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Returning to Sports After Shoulder Arthroscopy

Returning to Sports After Shoulder Arthroscopy

Your shoulders are the most complex and mobile joints in your body. A combination of two joints encapsulated by muscles and tendons called the rotator cuff, the joint is vulnerable to a wide range of injuries, including sudden traumas, repetitive motion injuries, and strains and tears from overuse. 

Arthroscopy serves as both a diagnostic procedure and a repair platform for shoulder injuries. While it uses small incisions and creates less muscle damage than traditional open surgery, you still have a period of recovery necessary before you return to normal activities. If your shoulder damage is due to sports participation, you may need additional time. 

Joint Regeneration of Lake Oconee specializes in sports medicine, including post-surgical care of joints. It’s not simply about healing wounds. The practice believes in comprehensive care for recovery and avoiding reinjury. 

What is arthroscopy? 

Before the invention of the arthroscope, shoulder surgery required large incisions through the muscles of the rotator cuff, so your surgeon could see the damage deeper inside the joint and make the necessary repairs. Often the muscle incisions required more time to heal than the joint repair. 

The arthroscope is a camera mounted on a thin tube. Instead of opening up the shoulder joint, a small incision of about one-half inch or less allows the arthroscope to “see” the damage within the joint. Often, repairs are made with similarly mounted surgical tools inserted through another small incision. 

You suffer less damage, less pain, and the time between procedure and full healing is substantially shorter. Used since the 1970s, shoulder arthroscopy’s equipment and techniques continue to be improved. 

Returning to sports after shoulder arthroscopy

Even though the impact of an arthroscopic procedure is smaller than conventional techniques, recovery time remains important. Much of this depends on the extent and type of shoulder injury you experienced.

It’s not simply a matter of waiting for incisions to heal. Your procedure could be for rotator cuff tears, shoulder impingement problems, or attempting to stabilize the shoulder after one or more dislocations. Each of these has its own problem origin. Healing and aftercare involves both tissue healing and joint rehabilitation. 

Rebuilding the strength of the support tissue and range of motion of your shoulder are perhaps the key parts of recovery for returning to active sports participation. 

Your recovery could take anywhere from one to six months, depending on the original injury and the amount of work needed to repair the damage. You’ll spend the first week or longer in a sling to immobilize the joint through its early stages of recovery. 

Physical therapy helps to restore flexibility and strength to the shoulder joint. How much strength and flexibility you regain depends on both the injury and the amount of work done. 

Your recovery partner

As sports medicine specialists, the team at Joint Regeneration of Lake Oconee can help you through the recovery stages after your arthroscopic procedure to assure you regain the best possible use of your shoulder. They can help with pain management, physical therapy, and post-surgical regenerative techniques to help speed your recovery. 

Learn more about the benefits available to you by scheduling a personal consultation. You can book an appointment by phone or online. Arrange your session today. 

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