Home > PreSurgery Tips
My mother had rotator cuff surgery two times.  Many of these suggestions will also work well for shoulder replacement, mastectomy / breast cancer or other surgeries that will limit the use of your arms. Below are some tips and suggestions that I have come up with from my mother’s own shoulder surgery.  These are some things that we discovered doing or having available that were helpful before surgery.

1. Clothing – Of course I recommend Shoulder Shirts™ for shirts and sleeping in.  You may want to get a couple pairs of pants that have elastic in the waist.  Fastening zippers and buttons is difficult with a brace on.  You can find comfortable elastic pants in many of the discount department stores’ athletic departments.  I have been told running bras that you can step into work best once you are allowed to wear one.  Some people also like ones that fasten in the front.  Be sure to try them on to see which work best for you to get on before you surgery.

2. Shoes – You will want to be sure to have a pair of slip-on shoes.  Tying your shoes is next to impossible with the brace on your arm. Do not wear flip flops as it is too easy to trip in them and the last thing you want to do is fall at this time.  Also if you need to wear socks, use the lower cut styles of socks.  Remember, it will be very difficult to pull up socks over your calves at this time.  

3. Practice, Practice, Practice!! – You should practice not using your arm before the surgery.  This is especially important in the bathroom.  Try using your washcloth with your good hand, washing, styling and combing your hair, brushing your teeth, shaving, putting on makeup, and using the toilet.  You will be amazed how much you use that arm.  Practicing now allows you to be clumsy before you are uncomfortable from the surgery.

4. Items to have on hand – Shampoo and soap containers with pump tops are much easier to use than trying to pop open the tops.  Be sure to have a new tube of toothpaste as trying to squish out the last of your old tube is not easy at this time.  Even getting out a new bar of soap will avoid trying to open the wrapper with that frustration.  If you have a caregiver that is sleeping in the other room, a pan and spoon work well (sometimes too well) to bang on and wake them up to get them in to help you.  (You may need some help getting up to go into the bathroom the first few nights.)

5. Food – Again, practice eating with just your one hand. You may find it difficult.  Using a knife isn’t easy so try ahead of time to see how well you can handle it.  Make some dishes that you can put in the freezer and microwave them.  (Be sure to put them in containers that you can remove the lids.)  You will need to drink lots of water and eat plenty of health foods and snacks.