After surgery, the arm on the side of your surgery will be in a sling or an immobilizer. Wear the device at all times, unless your doctor tells you do not have to.
- It is okay to straighten your arm below your elbow and move your wrist and hand. But try to move your arm as little as possible.
- Your arm should bend at a 90° angle (a right angle) at your elbow. The sling should support your wrist and hand so that they do not extend past the sling.
- Move your fingers, hand, and wrist around 3 - 4 times during the day while they are in the sling. Each time, do this 10 - 15 times.
- Begin taking your arm out of the sling and let it hang loosely by your side when your doctor tells you it is okay. Do this for longer periods at a time each day.
If you wear a shoulder immobilizer, you can loosen it only at the wrist strap and straighten your arm at your elbow. Be careful not to move your shoulder when you do this. Do not completely take off the immobilizer unless your doctor tells you it is okay.
If you had rotator cuff surgery, or other ligament or labral surgery, you need to be careful with your shoulder. Ask your doctor what arm movements are safe to do.
- Do not move your arm away from your body or over your head.
- When you sleep, raise your upper body up on pillows. Do not lie flat. You can also try sleeping on a reclining chair.
- Do not use your arm or hand on the side that had surgery:
- Do not lift anything with this arm or hand.
- Do not lean on the arm or put any weight on it.
- Do not bring objects toward your stomach by pulling in with this arm and hand.
- Do not move or twist your elbow behind your body to reach for anything.
Your surgeon will refer you to a physical therapist to learn exercises for your shoulder.
- You'll probably start with passive exercises. These are exercises the therapist will do with your arm. They help get the full movement back in your shoulder.
- After that you will do exercises the therapist teaches you. These will help increase the strength in your shoulder and the muscles around your shoulder.
Consider making some changes around your home so it is easier for you to take care of yourself. Store everyday items you use in places you can reach easily. Keep things with you that you use a lot (such as your phone).