Total Reverse Shoulder Replacement from a Rheumatoid’s Viewpoint



  • Jean1234
    Jean1234 Member Posts: 10

    Only joined today my doctor told me about it so pleased I joined,you all sound lovely positive ladies I really was feeling down, well no more ,so a big thank you as I have spent a couple of interesting hours no self pity,just good humour I'm happy to read about you all thank you love Jean xxx

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    Glad you have found joining the forum a positive experience; just one thing, I am not a lady, not even at weekends!!

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    Have you been wearing a frock again Mike?

    Nope, and I haven't worn my kilt for a long while either.

  • Airwave!
    Airwave! Member Posts: 2,431

    Mike, enjoy your ‘pink’ side! Haha. Hope the physio is going well. I hope to get a similar op at some point, I keep jumping up and down in the hope they’ll see my head bobbing up and take notice?

    Op to some semblance of feeling better, three months?

    it’s a grin, honest!

  • lindalegs
    lindalegs Member Posts: 5,372


    Dear Airwave,

    I do hope you get your surgery very soon. In answer to your question you feel better within a few weeks! The pre-op pain goes immediately and you get operation healing soreness instead.

    I am just over 2 months post op and do my strengthening exercises lying flat on a bed. For the first time today I have been able to lift my arm and put it above my head UNASSISTED! This is major! My physio rang me last week for a progress report and I'm seeing him in hospital next month. At the end of this week I shall do the same set of exercises but am elevating myself by putting one pillow under my head. Remember that it will be a long slow recovery with, in my case, no joint paint just muscle tenderness.

    Keep jumping, they will see you!

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 28,209

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Legs over your HEAD!!!!!!!!!!!! It was all totally worth it totally I must copy this over for Barbara. Her Macular degeneration make sit tough for her to browse the forum these days.

  • lindalegs
    lindalegs Member Posts: 5,372


    Ha-ha be careful Toni you'll do yourself a mischief with all that excitement! Thanks for doing that for Barbara.

    It doesn't look that major on camera but I am going to put the photos up just to enjoy the fact that when I left hospital I couldn't move my arm unassisted at all!

    Keep safe.

  • lindalegs
    lindalegs Member Posts: 5,372
  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,201

    Well DONE Linda! I am impressed!

    Merry Christmas🎆


  • lindalegs
    lindalegs Member Posts: 5,372


    Thank you Ellen. It just shows how important it is to keep exercising no matter how hard or boring!

    Hope you and yours have a lovely Christmas too.

  • crinkly
    crinkly Member Posts: 117

    I remember the elation of achieving that for the first time after my RTSR - a true 'high' and a great pre-Christmas pressie.

    May 2021 bring you continuing steady rehabilitation and the equally successful replacement of your left shoulder.

    Jolly ⛄️

  • lindalegs
    lindalegs Member Posts: 5,372
    edited 22. Dec 2020, 12:53

    @crinkly1 @crinkly I think I'm seeing double!

    Thank you Crinkly. You're right it is a wonderful feeling to realise that the exercises are well worth it because the do work!

    Happy Christmas to you and yours 😘

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 28,209

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bet you never thought you'd do that again!

    I am extremely proud of you Legs



  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 28,209
    edited 25. Dec 2020, 06:37

    Thank you @lindalegs


  • lindalegs
    lindalegs Member Posts: 5,372

    I am now 3 months post op so I thought it time to revisit and update this thread. This progress information will be of interest to those who are having the procedure.

    As progress is so slow sticking to doing my exercises twice daily takes a lot of self discipline. I feel if I allow myself to slip I would gradually stop doing them so I stick to the regime, which does get pretty boring!

    I was concerned that when using my arm the elbow drifts out and if I pull it back to my body I can’t do the task as my arm is too weak! I spoke to my physio and was told that both the drifting elbow and the weakness are a very common problem with the reverse procedure. Some patients can overcome it but others can’t so I must keep doing what I am and we will see if I can improve the strength and therefore ability.

