Shoulder and Elbow Surgeon


Standard Rotator Cuff Rehabilitation Protocol
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The aims of rehabilitation are to protect the repair in the early stages and to maximally optimise function in the long-term.

General Points:
Do not push through pain – remember pain inhibits rotator cuff control.
Do not sacrifice quality of movement for range of movement.
Remember the patho-physiology of the repaired tendon is often degenerative and needs to be considered when progressing rehabilitation.

The patient is to wear a sling for 6 weeks. It can be removed to perform exercises as instructed by the physiotherapist.

Post Operative Instructions:

0-6 weeks:
Sling to be worn.
Hand, Wrist and Elbow exercises.
Pendular exercises.

Encourage optimal Scapulo-Thoracic position.
Active assisted External Rotation to 30
Active assisted elevation as comfort allows.

From 6 weeks:
Wean out of sling – light activities only.
Gradually increase External Rotation.
As External Rotation increases gradually increase Elevation Range of movement.
Active assisted exercises progressing to active exercises – utilising short lever, supine & closed kinetic chain if appropriate.

No long lever open chain exercises until 12 weeks

12 weeks onwards:

Isometric exercises in variable starting positions progressing to
Resisted movements through range and strengthening

Functional Milestones and Activity Time Scales:

See general principles of rehabilitation.
Swimming 12 weeks plus.
Golf 12 weeks plus.

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