If you had a rotator cuff repair, labral repair or a Bankart repair the total time to healing is generally 12 weeks.The tendons and ligaments that we reconnect to the bone send small little fingers (Sharpey's fibers) that grow into the bone.These take at least 12 weeks to fully reconnect.Healing time will be longer in diabetics and smokers.If you had a subacromial decompression, calcium excision or biceps tenodesis the rehabilitation time is generally four to six weeks.
When can I start lifting?When can I start overhead activities?
To find exact restrictions you can go to our website, www.SMOGshoulder.com , to see the timeline when you may perform certain activities.It takes 12 weeks for tendons and ligaments to heal to bone via Sharpey’s fibers.If you start lifting (lifting your elbow away from your side) prior to being allowed you will disrupt these fibers and keep them from hooking up. Eventually your repair will fail.
When do I start physical therapy?
If you had a rotator cuff repair, labral repair or Bankart repair we will see you one month after surgery to assess your healing.Generally physical therapy begins four to six weeks after surgery.In actual practice, your therapy begins almost immediately as we start you performing arm circles (Codman's exercises) and passive pulley exercises.If you had a subacromial decompression, calcium excision or biceps tenodesis physical therapy generally starts the first week.
How long do I have to wear the KnappSak II?
If you had a rotator cuff repair, labral repair or Bankart repair you have to wear it full time (other than when showering) for one week and at night for four weeks.The KnappSak II is designed to hold your arm away from your body to allow airflow to get to your axilla (arm pit).It additionally keeps the shoulder in a more natural position then a regular sling.It is also designed to easily let you move your elbow up and down and pump your hand to keep fluid from building up in your arm.
Can I sleep on my shoulder?
Most people are unable to sleep on their shoulder for several weeks after surgery.This is because laying flat pulls on the shoulder and causes pain. Most people sleep either in an easy chair or in bed with a bunch of pillows propped up behind them.
When can I start running, biking, climbing stairs, etc.?
If you had a rotator cuff repair, labral repair or Bankart repair you should not do any running, biking or climbing activities for 12 weeks.The pressure on the shoulder will impede healing and ultimately may cause your repair to fail.After 7 to 10 days you may ride a stationary bike.We prefer the recumbent bicycle as it puts no pressure on your shoulder.If you had a subacromial decompression, calcium excision or biceps tenodesis you may start exercising after 7 to 10 days.You should ice your shoulder after exercising and if too sore switch to a recumbent bicycle.
What are some of the things I should / should not be doing after surgery?
You should take all your medications as prescribed.You should keep all postoperative appointments.You should give yourself a chance to heal by giving your body a rest from your normal activities and work.You should watch your feet carefully so as not to trip and fall.
You should not be trying to lift your arm to see if it hurts.You should not walk your dog.You should not go into a bathtub or a hot tub for at least 10 days from surgery.
How do I recognize an infection?
The signs of infection are abnormal redness, swelling, increased temperature, discharge from the wound and fever.You are given antibiotics in your IV before we start surgery and you take oral antibiotics for several days afterwards.The chance of infection after arthroscopic surgery is exceedingly rare. A small amount of drainage from your surgical portals is very common for the first several days.Drainage that starts after this, is not normal.You should contact the office for an evaluation.
Is the pain I feel considered normal?
Pain is extremely subjective.Pain runs the gambit from some people experiencing absolutely no pain and never taking any pain medicine to people saying this is the worst pain that they have ever had and taking a lot of pain medicine.In general, the pain from surgery should begin to diminish within the first several days and gradually get better.Pain is always worse at night because you don't have the distractions at night that you do during the day. Try icing your shoulder before going to bed.
What type of pain is not normal?
When pain was getting better and suddenly starts getting worse it can be abnormal.If you have an accidental injury to your shoulder the pain will get worse but should start getting better within a day or two.
What is the burning sensation that I feel in my forearm?
The nerves that come out of your neck and go down to your arm and hand pass directly by the shoulder.Postoperative swelling can create this type of sensation.It generally resolves fairly quickly after surgery.If you've kept your arm in the KnappSak II too long it can also cause fluid to pool increasing pressure on the nerves. This can give you the same sensation.If this is the case squeeze your green ball and move your elbow up and down to help mobilize the fluid out of your arm.
I have a huge bruise that extends from my shoulder to my forearm. Is that normal?
If we have performed any work on the bones in your shoulder they can bleed after surgery.Blood always follows gravity. That is why it can travel down to your elbow.
Why does my shoulder feel “tight”?
This usually is from postoperative swelling.If this is the case you should ice more frequently and take your anti-inflammatories.
It’s been 6 weeks since my surgery and I’m still in a considerable amount of pain. Is that normal?
Postoperative pain at this point can be entirely normal.The trend should be that the pain, on a weekly basis, should be on a gradual downward course (there will be daily fluctuations).Pain at night at this point is still entirely normal.
I’m 60 days post op and my shoulder feels “loose”. Is that normal?
This can be entirely normal until your muscles are completely rehabilitated.
When can I go back to work?
Most people that work at a desk job can go back to work in one week.People that do manual labor or perform extensive driving will be out much longer.
When can I start normal daily activity?
