For those following along with my post-op journey, this marks days 15 – 21. I saw the MD for my first post-op follow-up on Friday June 4 (day 15 post-op). He told me I could get rid of the pillow that came with my sling. I was thrilled as it is summertime and that thing was bulky and hot.

Surgical pictures

You can see from the bone spur outlined in red above that my tear was an caused by repetitive micro trauma over time. Eventually, the tendon became tattered and torn. All the years of weight training probably contributed to some of this, as well as my type 2 acromion. I ended up with three total anchors  and a suture bridge repair.


I wish I could say all my years stretching patients made rehab easy for me, but that is not the case. Stiffness, weakness, soreness and atrophy were now a reality for me. My external rotation motion was beginning to improve, however, overhead flexion continued to be painful and stiff. My PT could get me to about 90 degrees of flexion while laying on my back, but with a significant amount of discomfort. It was more comfortable in the scapular plane.

The visits consisted of:

  1. Heat x 10 minutes
  2. Pendulums
  3. PROM by the PT for about 30 minutes – external rotation (ER) and scaption
  4. Passive cane ER in scapular plane and seated
  5. Table slides and seated forward bow (more in scapular plane)
  6. Active side-lying scapular movement – elevation, depression, protraction/retraction
  7. Scapular retractions (shoulder blade squeezes)
  8. Game Ready

I continued with my home program 2x/day along with ice and the use of ibuprofen daily to help reduce inflammation. I began spending more time out of the sling while seated as the MD gave me the clearance to do so, while keeping the sling on at all times outside the house.


I began driving short distances at the end of week three. However, I will be honest when saying that it is impossible to make hard turns or forceful movements if needed with the steering wheel using one hand. So, if you consider driving this early on, I would advise you to keep it limited to short trips and do not use the involved arm at all.


At the end of three weeks, I felt as if my pain was higher than anticipated while my motion was a bit stiffer than I had hoped, namely in elevation. I wanted to push the mobility, yet I also found myself holding back on that as it seemed that inflammation and pain was the primary reason for the stiffness. It is a delicate balance pushing for motion and allowing the inflammation after surgery to subside, so no need to push too hard or possible exacerbate the inflammatory process.

All in all, my shoulder was beginning to feel little less stiff and useless. Donning/doffing my shirt and bathing was staring to get easier so that was a positive sign. Sleeping was still not great, despite my efforts to use a surgical pillow and prop my head up in bed. But, it is still very early in the process and I know it will be a long, tedious recovery. The important thing right now is to not jeopardize my healing based on impatience or aggressive stretching. My doctor reminded me that stiffness = healing. So for now, I must be a good patient and continue to follow the guidelines and protocols set forth by my surgeon. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks!