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5 Tips for Recovery After a Rotator Cuff Injury

5 Tips for Recovery After a Rotator Cuff Injury

The group of muscles that controls the majority of your shoulder’s movements is called the rotator cuff. You can thank it for allowing you to reach upward and outward and lift objects. 

Rotator cuff injuries, like rotator cuff tears, are the most common causes of shoulder pain. For many people, a rotator cuff injury means weeks or months of recovery involving rehabilitation and physical therapy for your shoulder, which varies based on your age, the severity of the injury, and other factors involved with healing. 

Orthopaedic Surgical Consultants serves the Northwest Indiana area, including Munster, Crown Point, St. John, and Dyer, Indiana. At our conveniently located office in Merrillville, Indiana, orthopedic surgeons John Pomponi, DO, FAAOS, FAAHKS, and Jonathan Javors, DO, DLaws, MBA, FAOAO, FACOS, FAAHKS, often perform rotator cuff surgery but can also treat and rehabilitate many rotator cuff injuries without surgery. Our physical therapists focus on restoring your shoulder’s mobility, strength, and endurance as you heal. 

Our specialists at Orthopaedic Surgical Consultants make sure you’re aware of the best practices for a speedy and effective recovery after a rotator cuff injury. They include:

1. Use ice to manage early pain

As the pain of a rotator cuff injury sets in, you may be in search of a way to ease some of the discomfort. You can use an ice pack to help reduce inflammation and the intensity of the pain. However, be sure to follow the recommended guidelines. You may apply ice to your painful shoulder for 15-20 minutes at a time every 4-6 hours. 

2. Be mindful of your posture

While you might initially be unaware of the link between poor posture and rotator cuff injuries, it makes sense when you consider how poor posture affects your entire upper body. As you recover from a rotator cuff injury, improper posture can inhibit your healing. 

If you work sitting hunched over a computer, constantly look down at your phone, or stay in one position for hours, remind yourself to check and adjust your posture as needed. It also helps to stretch your upper body every so often to release muscle tension in your upper back and shoulders. 

3. Complete your recommended physical therapy exercises

Making a full recovery and returning to your normal activities after a rotator cuff injury requires physical therapy using specific and controlled movements, stretches, and exercises. Our physical therapists teach you exercises to practice at home that strengthen your shoulder and restore your full range of motion.

One of the best ways to guarantee a return to your daily activities or return to your sport of choice if you’re an athlete is to follow your detailed rehabilitation program, including the parts you have to practice outside of the Orthopaedic Surgical Consultants office. 

4. Limit heavy lifting and overhead reaching

Movements like these may be painful or impossible initially, but even as your rotator cuff injury improves, be mindful of your movements. Actions like reaching up high or picking up a heavy object could compromise healing or make your injury worse, so you should take advice from your physical therapist on when it’s safe to use your shoulder for these activities. 

5. Have someone with you when you exercise

The exercises you take home from your physical therapist involve specific motions that your physical therapist demonstrates. While they can observe you as you perform your stretches and movements in the office at Orthopaedic Surgical Consultants, that isn’t possible when you’re at home.

An informed friend or family member can keep a watchful eye on your form and make sure you’re performing the exercises correctly and in a way that promotes shoulder recovery. They can also give you a helping hand if you need extra assistance. 

Recovery after a rotator cuff injury is different for everyone, with some people needing surgical repairs and others making a complete recovery without an operation. Schedule your rotator cuff treatment consultation at Orthopaedic Surgical Consultants with a phone call or our convenient online booking feature today.

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