In the first week, you’ll be doing simple exercises to reduce pain and allow passive external rotation up to an angle of 30 degrees. This will include flexing and extending your elbow and strengthening your wrist and forearm. You may also need to do some cervical stretches, scapular squeezes and lower trap squeezes. In addition, you’ll need to come out of the sling to perform 10-15 elbow bends to reduce any possible swelling.
As you enter week two, your exercises will start to include isometric exercises. The goal here will be to start active range of motion exercises. You’ll also start strength training exercises with a theraband. This phase will last until week four.
By week four, you should be out of your sling and ready for slightly more strenuous exercises. You’ll be starting weight bearing exercises as well as continuing with your theraband. At the fifth or sixth week, your shoulder will have healed to the point of full use without the risk of serious injury. By now, your strength training will include the use of more traditional elastic bands. You may also start throwing a ball against the wall to improve your rotator cuff.
By week eight, your doctor will put you on a therapy program that’s specifically designed to meet your needs. This is especially true if you want to return to certain types of sports. By week 12, you can also start lifting outside of therapy, but this will be limited to light objects at first. This will last until you reach the fourth month after your surgery. At that point, most patients will be considered fully recovered and can do things such as push-ups.
You should keep in mind that the key to recovery is patience. If you try to do too much too quickly, then you’ll end up back where you started. You should also do the home therapy that your doctor recommends. This will consist of simple things like crumpling up a newspaper in your hand or some simple flexing of your shoulder.