How Long Does it Take to Recover From Rotator Cuff Surgery?

High School Baseball PitcherRotator cuff surgery may be advisable for patients with an injury that impacts the rotator cuff—the group of tendons that surround the shoulder joint and help provide strength and stability. If your physician has recommended surgery as part of your rotator cuff treatment plan, you may be wondering what the recovery process will entail and how long it will last.

No online article can tell you exactly what your rotator cuff surgery recovery will involve. Specific recovery times vary depending on several factors, such as:

  • The type, extent, and exact location of the injury
  • The patient’s age, overall health, and activity levels (for example, is the patient an athlete?)
  • The type of surgery and surgical approach used (arthroscopic surgery, or traditional open surgery?)

Generally speaking, it usually takes between four and six months to fully recover from rotator cuff surgery. Most people with desk jobs can return to work in a week or two, while those with jobs that require more physical activity may need a few months to recover at home. Be sure to promptly call your physician if you notice signs of infection around the incision site, become nauseous, or if you experience significant discomfort that does not improve with pain medication.

Helpful Recovery Tips

Your physician and physical therapist are your best sources of advice while recovering from rotator cuff surgery, but there are a few basic tips you can follow to help simplify and streamline this process. Here are just a few:

  • Get extra sleep, drink plenty of water, and eat lots of vegetables and lean proteins to promote your body’s natural healing capabilities.
  • If you experience constipation after surgery (this is a common problem), try taking a fiber supplement or incorporating more fiber into your diet.
  • Intermittently place an ice pack on your shoulder to help relieve discomfort and reduce swelling.
  • Try to walk a little bit every day, unless your physician tells you otherwise.
  • Take medications and use devices such as arm slings exactly as your physician advises.
  • Sleep slightly elevated by placing a few pillows behind your back.
  • Keep your incision clean and dry.

Rotator Cuff Surgery at Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group

Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group has provided well-rounded, patient-centric musculoskeletal care to patients throughout Tampa Bay since 1949. Our team includes sports medicine physician Dr. Arnold Ramirez and orthopedic sports medicine surgeon Dr. Daniel Murphy—two highly regarded, board-certified specialists who also serve on the medical staffs of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Yankees.

If you’ve sustained a rotator cuff injury and you’re not sure where to turn, we encourage you to schedule a visit at Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group. Our friendly experts will carefully evaluate your condition, listen to your concerns, and recommend a treatment plan that will set you up for success. Contact us today! We’re here to answer any questions you may have.