If you tore your shoulder's rotator cuff while playing a game of football or basketball with your friends, you may wonder what you can do to recover from the injury faster. Along with following your doctor's instructions, avoid making the following mistakes while recovering from a rotator cuff tear.
Moving Objects with Your Affected Arm
When you have a tear in your rotator cuff, the muscle will be weak until the damage heals. If you try to lift or move objects with your affected arm, you will most likely feel a sharp pain in your shoulder since the movement will aggravate the injury.
If you try to use your arm to pick up items too often, you run the risk of tearing the muscle even further. Whenever you are active, keep your arm in the sling that your doctor gave you. Having your arm in the sling will discourage you from absentmindedly using it.
Lifting Your Unsupported Arm Overhead
Another thing you could avoid doing while recovering from a rotator cuff tear is lifting your unsupported arm over your head. Since the weakened muscle cannot fully support your shoulder, you will increase your chance of making the injury worse and exacerbating your pain.
If you have to have your arm overhead to dress yourself, try to have someone hold your arm for you to reduce the extra weight and relieve the pressure. If you live alone, however, try to put your shirt on the affected arm first while it is hanging down. Then, pull the rest of the shirt on without lifting the arm.
Keeping Your Shoulder Completely Immobile
While certain movements can worsen your symptoms and your injury, keeping your shoulder completely immobile is something you should avoid doing. If you do not move your shoulder regularly, the muscles can cramp and seize up.
If your muscles seize up, this could delay the healing process because blood flow is reduced. Also, you would need additional therapy and time to loosen the muscles back up.
If you are not already prescribed physical therapy, speak with your orthopedist about seeing one. Also, ask them to show you exercises that are gentle enough to not cause you pain while keeping your shoulder mobile.
Avoiding the above mistakes can help your shoulder heal quicker after sustaining a rotator cuff injury. For more information about caring for and exercising your shoulder, speak with an orthopedic sports medicine physician, like one from Associates In Orthopedics & Sports Medicine PC.