How I Rehab Rotator Cuff Repairs [Physical Therapy Case Study]

By dpope2020

October 27, 2023

athletictrainer, chiro, chiropractic, correctiveexercise, dan pope, DPT, DPTstudent, exercise, fitness, fitness pain free, mobility, personaltrainer, physical therapy, physicaltherapist, physicaltherapy, physio, physiotherapy, rotator cuff, rotator cuff exercises, rotator cuff injury, rotator cuff repair, rotator cuff repair surgery, rotator cuff surgery, rotator cuff surgery recovery, rotator cuff tear, Shoulder Pain, shoulder surgery, sportsrehab, strengthandconditioning, torn rotator cuff

How I Rehab Rotator Cuff Repairs [Physical Therapy Case Study]

To go along with today's episode I have a nice infographic to share...

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In today's video we go over How I Rehab Rotator Cuff Repairs [Physical Therapy Case Study]: 

  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 2:02 Subjective: Who was the patient and what was the injury?
  • 11:53 What did the post-operative report say?
  • 14:48 What does rehab look like at week 2?
  • 21:04 Week 2-8: [Goals of early rehab, how to protect the surgical site]
  • 36:29 Week 8-10: Physical therapy program [Introducing strength and NMES]
  • 38:23 Week 10-12: Physical therapy program [Using blood flow restriction]
  • 40:43 Week 12-14: Physical therapy program 
  • 42:12 Week 14-16: Physical therapy program [Bringing back weight training]
  • 43:56 Month 4: Physical therapy program [Strength testing]
  • 50:44 Month 5: Physical therapy program
  • 52:13 Month 6+: Physical therapy program [Return to sport - CrossFit TM]

All cuffed out,


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  1. University of Delaware Protocols:

  2. Stegeman D, Hermens H. Standards for suface electromyography: The European project Surface EMG for non-invasive assessment of muscles (SENIAM). 2007;1

  3. Edwards PK, Kwong PWH, Ackland T, Wang A, Donnelly CJ, Ebert JR. Electromyographic Evaluation of Early-Stage Shoulder Rehabilitation Exercises Following Rotator Cuff Repair. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2021 Dec 1;16(6):1459-1469. doi: 10.26603/001c.29513. PMID: 34909253; PMCID: PMC8637301.

  4. Long, J. L., Ruberte Thiele, R. A., Skendzel, J. G., Jeon, J., Hughes, R. E., Miller, B. S., & Carpenter, J. E. (2010). Activation of the Shoulder Musculature During Pendulum Exercises and Light Activities. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 40(4), 230–237. doi:10.2519/jospt.2010.3095

  5. Sgroi TA, Cilenti M. Rotator cuff repair: post-operative rehabilitation concepts. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2018 Mar;11(1):86-91. doi: 10.1007/s12178-018-9462-7. PMID: 29399735; PMCID: PMC5825343.

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  7. Yoon SH, Lee DH, Jung MC, Park YU, Lim SY. Electromyographic Activities of the Rotator Cuff Muscles During Walking, Eating, and Washing. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2016 Nov;95(11):e169-e176. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000000587. PMID: 27763907.