Arthroscopic Repair of Large Rotator Cuff Tear


Post op

Day 1-3


  • Sling 6 weeks, if abduction wedge then reduce to free hanging sling at 2-3 weeks
  • Passive table slides in safe zone
  • Proprioception, scapula setting & axillary hygiene
  • Neck, elbow, wrist & hand exercises
  • No combined abduction & external rotation

Removal of stitches at 2 weeks

  • Progress to active assisted (closed chain) exercises in safe zone

3-6 Weeks

  • Progress from week 2 as comfort allows
  • Add gentle resistance to closed chain exercises

6 Weeks +

  • Sling removed
  • Scapula control through range
  • Low velocity rotator cuff strengthening

12 Weeks

  • Start resisted work
  • Begin combined abduction and external rotation




Week 8

ROM 75%-80% of normal, sling discarded

Week 12

Full ROM

Week 26

Unrestricted activity

Return to Functional Activities

Driving 6-8 weeks

Swimming 12 weeks

Golf 3 months

Lifting 3 months +

Work Sedentary - once out of sling

Manual – as guided by surgeon


Courtesy -NC/RC

Guidelines for post-operative physiotherapy listed here should be used as reference points and are best used in conjunction with individualised post operative instructions and titrated appropriately as per patient progress. This guideline is designed and used by physiotherapists at the Wrightington Hospital and The Arm Clinic.

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