5 Tips for Returning to Sports After Rotator Cuff Surgery

Are you an athlete recovering from a rotator cuff injury, or rotator cuff surgery, and wondering when it’s okay to get back in the game?

Many people, but especially athletes, suffer from rotator cuff injuries every year. This occurs when the tendons and muscles around your shoulder joint get hurt from repetitive movements, heavy lifting, or a fall. While these injuries are treatable, they may keep you on the sidelines for a while until you are fully recovered. 

The good news is, you don’t have to give up sports forever. You’ll just want to make sure that your body is ready to get back in the game. Dr. Bryan King at Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute offers five tips for getting back in the game after recovery.

Wait for the inflammation to go down

Whether your recovery plan includes physical therapy, surgery, or both, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time for the inflammation of your muscles and joints to disappear. Dr. King can evaluate you to determine when that is, but it usually takes a few weeks.

Rebuild intensity slowly

Rebuilding strength and mobility can take some time. It’s important to ease back into your old routine slowly, rather than risk injuring yourself again by doing exactly what you did before. You can build up your former intensity incrementally, doing little bits at a time.

Strengthen surrounding muscles

One of the most effective ways to strengthen your muscles and prevent future injuries is to strengthen your shoulder muscles. You may want to stick with physical therapy for a while, even after Dr. King gives you permission to play again, just to be safe. Ask your physical therapist about supporting exercises you can do at home, on your own.

Include warm-up and cool down routines

To prevent further injury and ease your muscles back into the game, you’ll want to begin with an easy warm-up routine. Following the game, make sure you include cool-down exercises to prevent muscle strain or tearing. Dr. King or your physical therapist can recommend some simple exercises.

Stop if the pain returns

If your shoulder muscle starts to hurt again, stop what you’re doing and rest. Put ice on it if necessary, or take an anti-inflammatory medication. If the pain persists, call Dr. King for an evaluation.

Learn more about recovering after rotator cuff surgery

If you’ve recently had surgery for a rotator cuff injury and want to learn more about how and when to get back in the game, you can reach Dr. King at 205-354-2679 or book an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you. 

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