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Shoulder Replacement

Shoulder replacement surgery, technically known as shoulder arthroplasty, is a procedure that replaces all or part of the shoulder joint with artificial components, or prosthetics. This procedure is typically performed on individuals with significant pain and range of motion deficits who do not respond to more conservative treatments. The goal is to relieve pain and restore mobility of the shoulder to allow for an improved tolerance with various activities, including reaching and lifting with the affected arm. 

typical causes:

There are numerous conditions that lead to a shoulder arthroplasty. Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease where the cartilage wears away, is a common cause in older individuals. Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease leading to inflammation of the joint lining and subsequent joint damage, can also necessitate this surgery.  Additionally, rotator cuff arthroplasty, a condition that arises from a long-standing rotator cuff tear, is another cause. Avascular necrosis, where the blood supply to the humeral head is disrupted leading to bone death is also a common cause. It is key to note that shoulder replacement surgery is usually considered when conservative treatments fail to alleviate symptoms.

how physical therapy can help:

Physical therapy plays a crucial role in recovering from shoulder arthroplasty. Following surgery, a physical therapist will work with you to gradually improve the range of motion and strength of the shoulder to assist with restoring proper function of the affected arm. The recovery time will vary depending on the type of arthroplasty performed. 

Physical therapy can also be beneficial prior to surgery. Research has shown individuals with greater range of motion and strength leading up to surgery can improve post-surgery outcomes. 

Ready to get moving? Contact us today to schedule an assessment.

exercises that may help reduce pain:

If you experience more pain with these exercises, hold off from that particular movement. 

Following Protocol – It is strongly advised to adhere to the prescribed recovery protocol and seek the guidance of a physical therapist for a safe and effective post-surgery


The Pendulum Swing – The Pendulum Swing is a safe exercise to perform to gently work on shoulder range of motion. It involves leaning forward, letting the affected arm hang down toward the ground, and moving the body in a circular motion to produce gentle shoulder movement. The key is to relax the affected arm and drive the movement with the body. This should be done for 20-30 repetitions in each direction and repeated 3-5 times a day.

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