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Rotator Cuff Arthroscopy: how long before you could..?

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Old 11-30-2012, 09:37 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 87
mm78 HB User
Rotator Cuff Arthroscopy: how long before you could..?

Hi All. It will be 3 weeks tomorrow for me. I know we are all different in our recoveries, but I'm curious how long post-surgery you were able to hit some milestones. It's SUCH a slow recovery that I've found the need to track small successes and trust that the big ones will follow. So, near as you can long after your surgery were you able to do the following?

Stop your pain medication?
Brush your teeth with the injured side?
Wash your hair in the shower with both hands?
Fasten a bra yourself (normal way, behind the back)?
Drive a car?
Go back to work?
Get to 90 degrees ROM with pulleys? Get your arms over your head?
Have sex?
Lift weights?
Carry a laundry basket?
Throw a ball, hit a ball?
Sleep on your injured side?
Sleep through the night without pain?

Today's milestone for me: I'm finally able to tear the TP off the roll (which, of course, hangs on my injured side) without asking my poor fiance to pre-tear it for

Oh, I had the following done. My shoulder was fairly jacked up following a boat accident I was in a few months ago.
· (Right) shoulder arthroscopy
· Subacromial decompression
· Rotator cuff repair
· Superior labrum anterior posterior repair
· Distal clavicle resection
· Biceps tenodesis

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Old 12-02-2012, 06:35 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 167
Re: Rotator Cuff Arthroscopy: how long before you could..?

Pain medication: after one week due to side effects, but took Advil and Tylenol for PT
teeth: 2 1/2 months
hair: three months
bra: 4 1/2 months
drive: cautiously after one month, the seatbelt was the bigger issue
work: three 1/2 months, although I did basic paper and phone work after one month one-handed.
90°: 5+ months
arm over head: two 1/2 months? Sliding up a wall
sex: three months-bummer
lift weights: 1 [email protected] months at PT
laundry basket: don't remember
for me it was canoeing: eight months-no endurance
sleep:@nine months, still sleeping with that arm supported with a pillow when laying on un-injured side
sleep through night:@four months

Mine was a three-quarter tear the supraspinatus tendon, plus "reduction"? Don't remember right term.
After 11 months, with daily exercise regime continued after PT which was for three months, still can't get my hand up to my shoulder blades-I can with a pulley system. My doctor told me it takes well over a year to be able to achieve that again. Plus, being that I want to continue being physically active, I basically have to keep doing my exercise regime for the rest of my life.
I use a Bow Flex for my home exercise regime, right now I am at 20 pounds. At 11 months, my upper body strength is better than what it was before my injury. Probably because I was having irritation to the tendon from the bone spur that was removed, if that makes sense. But my endurance isn't there yet. My goal, is to be able to be an aggressive Whitewater canoeist again.

At four months, I was able to carry a a decently loaded day pack without a problem. Getting it on and off was more of a challenge.

My best words of advice : be diligent with your home exercises. Good luck with recovery!

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mm78 (12-05-2012)
Old 12-04-2012, 10:12 PM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 87
mm78 HB User
Re: Rotator Cuff Arthroscopy: how long before you could..?

Thank you so much for the reply. I know everyone is different but it's so nice to hear about other people's progress as it helps me look forward to my own milestones.

I am at four weeks exactly today. There are still so many things I can't do but it seems like every few days I get to add tiny victories to the list of what I can do, even if it's just putting on my own socks one-handed .

I wish more people would chime in...

Old 12-05-2012, 07:58 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 167
Re: Rotator Cuff Arthroscopy: how long before you could..?

Little victories! At 10 months, I was finally able to use a wine cork opener without the movement causing me distress.

Hang in there, keep a positive attitude! And be willing to sweat a bit at PT.

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arthroscopy, cuff, rotator, surgery, tenodesis

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