Rotator cuff repair is a common surgical procedures for middle to older age adults who reports shoulder pain and significant limitations in daily and recreational activities despite a course of early Physical Therapy. Early treatment by a Boulder Physical Therapist can prevent the need for surgery after a rotator cuff diagnosis, but in some individuals the tear requires surgery to restore shoulder function.
The vast majority of rotator cuff repairs are done through arthroscopic surgery which are associated with less complications and improved early outcomes compared to open surgical procedures. Depending on surgeon preference, patients may start Physical Therapy within a week after the surgery. Early mobilization of the surgically repaired shoulder performed by a skilled Physical Therapist has been in prior randomized controlled trails has demonstrated faster restoration of shoulder range of motion without adverse events such as a re tear. A recent study supported the prior research’s results.
Misir and colleagues randomized 92 patients with small to medium sized rotator cuff tears to either early mobilization by a Physical Therapist or early sling immobilization followed by delayed Physical Therapy (J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2022). Patients were matched between groups for age, sex, BMI, and rotator cuff tear size. Authors reported improved range of motion, physical function, and quality of life in patients who received early mobilization of their surgically repaired shoulder compared to their peers who received delayed mobilization and Physical Therapy.