Is return to sports and exercise likely after rotator cuff surgery?

Even though the surgery to repair a rotator cuff tear is an outpatient procedure, it takes a patient a long time to recover fully from it. In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I discuss the process of recovery from rotator cuff surgery and how likely it is you can return to your sport or favorite exercise after rotator cuff surgery.

Jose asks:
Considering the long-term recovery after rotator cuff surgery, is it possible to have a normal life, including sports and gym and other strength activities? I’m 53.

A rotator cuff tear is a common cause of shoulder pain in older adults, especially those who do frequent overhead activities. The tear can cause pain in the shoulder and upper arm and weakness with activities overhead and out away from the body. Orthopedic surgeons often perform arthroscopic surgery to repair a rotator cuff tear to allow you to get back to what you love to do.

Rotator cuff surgery to repair a rotator cuff tear

Initially after the surgery, you keep your arm in a sling for anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks. You work with a physical therapist to slowly and safely regain shoulder motion and strength. Over time, you start activities above the level of your shoulder. Then you slowly work back into the sport or exercise you normally do.

In this video, I explain the recovery process for rotator cuff surgery and what you can expect as you return to sports like tennis or exercise like weights after a rotator cuff tear.

Also read:
Rotator cuff tears: Signs and symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of these shoulder injuries
Shoulder surgery: Tips for the day of and the day after surgery

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