Shoulder Rehab Update- 6 weeks Postop

My repaired shoulder is doing pretty well 6 weeks out. I just had my fourth session of physical therapy and my PT, Rob, says my range of motion is very good so far, about in the 90th percentile. And today after my fourth session I got remeasured, and all the joint angles have improved by over 20 degrees since the first session. Go goniometer! Rob is a great guy, knowledgeable about orthopedics in general and with decades of experience. But as an ex baseball pitcher he really knows shoulders. So far we have been limited to AAROM (active-assist range of motion) which means take the joint through it’s range of motion without using its muscles. So either Rob does the work, or when I’m doing my homework, my left arm does the work. It’s only a bit painful when he tries to push the envelope in internal and external rotation, to be expected because that directly targets the rotator cuff. After six weeks I’m allowed to start working the muscles a bit so I’m excited to see what changes at my next session.

I’ve been strength training diligently with my legs, core, and left side only. The dominant right side, which has been resting 6 weeks, does not seem to have lost too much muscle. I’m hoping it will get its strength back pretty quickly when I can start using it. I’ve been out of the sling for a couple of weeks. When I walk, I let the right arm dangle and my body’s motion causes it to naturally swing. That feels pretty good and the shoulder does not ache after.

I’ve been working out a lot on my gerbil wheel (bike trainer). I’m up to about 90 minutes per session. I at least have the garage door open so can see the park across the way but it’s still tedious compared to being on the road. I see my surgeon for the next followup on Aug 1, and hopefully will get cleared for outdoor riding (I know, I know, no crashing). My technique for getting around boredom is intervals or pseudo-intervals to break it up. Pseudo-intervals are mixing something up without necessarily going at a harder pace. So for example I alternate seated and standing riding for a few minutes each multiple times, which is a lot more interesting than grinding away seated for 30 minutes or more straight. For “real” intervals I go harder, which I do multiple times seated and then standing.

It would be a disaster if I fell to the right so the trainer is secured very sturdily. I have the front fork held in the custom bracket I made, and the left handlebar is secured to a strut from the wall. The fan only partially replaces missing airflow from moving.

The electric assist is handy for intervals. I do the hard part at no assist, then for the easy part I kick in some assist so I don’t need to keep shifting.

My left achilles, which I strained in the fall on May 8th that tore my rotator cuff, is finally 100%, So I can walk for up to a couple of hours. I make it more challenging by carrying a single hand weight on the left side or using a pole on the left side, or going uphill or doing stairs. For stairs the parking garage at 4th street, downtown, is my “stairmaster”:

I usually do 8 reps of the six flights, taking the elevator down in between (I do cooldown exercises on the elevator). This garage is lightly used midweek mornings so I usually have the stairs and elevator to myself. There’s a nice view from the top. The tarantula sculpture is a bit controversial. The shiny bits on the body are car headlights, which light up at night. I think he’s kind of cute but that might not be a popular view among my neighbors.

I’m also doing a lot of hilly streets on the West side of Morgan Hill, on the slopes of our iconic El Toro mountain. I won’t hike off road until I can use poles with both hands.

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