Rehab after SLAP shoulder surgery: what to expect at ten weeks?


Q: I had surgery to repair a SLAP tear in my right shoulder. One anchor was used to repair my labrum. I am a college baseball player and I am in week 10 of my recovery. I still have some pain when I wake up in the mornings and with certain activities. I haven't begun throwing or hitting yet but some every day activities still cause me a little pain. Is this normal?


A:   You are now in the Rehab phase IVa between 2 months to 3 months; at this point you may have some pain that may be treated with TENS, ice/warm compresses and anti inflammatory medication. The emphasis will be in finalizing the ROM (range of motion movements) and increase progressive resistance exercises. Possibly you will be instructed in the use of Thera-tubing and/or weight lifting exercises that are performed for the entire shoulder girdle strengthening and stabilization. After this phase you will be in the phase IVb that goes from the third to the fourth months after the SLAP, you will continue with a more aggressive shoulder-stretching program as indicated. You will increase the resistive strengthening program to include heavier weight with any and all lifts as tolerated. Generally it takes 3-4 four months for return to full activity. A throwing progression for dominant arm athletes will not begin prior to 4 months postoperatory. This timeframe is highly unpredictable and will vary greatly between each individual patient. Bracing may be used for return to contact or collision sports up to 6 months post-op. It is recommended that you follow-up monthly or as needed between 4 an 6 months post-op. You are supposed to return at 6 months post-op for the final time to see the physician and the therapist. Usually a Cybex strength evaluation is performed at this time as well as at 1 year post-operative.

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