Rotator Cuff Repair


  • Performed for Painful symptomatic rotator cuff tear.

Rotator Cuff Repair (Arthroscopic or Open)

  • This protocol is based on maintaining range of movement in the first phase and then gradually building strength in the middle to the last phase.

Pre operation

  • ROM Exercises
  • Maximise shoulder strength of deltoid, intact cuff muscles and scapula stabilisers.

Day 1 - 3 weeks

  • Polysling with body belt
  • Wrist/hand/finger exercises
  • Elbow flex/ext, pro/supination
  • Scapula setting exercises
  • Pendular exercises
  • Passive ROM in all directions as tolerated

3 - 6 weeks

  • Do not force or stretch
  • Gentle isometric exercises in neutral as pain allows
  • Wean off sling
  • Begin active assisted exercises ensuring glenohumeral movement, not scapulothoracic.

6 weeks +

  • Progress to full active exercises in all ranges
  • Begin rotator cuff strengthening (pain free)
  • Closed chain exercise
  • Begin stretching the capsule
  • Begin proprioceptive exercises



4 Weeks

  • >50% pre op passive ROM

6 Weeks

  • Active assisted ROM equal to pre op level

12 Weeks

  • Active ROM equal to pre op level

Return to functional activities


  • 6 Weeks


  • Breaststroke:  6 weeks
  • Freestyle:  3 months


  • 3 Months


  • 3 Months (then guided by the strength of the individual patient)

Return to work           

  • Sedentary job: 3 weeks
  • Manual job:     Guided by Surgeon may be between 3-6 months.



To print a copy of this page click here.