Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ream and run: rehabilitation tips from the super stars #8

We've invited some of the folks who have done a great job of their rehabilitation after a ream and run to share their tips.

Here's #8:


1. Be Grateful – You’ve just had one of the most advanced shoulder replacements possible. Never forget how fortunate you are. Thirty years ago you would simply have suffered along with your crippled shoulder for the rest of your life. Appreciate your good fortune and the gift you’ve been given.

2. Be an Athlete – No matter your age or ability, you need to consider yourself an athlete if you are going to maximize your outcome. Have the mindset that you will do everything in your recovery plan without fail, without excuse. How important is it to you to have the shoulder you want?

3. Have a Goal – You have a shoulder with virtually no restrictions. Do you want to lift weights, golf, rock climb, or play baseball? Make that your goal, and working with your PT, come up with a plan to get there. Vague, squishy goals get vague results.

4. You Own Your Surgical Outcome – You are the master of your fate. Not your doctor, not your PT. If you aren’t satisfied with your progress or function, be proactive in reaching out for help in modifying your recovery plan. Keep to your plan, and modify it until you get the results you want. No one cares about your shoulder more than you.

5. Be Patient – full recovery may take a long time – many people continue to see improvement 18+ months after surgery. Enjoy the process. When you get discouraged, look were you were 6 months ago – that’s progress!

6. Discomfort is Temporary – Some PT, especially early on, may not be comfortable. Don’t let that keep you from doing what is necessary. It does get better, and the more you do it, the less it will hurt. Long after the soreness of PT is gone, you’ll be enjoying your healthy mobile shoulder for the rest of your life… Push thru the discomfort.


1. Find a PT You Trust – talk with your PT about your goals. Do they want to help you achieve them? Do they have a plan to help you get there? You have to trust your PT and feel confident you’re both moving in the same direction. Don’t be afraid to try different ones.

2. Follow The Plan – your doctor & PT have given you a specific exercise program to follow right after surgery. It’s important to follow it! A little bit more is generally better, a lot more, probably not.

3. Don’t be Easy on Yourself – Tired or sore? Too bad. stick to your plan and do your PT. Your shoulder responds best to routine and frequent activity. Don’t let fatigue or discomfort stop you from doing the work. But…

4. Know When to Back Off – Progress isn’t linear. Sometimes you’ll really be too sore, or are really struggling to follow your plan. Recognize this, and let your PT know. Know when to back off - listen to your body.

5. Stretch Stretch Stretch – Surgery is hard on soft tissue. Keeping your shoulder moving well, and the tissue supple, will greatly affect the quality of your outcome. Get committed to stretching every day, several times a day. Yes, it takes time and can hurt a bit. Is it worth having shoulder that can do anything you want it to? Make the time, make it part of your daily routine.

6. Be Strong - A strong shoulder is a useful shoulder. No matter your age or your goals, make your shoulder as strong as possible. Do the strengthening exercises your PT gives you, and keep progressing. Don’t let up on them once you’re PT is done. Do them for life and you’ll have a happy shoulder. The adage “use it or lose it” is the owner’s manual for the human body...

7. Massage – after you’ve been at it a while, (and with the permission of your doctor/PT), you may want to consider deep tissue massage from a sports savvy masseuse. This is NOT pleasant, but they can dig into your shoulder area and help free adhesions and scarring that limits supple movement. I personally saw huge improvements in my internal rotation after 3-4 visits. This was a year after my surgery.

8. Keep At It – Not to sound like a Nike tag line, but there is no finish line. Your shoulder health is never done, take care of it, and it will serve you well your entire life.


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