Question:I'm going to have an arthroscopic surgical procedure for a problem with a chronic left shoulder dislocation. I'd like to get back on the tennis court in time for the adult summer league. What kind of rehab program should I expect?
Answer:Rehab programs after a shoulder stabilization procedure may be the same whether it was an open versus closed procedure. Sometimes this depends on the surgeon's preferences. Type of sutures used, amount of damage to the soft tissues, and condition of the joint capsule are only three of the important considerations.
Most often, the protocol used during the early phase of rehab is one that can be modified for each patient. Your therapist will advance you along as quickly as possible. The rehab protocol is really just a guideline.
Most likely you will be put in a shoulder immobilizer (sling) in the operating room. This is worn for two to four weeks. Exercises are started at two weeks. Passive and active-assisted partial range of motion is allowed. Full, active range of motion is permitted at six weeks.
The therapist will progress you to and through a series of strengthening exercises. The speed at which you will be able to advance may depend on your level of pain, degree of stiffness, and strength. You will be able to start training for tennis participation between eight and 12 weeks. If there are no complications or problems, you may expect to return to your sport about four months after surgery.Laurie A. Hiemstra, MD, PhD, FRCS(C), et al. Shoulder Strength After Open Versus Arthroscopic Stabilization. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. May 2008. Vol. 36. No. 5. Pp. 861-867.
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