How Long Do You Need Physical Therapy For After Rotator Cuff Surgery?

How long do you need physical therapy for after rotator cuff surgery? Rotator cuff surgery is performed to repair an injured or torn rotator cuff, the group of muscles and tendons that keep the shoulder—a complex ball and socket joint—securely in place. As with most other surgical treatments, physical therapy plays a key role in facilitating recovery and ensuring the best possible outcomes after rotator cuff surgery.

If you are considering rotator cuff surgery, you might be curious about how long you may require physical therapy following the operation. The answer to this question will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • What type of surgery you are having—arthroscopic (minimally invasive) or traditional open surgery
  • The extent of your rotator cuff injury and its location within the joint
  • Whether or not your dominate arm is affected
  • Your age, overall health, and activity levels

In general, physical therapy often begins shortly after surgery, sometimes as soon as the day after, and may continue for about six weeks. Some patients attend multiple physical therapy sessions every week. The goal of physical therapy immediately after surgery usually focuses on reducing pain, then gradually shifts toward rebuilding strength and range of motion in the shoulder joint. In some cases, physical therapy visits or at-home exercises may be recommended for an additional few months. It usually takes about six months for patients to make a full recovery from rotator cuff surgery, although this can vary.

What Does Rotator Cuff Physical Therapy Involve?

Physical therapy uses strategic exercises and noninvasive techniques to restore strength and range of motion. It may be recommended as treatment for an injury, while managing a degenerative condition like arthritis, or to promote healing after an operation like rotator cuff surgery.

Again, each patient’s recovery will vary, but many physical therapy regimens include exercises to strengthen shoulder muscles and methods like hot/cold therapy and massage. Physical therapists also teach behaviors and exercises that can help patients prevent future shoulder injuries, such as the best positions for sleeping and how to properly lift heavy objects.

Our Approach to Rotator Cuff Surgery & Recovery

Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group—the longest-running orthopedic practice in the Tampa area and a division of Florida Medical Clinic—is pleased to offer a full spectrum of surgical care to patients. Our center is led by Dr. Daniel Murphy, a board-certified orthopedic sports medicine surgeon who performs rotator cuff surgery while utilizing the latest muscle-sparing and minimally-invasive techniques. Dr. Murphy collaborates with sports medicine physician Dr. Arnold Ramirez and other specially trained practitioners to carefully oversee each patient’s recovery and ensure the best possible outcomes. While away from our clinic, Dr. Murphy serves as a team physician for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Yankees.

Contact Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group today if you would like to consult with one of our professionals about your rotator cuff treatment options and if surgery may be right for you. We look forward to speaking with you!