Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ

Question:

Last year I had a rotator cuff tear repaired surgically. I was given exact directions on how much, what, and when to move my arm. I always wondered what would happen if I had moved the arm or lifted more weight sooner. Does it really matter?

Answer:

It sure does matter. Even under the best circumstances up to half of all rotator cuff repairs tear again. During the first six weeks, the muscle isn't really reattached to the bone. It's just held in place by tiny sutures. It takes awhile for the tendon and bone to knit back together.

Too much load or too much strain can pull the stitches right through the tendon. Surgeons have a pretty good idea of how much their surgical repair can handle. It's best to follow their instructions very carefully. Patients should ask before doing more than the surgeon advised.

Augustus D. Mazzocca, MD, et al. Arthroscopic Single-Row Versus Double-Row Suture Anchor Rotator Cuff Repair. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. December 2005. Vol. 33. No. 12. Pp. 1861-1868.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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