After you go home, watch the surgery site and your general health. If you notice any redness or drainage from the wound, tell your surgeon. You may also be advised to take your temperature twice each day and to let your surgeon know if you have a fever over 100.5°F (38.1°C).
You will have an exercise program to follow when you go home, even if you are still having physical therapy. You should use the pulley to move your arm 4 to 5 times each day. If you notice any soreness, try a cold pack on your shoulder and perhaps decrease your activity a bit, but don't stop completely. Staying on your exercise program will help speed your recovery.
Rehab typically continues after you leave the hospital until you are able to function more independently and you have recovered as much strength, endurance and mobility in your shoulder as you can. Total rehab after surgery will take several months.
An example of a typical rehab schedule is:
- 6 weeks of very limited activity. No movement of the shoulder using the shoulder muscles is permitted. You will use the pulley to help lift your arm and keep your shoulder flexible. Your physical therapist may also show a family member how to do some other exercises for you, such as rotating your arm to the outside and elevating your shoulder. You will have a sling to wear at night. And it's a good idea to also put a small stack of folded sheets or towels under your upper arm while you are in bed to keep your arm from dropping too far back. Your arm should stay next to your body or in front of it for several weeks, both while you are up and during sleep. Don't lift anything heavier than a cup of coffee during this time.
- Exercises and stretching, starting 6 weeks after surgery. This stage usually lasts until 3 months after surgery and includes active use of the shoulder muscles to do exercises. The therapist will also begin more vigorous stretching of the soft tissues around the shoulder.
- More intensive strength training starting 3 months after surgery.
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