Arthroscopic Anterior Stabilisation

Sling When will I go home? What can I do? What can’t I do?
4 weeks You will be discharged on the same day as the operation Passive range of movement in safe zone* No abduction /external rotation. No forced movements. No lifting

If combined anterior and posterior stabilisation, please use posterior stabilisation rehabilitation protocol.

Acute phase (0-4 weeks)


  • Protect surgical repair
  • Reduce pain
  • Commence controlled shoulder range of movement
  • Promote improved proprioceptive acuity


  • *Safe zone: aim for passive range of movement to 90° elevation, 45° abduction, 0° external rotation by end of second week
  • Active assisted/supported range from 2 weeks
  • No forced movements, no combined abduction/external rotation
  • Closed kinetic chain/proprioception exercises (ie. with ball)
  • Cuff exercises within this range of movement zone
  • Scapular setting exercises
  • Elbow, wrist, hand exercises

Criteria for progression

  • Controlled pain
  • Adequate range of movement (need adequate rotational range of movement before introducing active through range cuff facilitation work above 90°)
  • Compliance with exercises

Intermediate phase (4-8 weeks)


  • Discard sling
  • Restore functional range of movement
  • Re-educate cuff recruitment and scapular control through range
  • Enhance proprioception
  • Preserve surgical repair integrity


  • No passive stretching into combined abduction/external rotation
  • Encourage active movement with good control and without apprehension
  • Engage cuff & scapular stabilisation
  • Progress cuff & scapular recruitment through range
  • Progress kinetic chain integration
  • Closed kinetic change work
  • Hydrotherapy permitted

Criteria for progression

  • Painfree functional range of movement
  • Good cuff and scapular control through functional range

Late phase (>8 weeks)


  • Restore full range of movement
  • Optimise preparatory and reactive stabilisation
  • Optimise cuff and scapular control under load
  • Enhance shoulder power, strength and endurance


  • Regain optimal range of movement into combined positions
  • Enhance neuromuscular control through range and incorporated with kinetic chain
  • Ensure high level strengthening and endurance exercises for cuff/scapular musculature through range, particularly risk positions
  • Preparatory and reactive stabilisation drills in risk positions

Guidelines for return to functional activities

Driving Lifting Swimming Golf
6-8 weeks Light lifting after 4 weeks. Avoid heavy for 3 months Breaststroke 6 weeks, freestyle 12 weeks 3-6 months



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