HOT TOPIC: Early Versus Delayed Physical Therapy After Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair

Abstract

Physical therapy is an important component in the postoperative management of patients undergoing arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. Debate exists, however, with regard to the appropriate timing of this therapy. The classical approach stresses early passive range-of-motion exercise after surgery in an effort to minimize postoperative stiffness. However, there is concern that early therapy may result in unwanted strain at the repair site, which may not be optimal for rotator cuff healing. Recent studies have demonstrated no significant differences in shoulder range of motion at 1 year postoperatively using either an early or delayed range of motion protocol. The timing of therapy after arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery continues to be an area of investigation, and currently both early and delayed rehabilitation protocols are successfully used.

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