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What to Wear After Rotator Cuff Surgery

By Shannon Marks ; Updated July 27, 2017

Rotator cuff surgery is a major procedure that will require anywhere from three months to a full year of recovery, depending on the severity of your condition. During your operation, the surgeon will make an incision in your skin, remove scar tissue and suture tendons and bones. For the first three months after surgery, it’s likely you’ll be restricted from lifting anything heavier than a coffee cup. Needless to say, getting dressed will be difficult. Put away anything with zippers and that ties, for the time being, at least.


Undergarments will be especially difficult to put on—especially for women. Putting boxers or boxer briefs on for men should be a snap. But for women who insist on maintaining their vanity, a second set of hands will likely be required for brassiere hooking. For three months, see if you can get away with wearing a fitted tank top, or at least a camisole with a built-in bra. These will be much easier to get on with one good arm.


The easiest kind of shirt for you to put on will be a button up. You can maneuver the shirt and shimmy your arm through the sleeve without aggravating your arm too much. Depending on how coordinated you are with your good arm, doing the buttons with one hand may not be that hard. Of course if your good arm is in the sling, buttons could be a nightmare. Before your surgery, buy a few comfortable snap-up shirts.


You may need to take a short vacation from your perfect jeans. Getting them on will be hard enough. Zippering and buttoning them once they’re on will be impossible. Rotator cuff surgery is a perfect excuse to wear jogging pants, or loose yoga or aerobic slacks. Forgo strings and get a pair with an elastic band.


You can’t go wrong with slip-on shoes. You can wear clogs, boots, laceless sneakers, sandals, flip flops or any number of other no-hassle footwear.

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