running after rotator cuff surgery - anyone done it?

I am due to have rotator cuff surgery, following a cycling accident. My physio and the hospital are being understandably vague about the length of recovery and getting back to running. I want to start marathon training but am dithering about whether to bother or not if I'm going to end up being out for months and months.

Has anyone had this surgery and how long were you out for afterwards?


  • I've not had it but I wouldnt think it would affect running much ? I'd start training anyway and then you are at a better point to come back from.
  • the problem is going to be with strength in your shoulder - post surgery you're going to be pretty weak in and around that joint and I guess they will recommend some form of physio to rebuild strength.

    thereforet the downside maybe supporting your arm when you're running.  if you think of the way you run, you do need to have some shoulder strength to keep the arms moving with the running rhythm - and being weak there, I guess it may also be a bit painful  

    I guess only you can tell how painful it will be and how that effects your running - we all have different pain thresholds.  you might have to suck it and see how you get on!

  • If it were me, I would massively err on the side of caution. My advice is based on my current job being research aimed at future healing of rotator cuff injuries using stem cells.

    Rotator cuff injury is notoriously slow to heal, and carries a poor success rate. This is partly due to the anatomy, and the nature of the injury, but I suspect it is also, in part, due to people doing slightly too much, too soon, which must be very easy to do, because it would be easy to think that doing some things with your hands or wrists would not affect your shoulder, whereas there is a high degree of inter-connectedness (thats the scientific term for it, btw image). In the first few months, post surgery, I would not do ANYTHING that results in ANY degree of pain in your shoulder. This might seem like a total exaggeration, but if you create even a tiny tear in the recently repaired tendon sheath, it will not heal, and you will enter a chronic cycle of pain, inflammation, rehab. It is in your best interest to allow it to totally heal, even if that means going a bit crazy for a few months as you cant run. I think avoiding future pain in that shoulder in the future is well worth it though.

    But that's just me.

  • fa - good points - but PL isn't a thoroughbed racehorse who can't describe the pain to you....image

  • No, but my research is pushing for the First in Man trials for human rotator cuff injury. Horses dont actually have one, we use a different tendon to model it. The whole reason there is interest in using stem cells for RCI is that physio and conservative treatment has a very poor success rate, which means a lot of people end up having surgery, which also doesnt have a great success rate. I am therefore extrapolating, that for a surgery which already carries a less than fabulous prognosis, one would want to be super cautious, and do everything one could to promote healing.

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