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How to Get Dressed After Rotator Cuff Surgery

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12 Jan 2024

Learning how to get dressed after rotator cuff surgery can be just one of many post-surgery challenges that those undergoing reparative shoulder operations need to prepare for.

Understanding difficult movements and finding the right adaptive garments to avoid pain and reinjury can be vital. 

We’re going to take a look at some strategies and clothing options that can make dressing after shoulder surgery easier.

Understanding Rotator Cuff Surgery

how to get dressed after shoulder surgery: woman checking shoulder with physician after surgery

Rotator cuff surgery is a procedure designed to repair damage to the group of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. Whether due to injury or wear and tear over time, this surgery is undertaken to restore mobility and alleviate pain.

How Long Is Recovery For Rotator Cuff Surgery?

The duration of recovery varies from person to person and depends on factors such as the extent of the injury and the type of surgery performed. On average, resuming most activities is possible around the three-month mark, with more strenuous activities requiring additional time.

What Is The Best Clothing After Rotator Cuff Surgery?

Choosing the right clothing is crucial for a comfortable recovery. Easy-to-wear adaptive clothing can significantly help with the dressing process while protecting the healing shoulder.

Key Clothing Features After Rotator Cuff Surgery

  • Front-Fastening Designs: Opt for clothing with front-fastening options to eliminate the need for reaching behind the back, reducing strain on the healing shoulder.
  • Elasticity and Flexibility: Clothing with elasticated or adjustable features provide flexibility and accommodate changes in body shape due to swelling, especially during the initial stages of recovery.
  • Minimal Fastenings: Select clothing with minimal fastenings, such as button-free shirts, to simplify the dressing process and minimize strain on the operated shoulder.

What Are The Easiest Clothes To Wear After Rotator Cuff Surgery?

Choosing easy-to-wear clothing is essential during recovery. Elasticated or adjustable-waist pants, shirts with minimal fastenings, and slip-on shoes with magnetic laces or Velcro closures are among the easiest options.

What A Woman Should Wear After Rotator Cuff Surgery

For those who wear them, the choice of bra is a critical consideration. Front-fastening bras, designed to be fastened with one hand, provide convenience without putting unnecessary strain on the healing shoulder.

How Do You Get Dressed After Rotator Cuff Surgery?

how to get dressed after shoulder surgery: two clothing racks in a studio space

Getting dressed after rotator cuff surgery may initially seem like a challenging task, but with the right approach and adaptive clothing, the process can be made much more manageable. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to get dressed after rotator cuff surgery:

Prepare Your Wardrobe

Organize your clothing so that the items you need are easily accessible. Choose loose-fitting and comfortable clothing to avoid unnecessary strain on your shoulder.

Dress Sitting Down

If your balance is a concern or you find it more comfortable, consider dressing while sitting down. This can reduce the risk of accidents and make the dressing process smoother.

Start with Adaptive Clothing

Consider using adaptive clothing designed for post-surgery comfort. Clothing items with front fastenings, elastic materials, and easy-access features can significantly simplify the dressing process.

Focus on Bottoms First 

Begin by putting on your pants or shorts. Elastic waistbands or adaptive pants with easy closures can make this step more manageable.

Choose Front-Fastening Tops

Opt for tops, shirts, or bras with front fastenings. This eliminates the need to lift your arms or reach behind your back, reducing strain on your healing shoulder.

Leverage Assistance Tools

If needed, consider using dressing aids such as reacher tools or long-handled shoe horns to minimize the need for excessive reaching or stretching.

Take Your Time

Patience is key. Allow yourself the time to move slowly and comfortably through each step of the dressing process. Rushing can lead to unnecessary strain or discomfort.

Seek Assistance When Needed

If a particular piece of clothing proves challenging to put on, don't hesitate to seek assistance. Having a helper, even temporarily, can make the process smoother.

Utilize Adaptive Bras

For women, using adaptive bras with front fastenings, like the Springrose Adaptive Bra, can simplify the dressing routine and provide independence.

Follow Your Doctor's Guidelines

Always adhere to the guidelines provided by your healthcare professional. If there are specific restrictions or recommendations for dressing, follow them closely for a safe and effective recovery.

Wearing A Bra After Rotator Cuff Surgery

Springrose's adaptive bra

The decision to wear a bra after rotator cuff surgery depends on individual comfort and the advice of the healthcare provider. Front-fastening bras are often recommended for ease and minimal shoulder movement.

Can You Wear A Bra After Rotator Cuff Surgery?

Wearing a bra after surgery is possible, but it's crucial to choose one that minimizes strain. Springrose's one handed bra offers a practical solution during the recovery phase.

How To Put On A Bra After Rotator Cuff Surgery 

  • Prepare Your Environment
  • Before you start, create a space where your affected arm can be close to your body, either by your side or gently supported. If balance is a concern, consider sitting down.

  • Put On Like a Jacket
  • Front fastenings make the whole process much more simple. To avoid straining your shoulder, approach putting on the bra like you would a jacket. 

    Keep the Velcro fastenings attached on the operated side and unfasten the Velcro under the cup on the opposite side for easy front access.

  • Start with the Operated Shoulder
  • Pull the shoulder strap over your operated shoulder first. There's no need to move the affected arm or shoulder while doing this. Starting with this side provides more flexibility in movement and also puts less pressure on the operated area.

  • Add the Other Shoulder Strap
  • Use your stronger arm to reach the other shoulder strap and pull it on. Now, both arms are in the bra and one cup (on the operated side) is fastened.

  • Secure the Velcro
  • Use your stronger arm to guide the open Velcro strap through the middle slider. Pull it back towards your stronger side to secure it under the cup.

  • Adjust for Comfort
  • Use your stronger arm to readjust the Velcro fastens under both cups and the front-adjusting shoulder straps without adding unnecessary pressure to your other shoulder.

    Here's a video explanation: 

     Springrose's one handed bra demonstration

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