Stretches and Exercises after Shoulder Surgery

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Athletes stretchingWhile it’s still a bit too cold and wet to scale real mountain faces, you can enjoy rock climbing in the offseason. The Parker Fieldhouse here in Parker, CO, has its own 25-foot indoor climbing wall where you can get back into climbing shape and prepare for better weather. This is also a good place to start if you’ve had to take time off from rock climbing, particularly for something like shoulder surgery. Like most injuries that require surgery, you also need physical therapy and plenty of conditioning to get back into this strenuous sport.

People typically have shoulder surgery to address torn cartilage or a damaged muscle or tendon. Once the surgery is complete, you’ll have to keep your arm and shoulder still for a period of time, so the incision and the healing soft tissues have time to recover. Typically this means you’ll wear a sling to prevent accidentally stressing your joint. However, you won’t keep your arm still forever. As soon as it’s safe to do so, you’ll begin physical therapy.

This will help with your range of motion, flexibility, and strength as you heal. While your arm is being kept still, those soft tissues tend to stiffen and weaken from lack of use. Physical therapy works against that to help restore your shoulder to normal, so you can get back to rock climbing when it’s healed. Here are a few therapy exercises you might do:

  • Arm Pendulum – Bend forward at the waist so your recovering arm hangs freely. Moving your body instead of your arm, sway in a circular motion so your limb swings in a circle.

  • Clasped Hands Raise – Clasp your hands together and carefully lift your arms above your head while keeping your elbows straight.

  • Side Lifts – Let your recovering arm hang by your side. Slowly lift it straight out sideways, then lower it.

Take it slowly and follow all your therapy directions. This will help you avoid re-injury in the long run. If you’re concerned about your rehabilitation after a shoulder surgery, let Castle Pines Physical Therapy in Castle Pines, CO or Cherry Creek Physical Therapy in Denver, help you plan out your recovery. We’ll work with you every step of the way to make sure you heal completely. Just call (303) 805-5156 to make an appointment with us.

Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM
Founder and Owner of Podiatry Associates, PC
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