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0-2 Weeks

The main aim of this phase is to look after the new shoulder and begin your rehabilitation with some simple movements.

I’ve been given a sling to use after my operation, but what should I be doing?

You are likely to have been discharged from the hospital with a sling to support your shoulder and arm and told to use it for six weeks.

If you are unsure about the fitting or specifics on how to use the sling, please refer to your post-operative booklet or click here. 

Do I have to sleep in the sling? 

Yes, for the first two weeks, it is recommended that you sleep in the sling. After the first two weeks, if you are more comfortable without it, you can take the sling off to sleep.

You will not delay your recovery if you decide to keep it on at night for the full six weeks.


My shoulder feels really tight and a bit weird, is that normal?  

Absolutely. After your operation, which is a significant thing for your shoulder to undergo, it is very normal to feel that it might be strange, sore and even a bit tight.

Is there anything I shouldn’t do with my new shoulder?

For the first 6 weeks after your surgery, it is important you try to avoid the following movements if you can help it. The movements we advise you don't attempt are: 

  • Taking your arm up and out at the same time
  • Taking your hand behind your head
  • Taking your arm all the way behind you
  • Taking your hand behind your back 
  • Taking weight through your arm such as pushing yourself up in bed or out of a chair

So, am I allowed to use my shoulder?

Yes absolutely, but for the first two weeks you should use your other arm to help your operated shoulder when exercising. You can move the elbow, wrist and hand on your operated side as much and as freely as you like.


Can I start doing any specific exercises?

Yes, you most certainly can!

You should have been given some idea of what exercises you can do to start with by either the hospital physiotherapist or by the post-operative booklet.

You can find a range of alternative exercises below.

Exercise tips:

You should use your non-operated arm to help your operated arm with all of these exercises by taking some/most of the weight and guiding the movement.

Aim to do these exercises little and often through the day and work within a range that is comfortable.

Please note – you should wear your brace whilst doing these exercises for the first six weeks.

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