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 Range of movement within safe zone* No combined abduction/external rotation, no end range ER, no lifting

Acute phase (0-4 weeks)

Goals

  • Protect the surgical repair
  • Reduce pain
  • Promote cuff and scapular control

Rehabilitation

  • *Safe zone: aim for passive range of movement to 120° elevation, 45° abduction, 30° external rotation by end of second week
  • Active assisted/supported range from 2 weeks
  • No eccentric or concentric loading of biceps
  • No forced movements, no combined abduction/external rotation
  • Closed kinetic chain/proprioception exercises
  • Cuff exercises within this range of movement zone
  • Scapular setting exercises
  • Elbow, wrist, hand exercises

Criteria for progression

  • Pain control
  • Adequate range of movement

Intermediate phase (4-8 weeks)

Goals

  • Preserve surgical repair
  • Restoration of functional range of movement
  • Cuff recruitment and scapula control through range
  • Enhance proprioception

Rehabilitation

  • No passive stretching into end range external rotation
  • No eccentric biceps loading
  • No heavy lifting/concentric overload biceps
  • Encourage active movement with good cuff and scapular control  
  • Progress cuff & scapular recruitment through range
  • Progress kinetic chain integration
  • Proprioceptive re-education incorporating closed chain exercises
  • Hydrotherapy permitted

Criteria for progression

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

Late phase (>8 weeks)

Goals

  • Restore full range of movement
  • Optimise cuff and scapular control under load
  • Enhance shoulder power, strength and endurance
  • Ensure cuff and scapula control maintained during biceps loading

Rehabilitation

  • Regain optimal range of movement into combined positions
  • Ensure posterior capsule mobility
  • Specific biceps strengthening/control work ensuring maintenance of scapula control and humeral head position
  • Strengthening and endurance exercises for cuff and scapular musculature
  • Preparatory and reactive stabilisation drills in risk positions

Guidelines for return to functional activities

Driving

Lifting

Swimming

Golf

6-8 weeks Light lifting 4 weeks. Avoid heavy for 3 months Breaststroke 6 weeks, freestyle 12 weeks 3 months

Download Information Sheet (PDF)

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