Shoulder Rehabilitation

SLAP Repair

SlingWhen will I go home?What can I do?What can’t I do?
4 weeksYou will be discharged on the same day as the operationRange of movement within safe zone*No combined abduction/external rotation, no end range ER, no lifting

Acute phase (0-4 weeks)


  • Protect the surgical repair
  • Reduce pain
  • Promote cuff and scapular control


  • *Safe zone: aim for passive range of movement to 120° elevation, 45° abduction, 30° external rotation by end of second week
  • Active assisted/supported range from 2 weeks
  • No eccentric or concentric loading of biceps
  • No forced movements, no combined abduction/external rotation
  • Closed kinetic chain/proprioception exercises
  • Cuff exercises within this range of movement zone
  • Scapular setting exercises
  • Elbow, wrist, hand exercises

Criteria for progression

  • Pain control
  • Adequate range of movement

Intermediate phase (4-8 weeks)


  • Preserve surgical repair
  • Restoration of functional range of movement
  • Cuff recruitment and scapula control through range
  • Enhance proprioception


  • No passive stretching into end range external rotation
  • No eccentric biceps loading
  • No heavy lifting/concentric overload biceps
  • Encourage active movement with good cuff and scapular control  
  • Progress cuff & scapular recruitment through range
  • Progress kinetic chain integration
  • Proprioceptive re-education incorporating closed chain exercises
  • Hydrotherapy permitted

Criteria for progression

  • Painfree functional range of movement
  • Good cuff and scapular control through functional range

Late phase (>8 weeks)


  • Restore full range of movement
  • Optimise cuff and scapular control under load
  • Enhance shoulder power, strength and endurance
  • Ensure cuff and scapula control maintained during biceps loading


  • Regain optimal range of movement into combined positions
  • Ensure posterior capsule mobility
  • Specific biceps strengthening/control work ensuring maintenance of scapula control and humeral head position
  • Strengthening and endurance exercises for cuff and scapular musculature
  • Preparatory and reactive stabilisation drills in risk positions

Guidelines for return to functional activities





6-8 weeksLight lifting 4 weeks. Avoid heavy for 3 monthsBreaststroke 6 weeks, freestyle 12 weeks3 months

Devinder Garewal

Mr. Devinder Garewal

MBBS, BMedSci, FRACS (Orth), FAOrthA

Mr. Devinder Garewal is an orthopaedic shoulder specialist. Devinder completed his medical qualifications from the University of Melbourne and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and the Australian Orthopaedic Association.

Shoulder Bone IconShoulder Bone Icon

Shoulder Joint

Elbow IconElbow Icon

Elbow Joint

Wrist IconWrist Icon

Wrist Joint

Hand IconHand Icon

Hand Joints

Have a question or want to book an appointment?