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Rotator Cuff Surgery – 1 year later still pain

Question

Dear TAI Experts:

July was 1 yr after my rotator cuff repair surgery. I still experience soreness and a little aching pain in the back of the upper arm near shoulder the day after. Is this normal?

Answer

Without doing an examination I cannot comment on your condition specifically, but I can make some general comments. After rotator cuff repair surgery, the body will lay down scar tissue where the repair took place - the site of the incision and possibly within the joint. The capsule of the shoulder (seran-wrap like structure that helps with stability in the shoulder) also can become tighter because of having to keep the shoulder immobile in the beginning stages of rehab, and this can last for a long time. The scar tissue and tighter capsule can prevent the shoulder joints from moving optimally, putting more stress on other structures, such as tendons (connects muscle to bone) and ligaments (connect bone to bone), and can lead to more wear and tear at one part of the joint. Even though laying down scar tissue is a part of the normal healing process, it is not as strong as healthy muscle tissue, and therefore, it is also important to continue to work on strengthening your rotator cuff muscles and the muscles in your mid to upper back in order to promote the most normal shoulder movement and function. I recommend you see a physical therapist or consult your surgeon to discuss your symptoms as well. A physical therapist can perform an examination to assess the strength and stability of your muscles and ligaments, joint mobility, and function, and can determine if any other parts of the body are contributing to your shoulder symptoms.

Amy Temes, PT, DPT

Rotator Cuff Surgery – 1 year later still pain

 


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