After Shoulder Replacement Surgery: Back in the Swing

After shoulder replacement, you can look forward to less pain and stiffness. You may also have more strength and movement in your shoulder and arm and be able to return to many of the activities you enjoy—like golf, swimming, bowling, gardening, or playing with your children or grandchildren. If you follow your exercise program and protect your shoulder, you’ll probably be back in the swing of things within a few months. Your healthcare team will discuss how to wear your arm sling and for how long. You will likely have follow-up visits with physical therapy to make a faster and more complete recovery.

Man pushing boy on swing in park.

Returning to work

When you can return to work depends on your surgery and the type of work you do. You may be able to go back to a desk job within a few weeks. Your healthcare provider may tell you to resume some tasks gradually or to avoid certain tasks until your shoulder heals. Your return will take longer if your work is more physical. In some cases, your healthcare provider may advise you to change the kind of work you do to avoid overusing or reinjuring your shoulder.

What to remember

Your new shoulder is not designed for heavy impact. Think of it like the tread on a tire: It will wear out faster with hard use. So, you may want to make some choices about how you use your new shoulder.

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