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Rehabilitation Protocol

Subacromial Decompression / Rotator Cuff Debridement

Phase I: Early ROM (0 to 4 weeks)

  • May remove dressing and shower postop day # 3.
  • Sutures are all underneath the skin and will dissolve on their own.
  • Ice or cold flow system encouraged for the first week at a minimum: should be used 3-4 times per day.
  • Sling should be worn for the first week.
  • Scapular ROM exercises.
  • Initiate shoulder exercise program 3 times per day:
    • AAROM: pulleys, wand and supine gravity assisted ROM.
    • Progress PROM and capsular stretching as tolerated.
    • Immediate elbow, forearm and hand ROM.
    • May start shoulder isometrics as pain improves.

Phase II: Restore Function (> 4 weeks)

  • Progress PROM and capsular stretching as tolerated.
  • Equate active and passive ROM.
  • Initiate rotator cuff and scapular stabilizer strengthening (Theraband, dumbbells, Hughston’s exercises, etc.) Avoid positions of impingement.
  • Progress to functional activities as tolerated.
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons
  • New England Shoulder and Elbow Society
  • Boston Sports & Shoulder Center
  • Tufts University