Living with a Shoulder Replacement: Tips for Daily Activities and Long-Term Care

The path to a functional and fulfilling life after a shoulder replacement surgery is one marked by thoughtful considerations, informed choices, and dedicated care. Shoulder replacement, a surgical procedure that involves replacing the damaged or deteriorated parts of the shoulder joint with artificial components, can restore the joint’s mobility and alleviate pain for those grappling with shoulder ailments. However, as this surgical intervention brings about a change, it’s essential to navigate daily activities and long-term maintenance with careful discernment and care. 

1. Adapting Daily Activities

Making a new shoulder replacement work in your daily life starts with making small changes to your daily routines. Do consider prioritising techniques that reduce strain and optimise function for the well-being of replaced joints. 

  • Lifting Techniques: When lifting objects, the distribution of weight is important. Engage your leg muscles to share the load and avoid excessive strain on the replaced shoulder. Holding items close to your body and maintaining a straight back can prevent undue stress on the joint.
  • Sleeping Positions: To promote healing and prevent discomfort, consider sleeping on your back with a supportive pillow. Placing a pillow between your arm and torso can alleviate strain on the shoulder while maintaining stability.
  • Ergonomic Adjustments: Whether at work or home, cultivating ergonomic environments is crucial. Position your computer, workspace, and furniture efficiently to reduce the need for awkward reaching or prolonged arm use. Employ assistive tools, such as grabbers, to avoid overstretching the replaced shoulder.

2. Exercise and Physical Activity

The journey to a fully functional shoulder encompasses targeted exercises and caution when engaging in physical activities. 

  • Recommended Exercises: Gentle range-of-motion exercises, under the guidance of a physiotherapist, can enhance flexibility and prevent stiffness. Gradually adding resistance exercises with light weights or resistance bands can also aid in rebuilding shoulder strength.
  • Cautious Activities: While the desire to return to regular activities might be strong, certain activities require careful consideration. Do consult your healthcare providers or sports doctors before resuming any contact sports, rigorous weightlifting, and activities involving extreme overhead motions. 

3. Long-Term Care and Maintenance

The maintenance and durability of a rely greatly on consistent care which involves maintaining a proper and dedicated approach to upkeep.  

  • Follow-Up Appointments: Regular follow-up appointments with your shoulder specialist are indispensable as they facilitate monitoring of the joint’s condition, identification of potential issues, and timely interventions if required.
  • Monitoring Signs: Regularly assess for signs of infection, such as swelling, redness, or fever. Similarly, be aware of any unusual sensations or sounds emanating from the replaced joint, as these might indicate loosening.
  • Implant Lifespan: While advancements in medical technology have led to durable implants, learning and understanding the potential need for revision surgery in the distant future can aid in proactive and informed planning.

4. Lifestyle Modifications

Customising lifestyle adjustments fortifies the success and longevity of a shoulder replacement. By carefully adjusting everyday schedules, activities, and habits, the functionality and overall well-being of the replaced shoulder can be enhanced. 

  • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight eases the burden on the joint, reducing the risk of complications. Eating a balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity can support weight management and overall joint health.
  • Mindful Movements: Minimising strenuous activities involving repetitive overhead motions or heavy lifting preserves the integrity of the replaced shoulder. Delegate or modify tasks that exert excessive stress on the joint.
  • Embracing Adaptation: Changing your daily routine to the capabilities of your replaced shoulder is an act of self-care. By listening to your body and heeding its signals, you empower yourself to make choices that encourage wellness. 

For comprehensive guidance and support on living with a shoulder replacement, do reach out to us at Advanced Orthopaedic Centre and Sports Centre. Our orthopaedic specialists are here to guide you every step of the way, whether you require advice on exercise routines, long-term maintenance or making informed lifestyle choices. Understanding the unique needs and challenges you may face with our prosthetic shoulder, we are dedicated to providing you with tailored solutions and care. Contact us today to know more!