The reverse shoulder replacement has a specific design that takes advantage of your large deltoid muscle.¬† So even if your rotator cuff is damaged, overhead movement is preserved. Strengthening exercises in physical therapy targets your deltoid muscle and the muscles attaching to your shoulder blade.¬† This articles shows you 5 of the most common strengthening exercises we prescribe to help with your reverse shoulder replacement recovery.
Shoulder Replacement Recovery: Returning to Sport
Many people pursue shoulder replacement surgery with expectations of returning to their favorite activities or sports.¬† A 2020 systematic review investigated the rate of return to sport in patients recovering from shoulder replacement surgery.¬† This paper included 12 different studies looking at patients after shoulder replacement surgery.¬†¬† Overall, 82% of patients returned to playing their favorite sport.¬† Swimming showed the highest rate of return (84%), followed by fitness (77%), golf (77%), and tennis (69%).¬† Strengthening your shoulder is key to returning to these types of activities.
Reverse Shoulder Replacement Recovery: The Basics of Strength Training
For the best reverse shoulder replacement recovery you will need to be diligent with your strengthening exercises.¬† Light strengthening exercises begin 6 to 8 weeks after your surgery.¬† Again, the focus is on improving the strength of your deltoid muscle and the muscles that attach to your shoulder blade.¬† Strengthening exercise are performed once daily 3 to 5 times per week.¬† Initially, start with 15 repetitions per set.¬† Also, we recommend 2 to 3 sets of each exercise.¬† As you progress, increase the resistance as you lower the reps to 10 per set.
Band Forward Elevation in Supine
Lying on your back to exercise minimizes the effect of gravity.¬† This makes it ideal to begin exercising with light resistance while protecting your healing shoulder. To perform this exercise begin on your back holding a resistance band in your uninvolved side hand at waist level. Your involved side shoulder starts flexed 90¬į with your elbow straight holding the band in a thumb-up position. Place minimal tension on the band in this starting position.¬† Then, actively lift your arm into forward elevation to approximately 160¬į.¬† This will lengthen the band.¬†¬†Pause 2 to 3 seconds at the top.¬† Finally, lower slowly back to the starting position.¬† Perform 10 to 15 repetitions for 2 to 3 sets each day.
Press-Up in Standing
Initially, perform this exercise without any weight.¬† As your strength improves, add 1 to 2 pounds.¬† Start in a standing position with your hand close to your body and elbow bent.¬† Perform an overhead pressing movement.¬† Straighten your elbow as your arm passes overhead.¬† Hold for 2 to 3 seconds before slowly lowering your arm back down to the starting position.¬† Perform 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions each day.¬†¬† It is important to avoid ‚Äúshrugging‚ÄĚ your shoulder or arching your low back.
Begin lying on your stomach holding a dumbbell.¬† Start with your arm in an extended position.¬† Perform a row.¬† Your elbow stays close but not all the way against the side of your body.¬† Hold the top position for 1-2 seconds before slowly lowering the weight.¬† It is important to pull your shoulder blade back as you raise your elbow.¬† Avoid overextending and shrugging your shoulder.¬† Perform 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions each day.
Prone Horizontal Abduction
Lie face down with your arm over the side of a bed or bench.¬† With your thumb up and arm straight lift toward the ceiling at a 90-degree angle (the 9:00 and 3:00 positions of a clock).¬† This position is aligned with the muscle fibers of your middle trapezius.¬† Be careful to avoid shrugging your entire shoulder as you raise your arm.¬† Instead, think about tilting your shoulder blade backward as you raise your arm.¬† Pause at the top of the movement before returning to the start position in a controlled manner.¬† Perform 2 to 3 sets of 10 repetitions each day.
Serratus Wall Slide with Foam Roll
Begin with your forearms resting on a foam roll against the wall placed at shoulder height.¬† Protract the shoulder blades by pushing your upper back away from the wall.¬† This activates your serratus anterior muscle. ¬†Next, ‚Äúroll‚ÄĚ your forearms up the wall in a controlled manner, making sure you don‚Äôt lose the protraction.¬† Return back to the starting point in a controlled manner.¬† Perform 2 to 3 sets of 10 repetitions each day.
Final Thoughts on Your Shoulder Replacement Recovery
Performing a gradual and progressive strength training program will optimize your reverse shoulder replacement recovery. ¬†¬†Everyone progresses at a different rate.¬† Your physical therapist will be your guide as you work towards your goals.¬† Most people return to their favorite sports or activities within 3 to 6 months.¬† This of course, assumes you have restored 85% to 90% of your shoulder strength.¬† If you would like help developing the best individually-tailored exercise program give us a call.