Shoulder Joint Replacement, Care After

Refer to this sheet in the next few weeks. These instructions provide you with information on caring for yourself after your procedure. Your health care provider may also give you more specific instructions. Your treatment has been planned according to current medical practices, but problems sometimes occur. Call your health care provider if you have any problems or questions after your procedure.


After your procedure, your arm and shoulder will typically be stiff and bruised. This will improve over time.


  • You may resume your normal diet and activities as directed by your surgeon.

  • You should regain full use of your shoulder in 6 weeks.

  • Your arm will be in a sling. You will need to wear this for 4–6 weeks after surgery.

  • Wear the sling every night for at least the first month, or as instructed by your surgeon.

  • Do not use your arm to push yourself up in bed or from a chair. This requires too much muscle.

  • Follow the program of home exercises suggested. Do the exercises 4–5 times a day for a month or as directed.

  • Try not to overuse your shoulder. Overusing the shoulder is easy to do if this is the first time you have been pain free in a long time. Early overuse of the shoulder may result in later problems.

  • Do not lift anything heavier than a cup of coffee for the first 6 weeks after surgery.

  • Ask for help. Your health care provider may be able to suggest a clinic or agency for this if you do not have home support.

  • Do not participate in contact sports or do any heavy lifting (more than 10 lb [4.5 kg]) for at least 6 months, or as directed.

  • Apply ice to the injured area for the first 2 days after surgery:

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 20 minutes, 2–3 times a day.

  • Change dressings if necessary or as directed.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your health care provider.

  • Keep all follow-up appointments as directed.


  • You have redness, swelling, or increasing pain in the wound.

  • You see pus coming from the wound.

  • You have a fever.

  • You notice a bad smell coming from the wound or dressing.

  • The edges of the wound break open after sutures or staples have been removed.

  • You have increasing pain with movement of the shoulder.


  • You develop a rash.

  • You have chest pain or shortness of breath.

  • You have any reaction or side effects to medicine given.