Shoulder Surgery

Rotator Cuff Surgery Recovery

General Considerations

You can successfully recover from rotator cuff surgery. However, it does take a lot of your time and effort. At ProOrtho, we believe that the surgery and the surgeon is only part of the puzzle in achieving a successful outcome. You, the patient, and the physical therapist can, and should, make a huge impact on your eventual recovery. That is why we have developed a comprehensive team to help you achieve your goals.

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Shoulder Facts

The best available data on healing after a rotator cuff injury suggests it takes 12 weeks for strong connections to form between the tendon and bone. Based on this data, we do not allow significant strengthening of the shoulder until that time.

How long will I be in a sling?

You will be in a sling for 4-6 weeks. During the early stages of healing, the sling will protect your shoulder while it has a chance to heal and get stronger.

woman with arm in sling with rotator cuff injury

When do I start physical therapy?

We would like our patients to begin seeing a therapist prior to surgery. This has several advantages. One, improved range of motion and strength before surgery will only make your recovery after surgery easier and more effective. Second, this allows you to schedule your appointments with your therapist well before the surgery. We work with some of the most outstanding therapists in the Greater Seattle area. Many are often booked out for weeks and may be hard to get an appointment on short notice. Lastly, the physical therapist will know where you began prior to surgery and thus be better prepared to help you get to where you want to go after surgery.

When can I return back to sports/activities?

This depends on multiple factors. In general, plan on being away from strenuous activities for at least 3-4 months. If you golf or play tennis, you may be out for 6 months. Golf and tennis require rapid acceleration of the arm through space and thus are more prone to re-injury. Our philosophy is to return you back to sports/activities and keep you there. It is much better to wait an extra month or two for a more stable shoulder rather than suffer a recurrent tear of the repair, which can set you back for much longer.

If you have any additional questions about rotator cuff surgery recovery, contact Dr. Samuel Koo at (425) 823-4000.