Preparing for Shoulder Surgery: The Essential Guide for Comfortable Recovery

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Celebrating 5 weeks post surgery!

Having your arm in a sling can make it hard to get dressed, sleep at night, or even just be comfortable throughout the day. Any of these conditions can limit how you get through the day!

✔️ Broken Arm

✔️ Fractured Bone

✔️ Subluxation

✔️ Post Surgery Recovery

✔️ Rotator Cuff Injury

✔️ Shoulder Dislocation

✔️ Arm Immobility

Video Blogs of My Recovery

Having rotator cuff shoulder surgery means being without the use of an arm for several weeks. Preparing ahead of time can make life easier. I produced several videos in which  I detailed my recovery at week one, 11 days and 18 days post surgery. I emphasize information that will be helpful to you as you prepare for your surgery so that you will know more about what to expect at home and what to purchase and do ahead of time to make your life easier. And keep scrolling, I also have videos explaining what not to do after surgery, how to live with a sling, and a short video of rotator cuff surgery.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Here is the link to nutritious, easy to prep and minimal prep meal ideas that I refer to in the videos:

Recommended Products for Post Rotator Cuff Surgery

After having rotator cuff surgery, I discovered the products that make my one-armed life easier. I have put together a list for you of items you might consider. To save you time and effort, I researched the best products on selected Amazon Choice or Top Sellers where I could.

I have also a list of resources that I found helpful so I have linked them below under the shopping items. So keep scrolling!

Foam Wedge to incline your upper body can help you get in a comfortable resting and sleeping position.

For physical therapy, you will need a moist heat pack. I LOVE this one. It drapes perfectly and comfortably on my shoulders and warms the area to loosen your muscles and get them ready for stretching and mobility exercises.

This shoulder pulley will be used in your physical therapy at home to improve the range of motion for your shoulder.

Slip-on shoes. I have several but found these easiest to get on alone.

An easy to slip on elastic bodice sun dress makes it easier to get dressed. This one is highly rated and comes in a variety of colors.

Foaming Shower Soap is easy to rinse quickly

Long Handled Shower Brush to wash hard to reach areas.

This laptop pillow desk is #1 on Amazon and for a reason! It is adjustable to 8 different angles for easy use.

This shirt for ladies has been my favorite comfortable, functional and attractive top. Getting dressed in regular shirts is difficult. To make it easier, wear over sized tops. I spent most of my time in my son’s t-shirts and this top.

This is an awesome post shoulder surgery shirt for both men and women. The snaps open up the shirt to allow for easy on and off.

I kept this medical bedside table beside my bed or recliner stocked with meds, snacks, water, pen, and paper. It slid easily under my bed so I could get some work or reading done using the tilting table.

This pressure cane is to work out tight areas in the back and shoulders and will be used for range of motion in physical therapy.

I happened to have had this travel pillow before surgery and am so glad I did. It contorts into different shapes defending on where I needed it.

I practically lived in these elastic waist, loose fitting, no waist tie Under Armour pant.

My physical therapist uses these ice packs. It is flexible and you can conform it around your shoulder. Put it inside a pillow case before use. Choose the large or smaller size.

There are several sizes. I am small and feel that the 11 x 14 that I bought is a bit large.

Keep these non-perishable snacks handy to eat when you take your medication. They do not need refrigeration so they are perfect for keeping on your bedside table for middle of the night meds.

Use Aquaphor to aid healing and prevent scarring. The first line of defense is to keep the wound clean, moist, and covered in the early days and weeks of healing. Keep the wound hydrated with Aquaphor, as this promotes faster healing. Apply three times daily for 1 to 3 weeks to maintain wound bed moisture. 3 Month Post Surgery Update: My wounds healed really well! My doctor was even impressed with how invisible they are. I used the Aquaphor twice a day for 10 weeks.


The sling I was sent home with from the hospital was crummy. This one is so much better. the first one has a waist belt, the second does not. The third an abduction pad. Ask your doctor which one is best for you and the surgery you had. Another tip, choose one with a thin waist belt. The one I was sent home from the hospital was thick and bothered me as I layed on it.

My doctor wanted me to take a combo of Oxycodone, Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen  after my rotator cuff surgery. This a great price for Ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

Laxative. Being on pain pills can lengthen the amount of time it takes stool to pass through your gastrointestinal system. After three days the prescription laxative was not working so my doctor recommended the addition of Senna for natural relief.

Ladies! An epilator is a must! It is difficult to shave your legs with only one arm but easy to do with an epilator. I have been using one for years and love mine.


Helpful Resources

This page explains what not to do after surgery and also has a short video of rotator cuff surgery:

This talks about how to prevent a failed surgery:

This page gives directions for some of the physical therapy exercises you might be prescribed:

Physical Therapy First Six Weeks (be sure to do what YOUR Physical Therapist says)

Physical therapy video of some 7-12 week Phase 2 exercises:



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