Shouldering Change

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Shouldering Change — What to Know About Shoulder Replacement Surgery


After knee and hip replacements, shoulder replacements (total, reverse, and partial) are the third most common in the United States. Because the shoulder is not a weight-bearing joint like the hip or knee the recovery tends to be a little less taxing. The shoulder is made up of the collarbone (the clavicle), the upper arm bone (the humerus), and the shoulder blade (the scapula) that fit together to form a ball-and-socket joint. Ideally, where the bones meet is covered in cartilage that allows the shoulder to glide.

. When parts of the shoulder are damaged through repetitive use, accident or a condition like osteoarthritis this limits the range of motion and can be very painful. Physical therapy and medications can help but shoulder surgery may be a good choice.

When is it Time to Consider Shoulder Surgery?

– when pain interferes with your daily life and limits what you can do with ease (dressing, brushing your teeth, driving, etc.)

– when your shoulder is so uncomfortable it keeps you up at night

– when other methods of pain management and physical therapy reach a limit in improving your condition

What Can Be Expected After Surgery

 After a short hospital stay your doctors will send you home with pain medication (which is standard after most surgeries to help prevent infection) and pain medication. The surgery should be seen as the beginning of your healing process. You will also be prescribed to a physical therapist whose job is to help you regain as much motion as possible by doing exercises that allow strength to rebuild. It is important to keep in mind that your new shoulder may be made of metal parts but it is still not immune to wear and tear. Until your doctor fully releases you from care and says you can go back to your normal routine you will be asked to take it easy and not do anything to jeopardize your shoulder’s progress.

The goal of shoulder surgery is to free the patient from pain and help them regain some normal motion. By working with the best care team and following their orders closely it gives you that much better of a chance to have the kind of life you deserve.

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