How Long to Recover from Rotator Cuff Surgery?
As I’m meeting with patients in the office and they’ve been diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear and surgery’s been recommended. The first question I get is how long is the rehab or the recovery from a rotator cuff tear? And that’s a difficult question to answer because recovery means different things to different people depending on their hobbies, their work, whatever things that they do in their spare time.
And so really, from the kind of general rehab cycle, it takes about twelve weeks or three months for biology and healing of the tendon to occur. So, we’re very protective during that first three-month window after surgery. After people get out past three months, we can then really start to strengthen the shoulder.
So, for very basic activities… simple low demand things. You can really start resuming those around the three-month mark. But, for more high demand activities, whether that’s throwing or doing real aggressive lifting at the gym or even some CrossFit, or other types of activities, that’s going to be closer to that six-month mark and beyond. So, I give people kind of a window, roughly a three to six -month recovery time period.
Patients just need to realistically expect it to take a long time. If they’re trying to get back to high level, high demand sports where that can take six months to a year.
There is a bit of a spectrum in the recovery for patients depending on each person’s individual situation.