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Before Your Surgery: Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair


Review the Rotator Cuff Tear section first to learn more about your rotator cuff and the importance of reducing muscle tension and improving your range-of-motion. These exercises should be performed only for 20-30 seconds each at one time and repeated at least 6-8 times daily before your surgery.

Shoulder Blade Mobility: Shoulder and neck pain can result in a lot of tension and pain in the muscles surrounding your shoulder blade and neck. Often this results in a shoulder that is raised in a “shrugged” position. This “shrugged” position results in greater stiffness and pain for both your neck and shoulder.

To help relax these muscles roll your shoulder blades together imagining you are squeezing a tennis ball between your shoulder blades. It is important to relax your shoulder blade and neck muscles to allow you to maintain your shoulders in this level position to reduce tension and pain.

Pendulum or Weighted Pendulum: Your arm is roughly 5% of your body weight and usually provides enough natural pull to relax your shoulder. If you’re having trouble relaxing your shoulder muscles for the pendulum a very lightweight can help relax these muscles. The weight is designed to provide gentle traction on your arm to help relax your shoulder muscles. Do not lift the weight or your arm. A very lightweight in the 1-3 pound range works nicely. Remember to maintain your arm as “dead weight” and not lift or move it using your own muscles. Once your arm and shoulder are relaxed starts rocking back and forth from heel to toe to help get your arms swinging. Allow the momentum of the weight to help make the circles gradually larger. Done correctly this is a very comfortable exercise. Get good at this one, you’re going to do exactly the same thing right after surgery!



Supine Forward Flexion: We prefer to have you do this lying down because it puts gravity on your side making it easier to relax your shoulder. Leave your arm completely relaxed and elbow bent. Let gravity gradually straighten your arm. You should have the sensation of your arm being pulled over your head.

Supine External Rotation: While you are lying down turn to your affected side (left in all these pictures). A small pillow or rolled up towel under your other shoulder can help provide support and comfort.


Now, slowly push your wrist away from your body and hold the stretch for 20 seconds. Bring it back and relax.

Next, gently push your arm away from your side keeping your elbow bent.

Now, push your wrist slowly while staying relaxed and hold the stretch at the end for 20 seconds.

Bring it back to neutral and relax.

Supine Internal Rotation: While maintaining the starting position from your last stretch grasp your wrist on top as shown.

Push your wrist down and hold the stretch for 20 seconds Relax!

Cross Arm Adduction: With your arm relaxed you will now be pulling it across your body to stretch the back of your shoulder. You can do this either lying down or sitting as shown.

You’re finished! Remember to repeat these 6-8 times daily for the best results. Also, the more familiar you are with these the easier your postoperative program will be!

Here is video of what we want you to do after your surgery.

If you have comments or questions please contact us.

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