— Not an actual patient

Returning to Activity After Shoulder Replacement Surgery

You’ll need to take it easy after shoulder replacement surgery. How quickly you’re able to return to 'normal' daily activities will vary.

In the months following your shoulder replacement surgery, you'll likely be advised to take it easy, and follow specific instructions from your doctor or physical therapist on returning to daily activity. 

The exact timing differs by individual and the ability to return to your “normal” routine depends on what your “normal” is. As early as the day of surgery, most patients will be up, moving, and starting a gentle physical therapy program. It will likely be uncomfortable at first, and should gradually improve as the muscles and tissues around the shoulder heal and get stronger.  

Depending on the way your shoulder surgery is performed, there may be some positions or motions your surgeon wants you to avoid for a period of time to make sure the shoulder heals properly. Patients with sedentary or office jobs may be able to return to work quicker than those with more physically demanding jobs. 

If you’re wondering when you can drive again, it really depends on your specific surgery. The most important thing about driving is that you feel comfortable behind the wheel, and have enough strength and range of motion in your operative shoulder to drive safely. You’ll also need to be off any narcotics. As a general rule, it could be anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks before your doctor clears you to drive again.

You should be able to shower within a few days of surgery. Your surgeon will notify you when it’s safe to remove your bandage. You’ll likely be advised to steer clear of hot tubs and pools until your incision is nicely healed in about 6 weeks.

Most doctors will let you resume sexual activities as soon as you feel able, typically in about 4 to 6 weeks. The key is making sure that you don’t do anything that could cause a problem with your operated shoulder while you are healing. 

In many cases, successful shoulder surgery will relieve your pain and stiffness, and allow you to resume many of your normal daily activities. But, even after you have fully recovered from your surgery, you may have some restrictions. Normal daily activities do not typically include high-impact sports or activities that put excessive strain on your shoulder. Talk to your doctor about safe activities for your particular condition. Before attempting any new activities, talk to your surgeon to see if they feel you are ready. You’ll likely continue to heal and improve for at least 6 months, so patience is key.

Please let us know how useful this article was to you

Thank you for rating this article.


This article was medically reviewed for accuracy by Dr. John Sperling, paid Zimmer Biomet consultant.

Here's more you can do

Share Your Story

People like you need to hear that they're not alone. Your story can make a difference in their life.
I Want to Share My Story

Be Informed. Be Prepared!

Sign up for personalized article recommendations in your email.
Get Updates

About Us

Learn more about who we are and our mission of helping patients find balance in their lives.
About Us

Find a Doctor

Search by speciality, location and more. Find the right provider for you.
Find a Doctor