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What to Wear After Shoulder/Rotator Cuff Surgery

Every year, approximately 200,000 Americans undergo shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, and another 400,000 undergo shoulder surgery for tendonitis or partial tears. If you or someone you know is undergoing shoulder surgery, we’ll share five rotator cuff surgery recovery tips to help make things go as smoothly as possible, along with some after shoulder surgery clothing recommendations they’ll be glad to have.

Although many shoulder and rotator cuff surgeries typically take less than three hours, recovery time can last anywhere from 12 to 16 weeks post-op, with full recovery time taking as long as six months. In this time, patients should limit activities that can interfere with recovery, including driving, lifting (especially overhead), repetitive arm activities, or anything that could cause pressure and strain to the shoulder. Before heading to the hospital, it’s important to evaluate what clothes to wear after shoulder surgery that will be warm, comfortable, and supportive enough for the patient’s needs.


What to Wear After Shoulder Surgery or Rotator Cuff Surgery

A Smart Fit Hospital Gown, Socks & Beanie

Limiting strain put on the shoulder is a critical part of recovery. HUGGA considered this factor when creating the Never Give Up Hospital Gown, designing it with snap button closures extending from the neck down to the elbow. 

The gown even features a double-sided zipper front, offering a secure front enclosure system never requiring a patient to reach behind and tie strings and chance further injury or slow recovery. This gown is a comfortable, easy-on, easy-off clothes option to wear after shoulder surgery. 

Paired with ultra-plush, stay-put hospital grip socks and a fleece beanie hat for cancer patients (or any patient who finds hospitals to be too chilly), you’ll have what to wear after shoulder surgery for optimal comfort in the bag.

A Lightweight Robe

Are you wondering what to wear after rotator cuff surgery or shoulder surgery once you get home? The HUGGA Hospital Robe is a great place to start.

Traditional shirts and sweatshirts are not the kinds of clothes to wear after shoulder surgery since moving the arm overhead could cause pain or damage and slow down recovery time. A soft-touch, lightweight robe is ideal for keeping cozy without overextending the arm and shoulder. Additionally, a robe offers more freedom of movement and extra space for a sling or bandaging to comfortably fit beneath without forcing it to fit or making you go without a warm layer simply because you cannot find anything that can accommodate your needs.


Five Rotator Cuff Surgery Recovery Tips

Aside from following the surgeon’s instructions and taking advantage of physical therapy, here are five other rotator cuff surgery recovery tips for a successful, speedy recovery.

1. Sleep in a Partially Upright Position

Laying down flat after surgery can put extra pressure on the shoulder. To reduce the amount of pressure applied to the area and ultimately sleep more comfortably, try sleeping in a partially upright position. This can be done using pillows to prop you up or by sleeping in a recliner or comfortable armchair.

2. Wear a Sling

Unless instructed by the doctor or actively working through physical therapy, arm movement should be significantly restricted. Regardless of if you think you need a sling or not, wearing a sling will help stabilize your arm and shoulder and prevent any new damage from occurring.

3. Limit Pain Medication As Much As Possible

While comfort should always be a top priority in recovery, sometimes taking too much pain medication can mask pain in a harmful way, like during physical therapy. Not recognizing pain while performing rehabilitative movements could make it easier to “overdo” it and end up setting your own recovery back. 

4. Avoid Certain Movements Until Cleared by a Doctor

Since most shoulder surgeries have a recovery period lasting up to six months, it can be easy to grow tired of restricted movement. However, until a doctor instructs you otherwise, it is critical to your recovery that certain movements be avoided at all costs. These include lifting objects, reaching behind your body, raising your arm overhead or moving it to the side, and putting weight on your shoulder. There are plenty of physical activities you can try that do not require upper body movement that you may want to explore if life in an arm sling leaves you feeling restricted. 

5. Pace Yourself and Your Recovery

After everything you’ve gone through, from the pain to the surgery to recovery, the last thing you want to do is throw it all away by doing too much too soon and ending up right back where you started. Give yourself the chance to fully recover, listen to the doctor, listen to your body, and continue to put in the work that needs to be done to recover successfully.

HUGGA makes it simple to find the right hospital-grade clothing designed to help you heal, no matter what it is you’re healing from. Shop HUGGA today to view our hospital wear or Hospital Care Packages. Then, visit the HUGGA Blog to discover more helpful tips and ideas for making your hospital stay as comfortable as can be.


Yonathan Azran 

Yonathan is Founder and CEO of HUGGA. He was diagnosed with acute Crohn's Disease at age 7 and spent most of his young life in and out of hospitals. He recognized the critical gap in hospital care and decided to launch HUGGA, thereby revolutionizing patient wear by focusing on the actual patient experience from the patient's point of view.


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