Two exercises used in physical therapy after rotator cuff surgery

Physical Therapy After Rotator Cuff Surgery

You fell down and caught yourself on an outstretched hand. You do repetitive overhead movements at work, like painting. There is a history of rotator cuff injuries in your family. All these factors could be the reason why you developed a rotator cuff tear that required surgery. 

Rotator cuff surgery is one of the most common types of surgery. In fact, it’s estimated that surgeons will be performing more than 570,000 of these procedures annually by 2023. A major part of your rehabilitation after rotator cuff surgery will be accomplished with physical therapy. In particular, there are many exercises that your physical therapists may have you do after rotator cuff surgery. Here are two commonly used therapeutic exercises: 

  1. Pendulum exercise

Initially, your physical therapy after rotator cuff surgery will involve doing exercises that don’t actively engage your rotator cuff muscles. These are known as passive exercises. Such exercises are helpful for stretching your shoulder and gently increasing your range of motion (ROM). An example of a passive exercise your physical therapist may suggest is the pendulum exercise. 

How to do the pendulum exercise

  • Place your unaffected hand on the back of a chair or on a counter. Bend forward slightly and allow your arm to hang straight down. 
  • Move your hips and legs in gentle backward and forward or circular motions. 
  • Allow your arm to swing freely as you move your hips and legs. 
  • Try to do this exercise for three to five minutes and repeat it up to seven times per day. 
  1. Side wall climbing exercise

After you’ve been recovering for a few weeks, another step in your physical therapy after rotator cuff surgery will be to begin doing active exercises. These are exercises where you’re actively moving your muscles. One active exercise your physical therapist may recommend is the side wall climbing exercise.

How to do the side wall climbing exercise

  • Stand with your recovering shoulder toward a wall. You should be far enough away from the wall so that your fingers can just touch it. 
  • Place your fingers on the wall so that your arm is slightly in front of your body. They should be slightly lower than shoulder height. 
  • Slowly walk your fingers up the wall as far as you can.
  • Hold that position for 15 to 20 seconds. 
  • Slowly walk your fingers back down the wall to the starting point. 
  • Repeat the exercise until you’ve done it three to five times. 

Find top-notch physical therapy after rotator cuff surgery at Border Therapy Services

Not sure where to find effective physical therapy after rotator cuff surgery? You’ll find what you’re looking for at Border Therapy Services. Our team offers free screenings that can help us determine what treatments can be effective for you. We can then combine these techniques into a post-surgical rehab plan that’s personalized to you. Some of the techniques we often include in post-rotator cuff surgery recovery plans include: 

Contact us today for more information about how we can help you rehab after rotator cuff surgery or to schedule an initial appointment.