Rotator Cuff Repair is a surgical repair of 1 or multiple tendons that connect at the shoulder. Usually a tear is a result of an injury, over use or degeneration of muscle tendon(s) where they attach to the bone. The rotator cuff (RTC) helps to stabilize the shoulder and elevate the arm. After surgical repair you can expect to be immobilized in a sling for 4-6wk depending on your surgeon’s recommendations and the severity of the tear. You will typically start therapy within 1 wk post-op and be instructed in exercises to prevent atrophy of the forearm muscles and grip strength. A therapist will move your arm passively to prevent loss of range of motion without muscle activation as to protect the newly repaired tissue(s). It is common for the bicep tendon to be repaired or relocated in combination with this surgery. Another common procedure performed simultaneously is a Subacromial Decompression (SAD) where a portion of bone is removed at the top of the shoulder to increase the space surrounding the newly repaired supraspinatus. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about which procedures were performed on you and if additional restrictions are required.

Typical exercises in the first 4-6wk include pendulums, wrist AROM with or without resistance, scapular retractions, neck stretches and gripping with or without resistance.

After about 4-6wk your therapist and doctor will encourage you to start postural strengthening, isometrics and movement with assistance. These exercises will help to build strength and gain back your range of motion. You can expect to have most of your range back by 6-8wk post-op. It will typically take about 12-16wk to regain the majority of the strength back in your arm and up to 1 year to regain near full strength. ”

Ashley Stechschulte PT, DPT – New Haven Clinic


Why you became a(n) PT / PTA / OT:

To help people get better and meet their individual goals.

Favorite Part about your Job:

I love encouraging people and seeing their lives change as they make progress towards their goals.  There’s nothing better than seeing the joy it brings a person when they return to walking or play. Or how happy a parent is when a child starts meeting their milestones or playing with peers.

Other/ Fun Fact about Yourself:

I love working with kids and just had a little girl of my own in July 2021. I enjoy working out, running, lifting and pretty much all activities outdoors with my family.