    On working with steadily getting more upright and strengthening the arm muscles I’ve progressed from exercising flat on the bed, to one pillow and now two under my head. A notch up is only slight but it makes exercises so much more difficult and you feel like you’re back at square one again! I have some way to go yet as Mr Legs still has to cut my food up because I can't use my knife when sitting down unless it’s really soft like scrambled egg …..which as you know doesn’t need cutting up but I have to start somewhere!

    After struggling with trying to hover type I’ve adapted and have rolled up socks on the desktop under my arm and a stylus ….….but at least I’m doing it! It is easier to type on my iPad which is at an angle, then I don’t need the socks but still support my arm with the table top.

    This week I lifted my arm, when standing, to shoulder height unassisted. I did cheat because I swung it up there but I did hold it for all of five seconds before I lowered it slowly! The physio was really surprised that I'm able to sleep on my shoulder which I started doing not long after my sling came off. I was told that some patients haven't even tried to lay on their arm a year down the line. This just reiterates how different we all are and we all find our own level.

    On the inevitable days when I feel disheartened with my incremental progress I refer to a post surgery mental brag list and remind myself I couldn’t even move my arm unassisted after the op.


    I shall update again in April when I will be 6 months down the line …unless I get Covid!



  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 28,209

    Hi @lindalegs !

    Lovely to hear from you🙂

    You are doing well aren't you. Only 3 months and you can get your arm to shoulder height?!!! Wow! I hope you think it's all been worth it?

    I totally understand what you mean about increasing the difficulty of your exercises a tiny bit sending you back to square one and yes you are 100% right not to stop doing them religiously. It is far to easy to let things slide and then what a waste of effort it would all be.

    I hope you aren't planning to get COVID?😯You'll have had your vaccine by the time you next update I hope as well.

    Going to link this over to the café

    Take care stay safe and keep up the good work Legs!

  • lindalegs
    lindalegs Member Posts: 5,372


    Hi Toni, thanks for the continued interest and encouragement!

    I don't plan on getting the virus but who knows what the virus is planning! We do our best and only go out for a walk just the two of us and for exercise. We don't mix at all and even the grocery delivery person doesn't cross the threshold!

    I do intend to come on the forum more often now that typing is getting easier so I'll see you around no doubt!

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 28,209

    It's a pleasure Legs you know I am extra interested having experienced some of this second hand.

    We are the same dodging everything and having shopping delivered. I do try to walk every day where possible this snow isn't making it easy though.

    Let's just hope we all get our vaccine asap.

    I would love to see you posting more now it's easier 🙂

  • crinkly
    crinkly Member Posts: 117

    Congratulations on your continued rehab, Legs!

    I'm fast approaching two years since having the same procedure so it's interesting to compare progress as I recall it.

    It clearly underlines the reality that everyone is different and takes a slightly different route to similar outcomes. The main shared factor is that it's a long slow journey that can't be hurried so stick with at your own pace and all will be well.

    Crinkly 😉

  • lindalegs
    lindalegs Member Posts: 5,372



    Hi Toni and Crinkly,

    Thank you.

    I think the main thing we have to agree on is that although progress is slow, the awful pre op pain and noises go. There is an occasional click and crackle sometimes but I'm told that scar tissue and may well settle down.

    Off to put my shoulder through it's paces again!

  • lindalegs
    lindalegs Member Posts: 5,372
    edited 9. Apr 2021, 17:06

    Six  month post op update.

    Ever since I started exercising my new shoulder I experience a clicking when my arm is raised to a certain point and some days of late the click is more of a clunk! On clunking days I halve the amount of movements and am more gentle with myself. Neither the click nor clunk hurt and I was told it will probably settle down with time and use. I am to contact the hospital if the clunking gets worse.

     With many tasks I can say that I am almost back to normal but some things still defeat me.

     ·        I can use my knife when I eat but it is awkward as my elbow drifts away from my body and the more pressure I need on my knife the further up my elbow goes. This is because the wrong muscle is stronger than the muscle I should be using and overrides it no matter how hard I try to do it correctly.

