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Preparing for Shoulder Replacement Surgery - Maintaining Flexibility and Strength

Preparing for shoulder replacement surgery? Here are a couple stretches you can do to prepare your joint.

Prior to shoulder replacement surgery, a gentle range-of-motion and strengthening program can be beneficial to prepare your joint, and body, for the procedure and recovery.

Below are a couple examples of in-home stretches that may help you prepare for surgery. Before attempting, talk to your surgeon about whether or not these stretches, or others, would be right for you.  

Ask your doctor before you try ANY of these exercises to see if they are right for you. Over-activity or excessive loads may cause damage to joint implants and some or all of these exercises may not be appropriate for your specific condition. Zimmer Biomet does not practice medicine. This information was prepared in conjunction with licensed healthcare professionals.

A gentle shoulder-stretching program using a pulley or stick can be helpful. 

Another simple exercise like walking the wall with your hand can result in gentle stretching without excessive force. 

Pendulum exercises can also be beneficial in maintaining flexibility of the shoulder. These typically involve bending forward and rotating the arm gently. Some patients like to hold a light weight, a can of soup, or other light household item in their hand as well. 

The benefit of these types of exercises is that you are in complete control of the motion. The concern that your shoulder may get into a painful position is reduced. 

Additionally, these exercises can be done on your own, at home, with minimal to no equipment. Thereby saving time and cost. These exercises will also help prepare you for after surgery by getting into a steady routine of shoulder exercises.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and stamina prior to shoulder replacement surgery can also include walking or low impact activities for the lower extremities. Exercise such as walking has been shown to have multiple physical benefits as well as mental benefits. Low impact exercise like walking, bicycle riding, or swimming can help prevent deconditioning and weight gain. These low impact exercises can facilitate you entering surgery in your best shape possible. 

In summary, there are many exercises that can be done prior to shoulder replacement surgery to work on your flexibility, strength, and overall conditioning. It’s important to work with your doctor on a program that’s right for you. Your physician may recommend seeing a physical therapist to teach you gentle exercises that can be incorporated into a regular exercise program. This will help ensure that your form is correct. The key to engagement in this type of program is to let pain be your guide. If exercises cause pain, one should discontinue performing them and speak to their doctor.  

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