You may resume any normal daily activity that does not involve lifting anything heavier than a coffee cup or any activity where your elbow does not leave your side as soon as it is comfortable.Most people will be able to type at the computer the day after surgery.You will not be up to washing your hair with your operative arm for many weeks (this is an overhead activity).
When can I start driving?
The general answer to this is whenever you are safe to drive.You must be off all narcotic medications and have full control over your car.You will not, with your operative arm, be able to get into the 10-2 position.Again you must not have your arm in a position where your elbow leaves your side.If you have a stick shift you will not drive for many weeks if you use your right arm to shift.
How long should I take the anti-inflammatory prescribed to me? Should I finish the bottle? What if it upsets my stomach?
In general we recommend that you take it as prescribed the first several days after surgery. After that you may take it on an as needed basis. You will find that on rainy or overcast days your shoulder may be more sore and require anti-inflammatory medications. If it upsets your stomach try taking Pepcid Complete (available over-the-counter). If it still upsets you stomach you will need to discontinue the anti-inflammatories.
Do I have to take the narcotics? What are some alternatives?
Narcotics are there to help you with pain control.They do have side effects such as dizziness, sleepiness and constipation.If you do not want take narcotics you can take anti-inflammatories or Tylenol.Ice is a very effective anti-inflammatory.
How often should I ice my shoulder?
You should ice your shoulder 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off.This is whether you are using ice bags or a machine that pumps cool water over your shoulder.If you ice longer you may give yourself frostbite.
I have questions about how to use the Game Ready Ice System?
You may go to our shoulder website, www.SMOGshoulder.com, to view the QuickStart guides.They should answer the vast majority of your questions.If you still have questions contact our office.
I’m not feeling any pain in my shoulder; does that mean I’m healing quicker than normal? Should I resume normal activity?
Pain is extremely subjective.Healing is genetically determined but most people require a full 12 weeks for tendons and ligaments to heal.
I’m confused about the exercises to do after surgery. Can someone show me how to do them?
We will go through your exercises with you on your first postoperative visit.If you do not recall how to do them you can go to the website, www.SMOGshoulder.com , you will see a tab for post-op exercises off of the post-op rehabilitation tab.If this does not explain it, please call the office and we will arrange a time for you to come in and show you how to do it again.
What purpose do the pulleys serve? How often should I be doing these exercises?
The pulleys are designed to get your shoulder moving in a passive manner as quickly as possible.The old way of fixing shoulders was to immobilize them for three months in a rigid shoulder immobilizer.The problem with this is that patients lost a tremendous amount of muscle and motion and the rehabilitation time was years rather than months.We still can't have you doing active exercises for a certain time.But we do want you to get your shoulder moving passively to prevent scarring and adhesions.It is better to do your exercises for one minute 20 times a day rather than 20 minutes once a day.
The Knapp Sak II is uncomfortable while sleeping. Can I take it off?
No.The reason we use this is to prevent you from hurting yourself while you sleep.The mind is a very strange thing and plays tricks on you at night.We actually had one patient who dreamed that his house was on fire.He was not wearing his KnappSak II.What woke him up was the sound of "pop, pop, pop" as the anchors pulled out of the bone as he tried to lift his wife to save her from his nightmare fire.
The cushion in the Knapp Sak is rubbing against my skin and is very uncomfortable. Can I remove it?
No.If you have sensitive skin you may put lambs wool or a terry washcloth to protect your skin.
Can I go out of town after surgery?
We like you to be in town for seven to 10 days after surgery.If you're going to have a complication it generally will show up in this time period.After surgery you are at increased risk while flying for blood clots and should take precautions for this.
When can I remove my bandage?
We do your first postoperative dressing change two to three days after surgery.The waterproof dressing that we put on your shoulder may be removed one week later.
Can I get into a hot tub after surgery? If not, how long should I wait?
You should not go into a bathtub or a hot tub for at least 10 days from surgery. The reason is that we want your surgical portals to be fully healed so no bacteria can get in to your joint.
Are steam rooms a risk for infection?
Yes. Excessive perspiration in the first 7 to 10 days from surgery can introduce bacteria in to your joint through your surgical portals.
When do I know that I have a fever? When should I contact the doctor?
An elevated temperature after surgery is common. We generally do not worry about a temperature unless it is 101.0 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Feeling warm does not equal a temperature. If you call us to report a fever we will ask you your temperature. Feeling warm doesn’t count (even if your mother tells you you are warm). Use a thermometer.
My medication is making me nauseous, what should I do?
It usually is the narcotic medication that can cause this. Try taking it with a little food (e.g. crackers) in your stomach. Dehydration can also make you nauseous. If this persists, contact us to try another narcotic. All narcotics tend to cross react, however, so you might need to put up with the pain or take the narcotics and put up with the nausea.
My medication is making me constipated? What should I do?
Drink plenty of fluids. Try taking fiber products like Metamucil. If nothing else works, a Fleets enema can be purchased from your pharmacy.
I have a rash on my body, could I be allergic to the medications prescribed to me?
Possibly. Stop taking your medication. If the rash itches try taking a Benadryl tablet. If you have shortness of breath, call 911 or have someone take you immediately to your nearest emergency room.
When should I stop taking the medications prescribed to me?
Always finish your complete antibiotics prescription. Wean off your pain medicine. Take anti-inflammatories when you feel “sore” or have mild pain. Take sleeping pills only if you are having trouble sleeping.