When Can I Stop Wearing The Sling?

Joseph Rosi
May 2, 2023

After undergoing surgery, such as a rotator cuff repair, one of the common questions that patients ask is when they can finally stop wearing the sling. The sling, as ordered by the surgeon, is a crucial element of the rehabilitation process and helps in the healing and recovery of the surgical area such as your shoulder.

Why Do I Need To Wear A Sling After Rotator Cuff Surgery?

After rotator cuff repair, patients are usually advised to wear a sling to limit the movement of the arm and promote proper healing of the tendons. The sling holds the arm in a safe and stable position which helps decrease shoulder pain and prevents further injuries.

When should I wear a sling?

In most cases, patients are advised to wear a sling all day and night for the first 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. After that, patients can remove the sling to do gentle exercises.

What happens if I don’t wear a sling?

It is important to wear your sling as ordered by the surgeon. If you don’t wear the sling, you increase the risk of further injuring your shoulder, causing more pain and extending your recovery time.

How long should I wear a sling?

Typically, patients need to wear the sling for the first four to six weeks after rotator cuff surgery. However, the length of time that you need to wear a sling varies depending on your doctor’s instructions. Some patients may need to wear the sling longer than six weeks if their shoulder takes longer to heal.

What Can I Expect At Home After Rotator Cuff Surgery?

How long do I need to be at home?

After your surgery, you will need to rest at home for at least a week. During this time, you should avoid any strenuous activities that may damage your shoulder. It is important to arrange for someone to assist you at home as your affected arm may be weak and immobile.

What activities can I do at home?

During your recovery period, you can do gentle exercises that do not require you to use your affected arm. Examples of gentle exercises include walking and stretching your legs. Ask your physical therapist about specific exercises you can do at home.

What should I avoid doing at home?

You should avoid doing any heavy lifting, pulling, or pushing as these activities may cause shoulder pain or injure your shoulder. You should also avoid driving and other activities that require you to use your affected arm.

When Can I Stop Wearing The Sling?

When can I remove the sling temporarily?

Your doctor may advise you to take the sling off temporarily to do some gentle exercises that help improve your range of motion. You will need to put the sling back on once you have finished your exercises.

When can I stop wearing the sling completely?

You can stop wearing the sling completely once your orthopaedic surgeon tells you it is okay to do so.

What signs should I look for to know if I’m ready to stop using the sling?

Your surgeon will give you specific instructions, but generally, you can stop using the sling when you no longer feel pain and have regained a certain range of motion. It is important to follow your doctor’s guidance as removing the sling too early can cause re-injury or prolong your healing time.

How Do I Move My Shoulder After Rotator Cuff Surgery?

When can I start moving my shoulder?

Rehabilitation is an important aspect of the recovery process after rotator cuff surgery. Early motion is beneficial in regaining strength and improving range of motion. Depending on your surgery type and surgeon’s instructions, you may start doing gentle exercises to move your arm soon after surgery.

What exercises can I do?

You should ask your physical therapist or orthopaedic surgeon about specific exercises that you can do to help regain motion in your shoulder. Range of motion exercises, specifically pendulum and pulley exercises, are two examples of exercises that help stretch and trengthen the shoulder muscles.

How long does it take to get my full range of motion back?

Recovery time varies for each patient as it depends on the severity of your rotator cuff tear and the type of surgery you had. It can take several weeks or even months to achieve full range of motion.

When Should I Call The Doctor?

What are the signs of a complication?

If you experience any sudden increase in shoulder pain or stiffness, swelling, redness, signs of infection, or numbness in your arm, you should contact your doctor right away as this may indicate a complication.

What should I do if I’m in a lot of pain?

If you experience significant shoulder pain that cannot be managed with prescribed pain medications, you should contact your surgeon or therapist and let them know.

How do I schedule a follow-up appointment with my doctor?

Before leaving the hospital or clinic, make sure to ask your surgeon about scheduling a follow-up appointment. You may need to schedule several follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and adjust your rehabilitation plan as needed. In conclusion, wearing a shoulder sling after rotator cuff surgery is crucial in promoting proper healing and preventing re-injury. Patients must adhere to their doctor’s recommendations regarding the length of time they need to wear the sling and the exercises they can do to manage the pain and regain their range of motion.


Q: When can I stop wearing the sling?

A: The duration of sling immobilization after rotator cuff repair depends on the type of surgery you had. Generally, for arthroscopic surgery, you may require a sling for the first few days after surgery. But most patients can get rid of the sling after a week or two. Ask your doctor when you can safely remove the sling to start using your shoulder and arm out of the sling.

Q: What is rotator cuff repair?

A: Rotator cuff repair is a type of surgery that is performed to repair torn rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder. This surgery is usually done arthroscopically, which means that small incisions are made in the skin and surgical instruments are inserted through the incisions. This allows the surgeon to see and work inside the shoulder joint without making a large incision.

Q: Do all shoulder surgeries require sling immobilization?

A: No, not all shoulder surgeries require sling immobilization. However, for surgeries involving the repair of rotator cuff tendons, sling immobilization is usually necessary for at least a few days following the procedure to allow the shoulder to heal.

Q: How long should I keep the sling on after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair?

A: The recommended duration of sling immobilization after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair can vary, but typically, it is for the first few days after surgery. Your doctor may then allow you to remove the sling to start moving your shoulder within the first week or two after the procedure.

Q: Can I move my shoulder while wearing the sling?

A: Yes, while wearing the sling, you should be able to move your shoulder to some extent. However, you should follow your doctor’s instructions and avoid any movements or activities that could damage the shoulder during the healing period.

Q: Can I use my shoulder and arm out of the sling?

A: It depends on your specific situation. Always ask your doctor before attempting to use your shoulder or arm out of the sling. Generally, you will need to wait at least a few days or more, depending on the type of repair or surgery and your surgeon’s instructions, before you can start using your shoulder and arm again.

Q: What can I expect during the first few days after surgery?

A: During the first few days after surgery, you may experience pain and discomfort. Your doctor will likely prescribe pain medication to help alleviate your discomfort. You may need to keep your arm in a sling, and you will need to avoid certain movements, such as lifting, bending, and twisting, until your surgeon clears you.

Q: Can I resume my daily activities after surgery?

A: It depends on the nature of your daily activities. You will need to avoid any activities that put stress on your shoulder or could cause further injury. Your doctor will provide you with a list of specific dos and don’ts to follow to ensure that you heal properly and without complications.

Q: When can I start physical therapy after surgery?

A: Your doctor will likely refer you to a physical therapist who will help you regain strength and range of motion in your shoulder after surgery. The timing of starting physical therapy can vary based on the procedure you had, but it is typically within days or weeks after arthroscopic surgery.

Q: When can I have total shoulder replacement surgery after rotator cuff repair?

A: The timing of total shoulder replacement surgery depends on your individual circumstances. Some people may require a total shoulder replacement if they have extensive damage to the shoulder joint or if they do not respond to other forms of treatment. However, this procedure is typically not done for several months after rotator cuff repair.

Table Of Contents

Request for appointment

© 2024 Alinea Performance ® . All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy