Shoulder Rehabilitation Program
Joseph H. Guettler, M.D.
Kenneth Soave, PT, Director of Physical Therapy Services
Phase I: Basic Stretch and Range of Motion
For patients in the early stage after surgery or injury
Bend at the waist and, to protect your back, brace yourself with your uninvolved hand on your knee or a near by table, let your arm dangle freely. Slowly move your arm in small circles allowing movement in the shoulder joint. Once you feel comfortable, you can progress to larger circles. Do this for a few minutes, several times per day.
Using a squeezy ball or stress ball, slowly squeeze the ball in the hand of your affected arm. This will help to increase the strength in your hand muscles and keep the arm muscles intact. Do this several times per day.
Elbow Range of Motion:
You are allowed to take your arm out of the sling for this exercise. Keep your elbow at your side and slowly bend and straighten your elbow, making sure not to move your arm away from your body. Do this exercise several times per day.
Forearm/Wrist/Hand and Fingers Range of Motion:
While you are out of your sling, do some forearm exercises by rotating your hand from a palm up position to a palm down position. You can also do some simple wrist and finger movements as well as grip strengthening by squeezing a small ball. Then carefully place your arm back into your sling. Repeat several times per day.
Place your hand of your injured arm on the wall directly in front of you. You can support your injured arm with your good arm, then slowly walk you hand up the wall. As your hand gets higher up, take step closer to the wall to enable more motion in the shoulder joint. Do not go past 90 degrees at this point, your arm should only be perpendicular to the wall before you begin therapy. When you reach the top, hold for 10 seconds , then slowly bring your arm down. Repeat 3 time, do a total of 3 sets 2-3 times a day. You may increase to 3-5 times a day as tolerated.
External Rotation Exercises:
With your elbow bent at your side, carefully rotate your hand out to the side using your unaffected arm to guide it. Once you reach about 20 degrees (a slight angle from your body), hold it there for 10 seconds to stretch. Repeat this exercise 3 times and doing 3 sets 2-3 times a day. You may increase to 3-5 times a day as tolerated