Returning to Sports After A Rotator Cuff Injury

Getting back into the game you love after a rotator cuff injury requires time, patience, and the guidance of a skilled orthopedic specialist, like Michael Hood, MD, and the team at Delta Orthpaedics & Sports Medicine.

While your customized treatment plan for surgery and beyond likely focuses on your return to your favorite sports, there are some criteria you need to meet before reengaging in any physical activity.

Guidelines for returning to sports

Following your rotator cuff surgery, Dr. Hood works closely with you to establish a rehabilitation program to promote the full healing of your shoulder. You will also do exercises at home to rebuild the muscles in your shoulder to support your rotator cuff.

Throughout your recovery process, Dr. Hood and the Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine physical therapy team evaluate how well your rehabilitation is progressing. They focus on helping you achieve the hallmarks of healing, such as:

The team also ensures you are in good general health and fully ready to participate in your chosen sport and other activities.

Risks of returning too soon

Whether you’re an amateur or professional athlete, your desire to get back into the game is likely strong. However, returning to activities too quickly can put your long-term health at risk.

Getting back into sports when your rotator cuff isn’t fully healed significantly increases your risk factors for reinjuring the same shoulder or developing other post-surgery complications.

By participating in sports with a still-healing rotator cuff, you may also be increasing your risk for injuries to other parts of your body, including your hip, elbow, and even your spine. These injuries may be due to your overcompensation in support of the affected shoulder.

New injuries can be even more serious than your original torn rotator cuff. These injuries may put you out of the game for good and interfere with your general health and quality of life.

Tips to keep your rotator cuff safe

Once Dr. Hood consents to your return to sports, he provides you with resources to prevent new injuries and ensure you’re performing at your best. Some guidelines for getting back to sports following rotator cuff surgery include:

Stay proactive with home exercises

Even if you’ve completed in-office physical therapy exercises as part of your rehab, you should continue to eat a healthy diet and engage in daily home exercises to keep your overall body strong and toned.

Don’t dismiss your warm-up

Proper warm-up routines before participating in sports is vital to get your muscles ready and reduce your risk for additional muscle strains and tears.

Monitor your play time

During your initial return to sports, listen to your body and don’t wear yourself out. Playing for too long can lead to overuse injuries and fatigue. Start out slowly and build up to full participation in your chosen sport over time.

Report any pain immediately

If you have any pain at all, report it immediately to Dr. Hood. He can perform a full evaluation to determine the cause of your pain and recommend additional treatment to prevent additional injuries to your rotator cuff.

If you’re out of the game due to a rotator cuff injury, schedule a consultation to discuss your options for rehab or shoulder surgery by calling Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine today or book an appointment online now. 

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