Dr. Christopher Pullen Orthopaedic Surgeon
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Dr.Christopher Pullen
Orthopaedic Surgeon

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Rehabilitation Following Shoulder Joint Replacement

Phase 1: Immediate postoperative period (weeks 0-4)

Keep incision clean and dry for first two weeks.

Goals:

  1. Allow soft tissue healing (protect subscapularis repair).
  2. Maintain prosthesis integrity.

Avoid:

  1. Lifting objects.
  2. Driving for 6 weeks.

Exercises:

  1. Finger, wrist, and elbow AROM (3x/day minimum).
  2. Pendular exercises.
  3. Ice for pain and inflammation.
  4. PROM:
    1. ER to neutral only.
    2. IR to chest.
    3. FF to 90°.
  5. AROM:
    1. FF as pain permits.
    2. Sling:
      • Removed for exercises only.
      • Discontinued at 6 weeks.

Phase 2: Active and Passive ROM (weeks 4-6)

Goals:

  1. Full PROM (ER to 30° only).
  2. Restore dynamic shoulder stability.

Avoid:

  1. Lifting heavy objects(no heavier than coffee cup).

Exercises:

  1. Continue PROM and AROM as above.
  2. Begin AAROM flexion, elevation, ER, IR in scapular plane.
  3. Begin Pulley exercises.
  4. ADL’s in FF with minimal lifting.
  5. Continue sling until 6 weeks.

Phase 3: Early strengthening (weeks 6-12)

Goals:

  1. Gradual return of shoulder strength.
  2. Gradual return to ADL.

Avoid:

  1. Lifting objects >3kg.

Exercises:

  1. Continue PROM
    1. ER to 30°.
  2. Continue AROM:
    1. FF as tolerated (wall walking).
    2. ER.
    3. Elevation.
  3. AAROM:
    1. IR as pain permits.
  4. Start strengthening program for scapula stabilizers and rotator cuff (exercise bands).

Phase 4: Advanced strengthening (months 3-6)

Goals:

  1. Return to hobbies/sports (gardening, tennis, golf).

Exercises:

  1. Continue stretching if motion is tight.
  2. Continue ROM exercises to full movement as tolerated.
  3. Continue strengthening scapula and rotator cuff muscles.

Complete recovery may take 12 months.

Dr.Christopher Pullen Orthopaedic Surgeon Shoulder Elbow Trauma Blackburn South VIC
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