Shoulder and Elbow Surgeon


General Principles of Post-operative Shoulder Rehabilitation
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These guidelines form a staged rehabilitation programme. They are general guidelines. Please refer to any specific guidance or instructions in the post-operative notes and seek clarification if there are any concerns.

General principles of Shoulder Rehabilitation:

  • Cervical spine, elbow, wrist and hand activity should be maintained throughout rehabilitation.

  • Pain control is vital – remember pain inhibits rotator cuff and scapula control.

  • Rehabilitation should be tailored to the individual patients’ ability to regain movement and control at the shoulder complex.

  • Do not sacrifice quality of movement for range of movement.

  • Start early proprioceptive rehabilitation with all surgical patients.

  • Throughout the stages ensure optimal postural control, core control and kinetic chain function.

  • Consider functional re-education – use of hand and patient specific function (hobbies, activities & sports specific).

  • Progression should follow basic principles of rehabilitation, passive, active assisted, active, isometric and resistance training.

  • Always consider starting from a variety of positions, short lever and Closed Kinetic Chain (CKC) exercises.

  • Functional Milestones, these are minimum guidelines, be guided by the operation notes and the patient’s function; if in doubt liaise with Mr. Packham.

  • Consider using the principles of Anterior Deltoid Rehabilitation with patients with underlying/ longstanding rotator cuff dysfunction.


  • The law states that the patient should be in complete control of the vehicle. It is their responsibility to ensure this and to inform their insurance company about their surgery.
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