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Shoulder Replacement can't lift arm

jwiltsjjwilts Posts: 1

I had shoulder replacement surgery about 3 months ago. I still can't lift my arm very high. Is this normal? It's very frustrating ......I can get it consistently up to my waist..did my surgery not work????. It sounds like most people are already lifting their arms at 3 months...help



  • hello jwilts!
    welcome to arthritis-health and how to start using our system
    new member information guideline / checklist 

    please use the guideline above to tell us more about yourself.
    below is a link to an article written by ron, who had total shoulder replacement. hopefully this will give you some insight as to what you are going through.
    shoulder surgery

    there is also an ongoing discussion by wakecrazy, total shoulder replacement january 2019, who is having surgery today.
    recovery takes time, patience and a lot of hard work. take care and keep us posted on how you are doing.

    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical History
  • jwiltsjjwilts Posts: 1

    I am 65, female, athletic all my life......wanted to keep rock climbing and playing racquetball....My shoulder was in pieces.....torn bicep....(could only attach 1 head so it's really a unicep now)  lots of arthritis, ....and my hand received the thumb joint surgery....(took bone out and replaced it with tendon/lig)  had both done at same time......

    I need to know how long it takes to lift ones arm after surgery....and no one will answer that....(is longer than 3 months normal)

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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 129


    Was your replacement a total normal complete replacement or a reverse shoulder replacement?   Recovery time for each of those is quite different.  The important aspect of both of these types of surgeries is that all the arthritis that was causing the bone on bone condition was removed.  Plastic and titanium replaced the human ball and socket.

    I had the total complete shoulder replacement and it took about 12 months before I was back to normal, in fact better than normal.

    It was a very painful recovery.  At least 2 hours a day between formal physical therapy and home exercises.  For the first 2 months, it was almost unbearable taking my arm for a resting position and moving it as high up as it could.   For my second shoulder replacement, I purchased a home pulley system that I could do the same thing.

    By the time I was through, I had better range of motion in both shoulders than I did before the surgery.  I can lift up my arms straight up in a touchdown pose!   Even 10 years prior to my surgery could I even come close to that.

    So, to answer you last question, is 3 months normal?  Well, most of the pain in the shoulder and normal movements should be, but the ability to lift your arms can take much longer.  It was a gradual progression for me.  Baby steps along the way until I reached my goal.

    But it did take dedicated daily and difficult exercises to get there.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
     I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com  
  • jwiltsjjwilts Posts: 1

    Thank you for the answer....no one else would answer the question, for whatever the reason...... So I think my healing is slow but is working.....

    I had 1/2 replacement.....new metal ball on humerus, kept the bone on socket part as I wanted to play sports and that was the only way I could play or climb again..... Hand/thumb surgery seems to be healing nicely....I just want to be able to lift my art past my waist......

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