Playing Golf After Rotator Cuff Surgery

by Patrick Cameron
    Rotator cuff surgery has a six-month recuperation timetable.

    Rotator cuff surgery has a six-month recuperation timetable.

    laparoscopic surgery image by Grzegorz Kwolek from

    Your rotator cuff is a key part of your shoulder's flexibility. Located on the back side of your shoulder, the rotator cuff is made up of muscles and tendons that connect the bone in your upper arm with your shoulder blade and keep your arm bone in the shoulder socket. Because the golf game requires arm and shoulder movement, playing golf after going through rotator cuff surgery requires a number of things, chief among them time. Even with today's arthoscopic surgery advances, recovering sufficiently for playing a game of golf requires roughly six months of rest and rehabilitation.

    Items you will need

    • Sling
    • Resistance bands
    • Light weights

    Step 1

    Keep the shoulder immobilized for anywhere from one to two weeks after surgery. A heavy-duty sling will allow the shoulder to stay in place while the sutures heal.

    Step 2

    Switch the arm to a less restrictive sling for the next month, taking it out from time to time to let the joints bend and stretch.

    Step 3

    Start doing light range of motion exercises after a month to a month and a half. Because the arm has been supported by a sling, you'll have most likely lost a lot of flexibility in the shoulder. Don't push it.

    Step 4

    Move to light resistance bands after two months of recuperation time. Your inner sutures should be healed by now and it's just a matter of building back the muscle.

    Step 5

    Graduate to heavier resistance bands, very light weights and flexibility exercises after four months.

    Step 6

    Increase your muscle strength to help support the shoulder. Resistance bands, weights and isometrics will help in this process.


    • To avoid reinjury, you need to baby your shoulder for at least six months.
    • Always consult your surgeon before resuming any activities, including golf.
    • Use a licensed physical therapist when starting recuperation exercises.
    • After your shoulder is 100 percent, continue to build the muscle in the area to avoid reinjury in the future.


    • Don't overdo it. Rotator cuff surgery is major surgery and you need to give the shoulder time to heal. Never do anything that causes you pain and be patient.

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    Photo Credits

    • laparoscopic surgery image by Grzegorz Kwolek from

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