Shoulder replacement

AnnR Member Posts: 52
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:07 in Living with arthritis

Hello Everyone, I hope today is the start of a good day for you all.

I’m just been diagnosed with arthritis in my shoulder, I’m also on the waiting list for a hip replacement. With my shoulder it’s a total replacement and while I understand the mechanics of surgery I would like your advice for post op. How you manage dressing and what’s easy to wear. How to manage sleeping comfortably. Any advice and suggestions will be great, as I prepare for this. Anyone who has gone through this surgery how did you cope.

Look forward to hearing from you and I send all my best wishes to you all.



  • Yvie
    Yvie Member Posts: 4

    Hi Ann. Sorry to hear that you are waiting for joint replacements. I have had RA for nearly 30 years now and had a left hip replacement in 1997 which is still going strong and then a half shoulder replacement in 2002. Eventually, the half shoulder replacement failed and in 2015 I had a full left shoulder replacement which has been very successful. The key to it all I think is good physio post surgery. I worked with the physio for about six weeks and was committed to the exercises he gave me and using resistant bands to build strength. A replacement shoulder joint is never as flexible as a new hip joint but mine is brilliant and I have a good range of movement which only stops short of full height stretch and rotation. After the op I wore loose fitting clothes as my arm was in a sling. Bras are out of the question for a while I'm afraid but you can buy single supports that stick under the boobs if you really need something, or try a halter neck bra if you have someone to help fasten it! Sleeping wasn't a problem as I used a pillow underneath my shoulder for comfort. I was helped by the fact that the nerve block didn't wear off as quickly as the surgeon said it would. Consequently there was zero pain but I had to take extra care not to let my arm drop because I couldn't feel it for about a week. Normally the nerve block wears off within around 24 hours. Swings and roundabouts really. My recovery went very well with family support for a few weeks after surgery and the physio was brilliant.

    I wish you good luck and I hope it all goes well. You will recover well if you follow the advice of the physio. It was hard work at times, but well worth it.


  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,217
    edited 8. Feb 2022, 12:55

    Hi @AnnR

    Funnily enough google reminded me today that this time 5 years ago my youngest daughter (then 19) had not long had her Rt shoulder replaced.

    She was lucky in the sense that she had me to help her as it wasn't really easy nor comfortable in the early days. Her shoulder had been collapsed for well over a year before surgery. As you can imagine they don't queue up to do joint replacements at that age and she had to finish chemotherapy first too.

    She lived in shirts with buttons at the front - poorly arm in first dressing and out last undressing. We also purchased a poncho as it was very cold in January. Initially we did not wash her hair I bought some 'dry shampoo' to tide her over.

    Erm she slept sort of 'in' a V pillow?

    ask anything else if I can help i will.

    Take care

  • AnnR
    AnnR Member Posts: 52

    Thankyou @frogmorton and @Yvie .

    I really appreciate your stories, advice and suggestions. Sometimes it puts my problems into perspective when I read other peoples problems. I can take so much on board and your own experiences help me much more positive about things.

    All the best to you, and take care.

    Ann X

  • crinkly
    crinkly Member Posts: 144

    I (with OA) had shoulder replacement three years ago and Lindalegs (with RA) had hers one year ago. We both posted accounts on this forum and you can still find them by clicking the search button then entering 'shoulder replacement'. There are lots of tips and wrinkles on those. There is a very useful account by Michelle Conway on the VA site, which includes a comprehensive list of suggestions for after care. (If you can't find it send me a PM.)

    Perhaps the main thing is that you should have someone at home with you for the first week, while you find your own best ways of coping with practical things. Also be prepared for rehab to be slow as the shoulder is a complex joint but it's worth it in the end.

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,217

    Oh yes @crinkly

    How right you are!

    you and @lindalegs This is Leg's thread:

    I can't find yours though?

    @AnnR Hope you are doing ok. We are here for each other.

  • lindalegs
    lindalegs Member Posts: 5,391

    Hi @AnnR,

    I'm Legs/LindaLegs or just Linda, I wrote the long drawn out thread of my reverse total shoulder replacement after my suregery in 2020. I do tend to go on a bit so if you have any more specific questions, just ask and I'll help as much as I can, although I think I covered everything in my the thread below.

    Hi @crinkly and @frogmorton, hope you're both well and thank you for mentioning my thread again especially as I don't get round to forumming much these days! 🙃 xx

    Love, Legs x
    'Make a life out of what you have, not what you're missing'
  • AnnR
    AnnR Member Posts: 52

    Hi Everyone,

    I must say a big Thankyou to @crinkly , @frogmorton and @lindalegs. Your helpful comments and advice have been tremendous and going for my surgery seems less daunting. I haven’t got a date yet but my pre op is in the first week of March so it won’t be far from that.

    It’s not something I’m looking forward to but I know feel more prepared for it. I’ve even sat with a friend ripping off sheets of toilet paper and put them in a small basket, as I found during a dummy run of being one handed I couldn’t rip of the paper one handed!

    All your help and love is helping and I send you all my love to you and hope your days are fairly pain free.

    Ann XX💐

  • lindalegs
    lindalegs Member Posts: 5,391

    Just a thought @AnnR but you might well fare better in recovery than I did as you're having a straight forward total replacement and not the reverse procedure as @crinkly and I had.

    Toni (@frogmorton) might be a better guide for you because I think her daughter had the same type of replacement as you're going to have.

    Very good idea re toilet paper! 😁

    Love, Legs x
    'Make a life out of what you have, not what you're missing'