Post-Shoulder Replacement Surgery Exercises

After your shoulder replacement operation, it is important to perform certain exercises to help strengthen your shoulder and arm and encourage recovery.

The following exercises may be recommended by your doctor and should be performed as instructed.

Elbow Range of Motion

Before starting this exercise, remove your sling. With your arm bent at a 90-degree angle, bend and straighten your arm as though brushing something off the front of you. This exercise should be repeated 30 times, three times a day. This exercise will help avoid stiffness in your elbow after being in a sling for long periods of time.

Grip Strengthening

Begin this exercise by making a tight fist or by gripping a rubber ball. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then release. Repeat this exercise 30 times, three times a day. This exercise works your hand and helps prevent blood clots.

Scapula Retraction

Begin this exercise by standing straight. Pinch your shoulder blades together and hold them for 10 seconds. Then relax and repeat the exercise again. Repeat this motion 30 times, three times a day. This exercise strengthens the muscles around your shoulder blade and allows your shoulder to move more effectively.

Supported Arm Pendulum

Start this exercise by bending over at your waist. Support yourself by placing your hand, on the side that did not undergo surgery, on a table or chair. Using your other arm, make small clockwise and counterclockwise circles. Repeat this exercise 30 times, three times a day.

External Rotation

Begin this exercise by bending the arm, on the side of the recovering shoulder, at a 90-degree angle. Keeping your elbow against your body, use your other hand to gently rotate your forearm outward until your arm is pointing in front of you. Repeat this exercise 30 times, 3 times a day.


Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Sports Medicine Center
1500 Owens St.
San Francisco, CA 94158
Appointments: (415) 353–2808
Main: (415) 353–9400
Fax: (415) 885–3862

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