If you’ve had a total shoulder replacement, there are some positions your surgeon may recommend you avoid during your recovery to protect your shoulder as it heals. It is important to follow these precautions and any other instructions your health care team gives you to allow your shoulder to heal properly.
1. Make sure to wear your sling as directed by your healthcare provider. Generally, it’s a good idea to keep your sling on at all times, except during self-care or when performing your home exercises.
2. Do not lift or carry anything with your operated arm that weighs more than one pound. This is about the weight of a coffee cup. Eating, drinking, and using a remote control is okay.
3. Do not bear weight through your operated arm, such as when pushing up from a chair.
4. Do not actively use your surgical shoulder.
5. At first, you may find it more comfortable to sleep in a recliner. However, you may also sleep in a bed with a folded towel or sheet propped up behind your shoulder and upper arm for support.
6. Do not let your forearm or hand move out to the side. Gentle use of your elbow, wrist, and hand on your operated arm is okay as long as your arm is at your side, and you keep your elbow in front of you.
Your precautions may be different depending on your surgeon or rehab facility. Be sure to follow the instructions your health care team gives you.
If you have any questions about which positions and movements to avoid, contact us or stop by our Evanston, ILAfter Shoulder Surgery, you may experience pain and difficulty moving your shoulder. Our Therapists at Skillz Physical Therapy at Evanston, IL, or Northbrook, IL, will teach you how to reduce the pain in your shoulder and help you heal.
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint made up of the upper arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula). A part of the shoulder blade called the acromion makes up the top of the shoulder above the upper arm bone. Between the acromion and the upper arm bone are the four rotator cuff muscles: the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. The rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder help lift and rotate the arm. They also work together to hold the upper arm bone in place within the shoulder joint.
Because the shoulder is the most flexible joint in the body, it is at risk for instability and injury. The shoulder can be injured by a forceful trauma, such as falling on an outstretched arm. Repeated overhead activities, such as reaching, throwing, and lifting, are also common causes of a shoulder injury.