    ·        Forward reaching is hard. For example - if I need to use both hands on a saucepan on the back burner, one to stir and one to hold the pan, I have to pull the pan towards me in order for me to do the necessary task. I can reach things by extending my arm but if I want to keep my elbow down I have to help my right hand with my left.

    ·        I have done my first painting but had to stand up to apply wet paint on a wet background, then sit to put on detail when it’s dry.

    ·        I still have to use a stylus to type and a rolled up sock under my elbow.

    I have noticed I assist my right hand a lot, sometimes without realising, but this is just adapting and moving on to do the things I want to do. I can manage to do all the tasks I used to even if ,with some movements, my hand is supported by a table top, worktop or other hand. It is a small price to pay for getting rid of the pain and the jerky movement as was pre op.

    After all my bold statements of not giving up, reading this you might think I have but, no, I am still doing exercises twice daily, not the variety I used to, as my physio says there’s no need, just one repeated movement till my muscle feels tired. Progress is still happening but it is very slow and so I shall not update this thread again till I have reached a year post op or if the clunking gets worse and I have to ask my surgeon’s team for their help.

    I will finish by saying that having had a TRSR it has taken away all the pain and I can even sleep on my operated shoulder with no problem apart from a little waking stiffness in the morning but hey-oh I am a rheumatoid!

  • lindalegs
    lindalegs Member Posts: 5,372

    Hello to anyone still interested in reading this thread.

    It’s now been a year since my total reverse shoulder replacement, so this is my final feedback on this thread.

    I am in much the same position as I was in my post above at the six month juncture although my arm is stronger now. I still have a ‘flying’ right elbow when I do tasks but I’ve done the exercises, as advised, so my arm doesn’t feel heavy anymore when using it.

    I have had brilliant support from the hospital but when I saw my physio recently and told him I had plateaued we decided it was time to accept that my rheumatoid has damaged my muscles too much for them to improve to any greater extent. (He admitted my surgery notes said my shoulder muscles were in poor shape when they opened me up so I’ve done a good job to get as far as I have with them.)

    I had both my shoulders x-rayed at this appointment and we discussed the possibility of now repeating the surgery on my left shoulder as I was referred for both to be done. I’ve decided I don’t want my left shoulder doing yet because it is pain free at the moment and whilst it’s settled I see no need to disturb it.

    My surgeon will see me in a year’s time for the annual post-op check but if at any time I need help if my left shoulder becomes painful I am to ring them direct for an appointment as the original referral stands open.

    Thank you for reading this and I hope it helps any others faced with the same or similar surgery to know what pattern of events might take place for them. Please always bear in mind that this is just my experience and we’re all different so this is just a guide.

    This was my first painting seven months post op. It’s simple but quite nice.

  • NotOutYet
    NotOutYet Member Posts: 4


    Hi, thank you for posting this! I've not yet read all of it the way through - just the highlights but it's great to hear that you have had a good experience with this.

    I'm 39yrs old and was told yesterday that I will eventually have to have this surgery because my current replacement is failing. Needless to say I'm devastated and really worried about how my life is going to be after this and what happens when it reaches it end of life as I'm likely (providing a bus doesn't get me) out live the replacement. They haven't answered this question because they can't. I'm terrified to be honest.

    I have managed to get a rushed appointment with a private surgeon at 6pm tonight (it's now 5:42) for a second opinion and to see whether there are other options or in fact, light at the end of the tunnel. I don't want to be in a position whereby the time I'm 50 I will lose all functionality of my right arm.

    I'm so pleased you continue to update throughout the whole year, it really is helpful to me so thank you.

    I'm now in the process of completing research regarding the type of implant I have and whether it's different from my left shoulder replacement. I suffer with Ankylosing Spondylitis and have done since I was 12 years old but wasn't diagnosed until my early twenties. I also have bi-lateral hip replacement which is coming up 13/14 years now.

    Anyway, I just wanted to get in touch with you and let you know that there is hope.