How to Speed Up Your Recovery Time After Shoulder Arthroscopy
The glenohumeral joint is an articulation between the ball-like head of the humerus and a cup-like socket in the scapula known as the glenoid. The arrangement allows a much more comprehensive range of movement than is possible with other joints, such as the hip, knee, and elbow. However, that same freedom of movement frequently encourages overexertion and subsequent injuries. When this occurs, it is often necessary to perform shoulder arthroscopy.
How is a Shoulder Arthroscopy Performed?
This procedure involves inserting a flexible tube into the joint. The instrument contains a fibre-optic cable that transmits light to the joint’s interior and images back to a video recorder for display on a monitor screen. The surgeon can manipulate the scope to look for evidence of damage to bone, cartilage, or soft tissues before deciding how to proceed. When ready, an additional pair of small incisions provide portals to insert and manipulate the surgical instruments necessary to complete the intervention. While notably less invasive than open surgery, shoulder arthroscopy, like any surgical procedure, is still a traumatic process. Patients can’t expect to resume their normal activities immediately following their discharge.
Following any arthroscopic procedure, some recovery time will be necessary. Precisely how long a given individual will need varies according to the patient’s age, general fitness level, and the extent of the surgery performed. On average, you can generally expect to resume most of your normal activities within one to six months of your procedure. However, the time taken will, to a large extent, depend on you.
What to Do Afterwards
After your shoulder arthroscopy, following your surgeon’s advice to the letter will be crucial. Don’t try to rush things as this could damage the repair. You will need to immobilise most of your joint’s movement with a sling until told otherwise. Physiotherapy is not optional; it is vital. While exercising can be painful, the programme is specifically designed to increase strength and mobility. It will gradually extend your range of motion as the healing process proceeds.
Also, although it is tempting to keep on taking the prescribed painkillers, pain is a natural warning sign. Whilst you’re recovering from shoulder arthroscopy, remaining aware of that discomfort can prevent you from overdoing things. Nevertheless, although the recommended exercises are intended to speed your recovery, many day-to-day activities can cause setbacks. Avoid lifting heavy objects, reaching behind your body, or raising the affected arm. Extend these actions gradually as they become less painful. Also, try to avoid putting pressure on the joint while sleeping.
Damaged cartilage or ligaments, a torn rotator cuff, arthritis, and bone spurs are all common reasons to perform this procedure. Learn more about shoulder arthroscopy and the world-class surgical team at Pretoria’s Life Wilgers Hospital. Contact us for more information.