My name is Lilith Maclin and if you suffer from a digestive disorder, you can find a wealth of information about this type of medical condition in my blog. Three years ago, my husband was having severe stomach cramps and his doctor told him that he had a digestive disorder called ulcerative colitis. After my husband was diagnosed, I did thorough research to learn how to control and manage this disorder. We kept track of everything that my husband ate and when a certain food caused a flare-up of his condition, he eliminated that food from his diet. By learning all we could about this digestive disorder, my husband has been able to live pain free. If you want more information about this disorder and how to manage it, you can find it here by reading my blog.
A sudden blow to your shoulder or overdoing it with physical activity can tear the tendons that support your shoulder joint. Rotator cuff injuries are common in sports and when the shoulder is under a lot of stress. It can takes months to heal a shoulder injury that took seconds to occur. Here is what you can expect from rotator cuff repair and the long recovery afterwards.
Slow Healing Tissues Mean a Long Recovery
Tendons attach the muscles to your shoulder and surround the shoulder joint. A tear in these tendons weakens the joint and can even cause a dislocation. These tendons have little blood supply in them compared to other tissues in the body. An orthopedics surgeon will sew the tendons back together, but it takes weeks for the tissue to heal and create a permanent bond. During this time, you're at risk of re-injuring the shoulder, perhaps requiring additional surgery.
Recovering After the Surgery
You'll go home with your arm in a sling that holds your shoulder close to your body. This puts less stress on the tissues in your shoulder while they heal. You'll be able to use your hand on the affected side but you'll have limited use of your elbow and shoulder.
It will take a few weeks for the rotator cuff to heal enough to start moving your shoulder. When you're ready, your orthopedic doctor will have you move into the next phase of recovery - physical therapy.
Physical Therapy and Shoulder Flexibility
Since your shoulder was in a sling for weeks, the muscles will have atrophied and started to contract. The first step in your physical therapy is to get the shoulder flexibility back so you can move it naturally.
Your physical therapist will start by slowly moving your shoulder through its natural range of motion. This stretches the muscles back out to their normal lengths. It also gets rid of the stiffness you'll initially have in your shoulder. The key to this step's success is slow and gentle movements as your shoulder gets accustomed to moving again.
You'll also need to be careful of not overdoing it in this step. The tendons are still healing and you still risk injury by pushing your shoulder beyond the point where it is ready to go. You'll work on your shoulder flexibility for several weeks. You'll also be able to go without your sling for short periods.
After several weeks of flexibility exercises, you'll be able to go without your sling for longer periods. Your shoulder muscles and tendons will now be up for physical therapy to build up their strength. The therapist will start you on exercises and machines to gradually increase muscle mass. Muscle strength is needed to support your shoulder and prevent future injuries.
This step will also take several weeks and you'll be able to start using your shoulder and arm to do daily activities. Be aware that until the muscles have become stronger, you are still at risk of overdoing it and injuring the shoulder tissues. Continue to watch what you do with that shoulder and never do anything with it that gets to a point of pain.
Athletes Require Even Longer Physical Therapy
If you plan to be active in sports again, the strength training phase will take longer. Your doctor wants to make sure that your shoulder muscles are strong enough to withstand the stress and forces of playing a sport.
The key to your successful shoulder recovery is being patient and doing the exercises exactly as shown by your physical therapist. Never push your shoulder beyond its limits and you'll be safe from re-injuring your shoulder, causing a setback in your recovery. If you're looking for an orthopedist, visit Northern Care Inc Prosthetics & Orthotics.