement is to aid in your recovery by decreasing the pain, improving your range of motion, and building your upper extremity strength.

Physiotherapist doing shoulder exercises with an elderly male patient to increase his mobility and restore functionality

The exercises will focus on gentle range of motion in the beginning to more active strengthening later on, and lastly more functional exercises to help you get back to your normal everyday activities.

If any exercise causes pain, STOP and contact Dr. Samuel Koo.

Exercises After Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery

The Gentle Pendulum

Remove your sling before performing this exercise and bend forward at the waist. Support yourself by placing the hand from your good arm and shoulder on a flat surface. Let the arm of your operated side hand down and slowly rock your body and make your shoulder move in small circles. Do this 10 times in a clockwise direction, and then change direction to counter clockwise. Perform this 3 times a day for 10 repetitions.

Grip Strengthening

You can perform this exercise while wearing a sling. Use a hand towel, putty, or a rubber ball and squeeze and hold for for 10 seconds and release. Do this 30 times, 3 times a day. It works on your hand and helps prevent blood clots.

External Rotation

Bend your arm on the side of your recovering shoulder. Keep your elbow against your body and use your other hand to gently rotate your arm outward until it is in front of you. Do this 30 times 3 times a day.

Rotator Cuff Strengthening

Get a resistance band from your therapist and tie it securely to a doorknob. Use the band to provide resistance as you move your shoulder.

Keep your elbow touching your side and slowly move your forearm out, away from your belly button. Then move your elbow IN towards your belly button keeping your elbow tucked at your side. Do 10-15 of each type once a day.

Your PT can help you to practice the correct movements so you will gain functionality as soon as possible after your shoulder replacement surgery.

Contact Dr. Samuel Koo if you have any issues, pain, or questions about your physical therapy exercises.

For further questions or to schedule an appointment, please call (425) 823-4000 or request an appointment online today.