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Forum > Miscellaneous > What to use for clothing after rotator cuff surgery ( Moderated by Deepika, EleanorSews, CynthiaSue)

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What to use for clothing after rotator cuff surgery
Rosie who use to be Rose
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Date: 9/25/10 3:40 PM

Hi,
My dh is having rotator cuff surgery in a couple of weeks and will have his right arm immobilized for six weeks. Has anyone else had this done and if so what did you do about shirts. I haven't actually seen the kind of brace he'll have on but I do know that he won't be able to put his arm into anything. I was thinking of taking t-shirts and sweatshirts, cutting off the right sleeve and fastening them with velcro at the side and top.
Any suggestions?
Thanks,
Rosemary



-- Edited on 9/25/10 3:42 PM --

Sweetsong

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In reply to Rosie who use to be Rose


Date: 9/25/10 5:27 PM

My dh had the surgery, but we didn't cut any sleeves off of clothing, he just slid the shirt over the "bad" shoulder first and then around then worked around to the other. He had a sling to hold his shoulder/arm close to his body, but he abandoned it rather quickly as it hurt his neck.

This may all depend on the person.

Dotmoll
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Date: 9/25/10 10:01 PM

Very close to home! I don't think I'll need surgery, but I had a bad fall and hurt my shoulder pretty badly recently. Just be thankful your DH doesn't need to wear a bra!
Vests/undershirts. It's possible that he will need front fastening undershirts. Alternatively, if he normally wears sleeveless undershirts, try buying a bigger size that he can either step into and pull up, or pull over without raising his bad arm. This is the one thing I haven't solved.

Tee shirts, button-through shirts. I have found that a really deep arm hole helps. Ideally, it should go down almost as far as the elbow. At first, even a really baggy tee shirt with deep arm holes won't be as easy as a button-through shirt.

Socks, pants, underpants. Get him to practice putting them on with one hand. He may find boxers easier to pull up than briefs. Low sneakers sox may be easier than regular ankle socks.

I forgot to say, will the surgery affect his dominant hand? If so, his nom dominant shoulder and arm will be working much harder than usual, so the easier things are, the better.

p.s. get a firm cushion or three to rest the arm on whikle sitting. really helps take the pressure of the sling off your neck. Wedge-shaped neck cushion is my fave, fits round my body and my arm doesn't roll off it and tug my shoulder.
-- Edited on 9/25/10 10:05 PM --

simplystitches
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Date: 9/25/10 11:01 PM

Subject near and dear to my heart. NOT!

I had shoulder surgery (rotator cuff and acromium) about 7 years ago but it seems like yesterday.

The sling he'll probably be wearing is called an immobilizer. Basically a strap that velcros around his forearm, wrist and chest. It holds his forearm straight down from the shoulder and bent across his stomach. I doubt that he'll be completely immobilized for the six weeks or else he risks what they call frozen shoulder. If I remember right they had me doing minor stretches within the first week.

The first few days after the surgery are the worst. You want to do all the things that you normally do, but you can't. It's really frustrating!

Some tips.

Clothing- shirts that button, bottoms that can be pulled up and fastened, if need be, with one hand. Elastic waists were my friend.
With some help I was able to get in a button shirt the day after the surgery.

Because of the immobilizer he'll only be able to sleep on his back. Side sleeping lets the arm hang, even with the immobilizer, and puts pressure on the shoulder and it hurts. Use an extra pillow to support the arm from just below the shoulder to past the elbow. That was the only way I could get comfortable.

Thankfully it wasn't my dominant arm but if its your dh's tell him to start using his other arm NOW so he gets used to doing things that may seem foreign. The most delicate way I can put it is bathroom. Nuff said.

I had to take baths, no showers permitted, for quite some time and needed help. I needed help with a number of things actually and I'm pretty self sufficient.

I wasn't allowed to drive for 6 weeks but mine was a double surgery not sure what his limitations will be. That's something to consider.

Wow! I didn't mean to write a novel when all you asked about clothing but these are some of the things I remember most from my surgery.
Hope some of it was helpful.

Debbie

Dotmoll
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Date: 9/25/10 11:58 PM

forgot to say, put your sleeve on the bad arm. Then grasp a drawer at the right height, or rest your hand on a shelf. Then step or lean back a bit to get your torso away from your upper arm. That will give you enough room towriggle your sleeve up between arm and body.

..and learn to use speech recognition software! The Windows 7 version is very good.

Rosie who use to be Rose
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Date: 9/27/10 2:05 PM

. Thanks a lot for all of the information.
He'll be wearing the brace that holds his arm at an angle out and away from his body and his hand will have a ball in it. He not only messed up his rotator cup, but has full thickness tears in the tendons. So, unless he's doing therapy, he gets to wear the brace for the full six weeks and sleep in a recliner. I'm trying to find two of them that people don't won't because the dr. said that's about the only way he's going to be comfortable.

Someone suggested, and I'm going to do it, to take some of his old tees and sweatshirts (it's getting cold here) and fix them where the right side is Velcroed together.

And yes, he is right handed, very, very right handed.

Thanks again for the information,
Rosie

Dotmoll
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Date: 10/23/10 9:34 AM

Well, your DH is probably trussed up in his immobilizer, whereas I can mostly have mine off if I've I'm not standing for long periods.

Just thought I'd mention...if you have to wear a conventional sling, it is a heap more comfortable to make an over-the-shoulder sling (like a baby sling) with double rings for adjustability. Since it is supported by my good shoulder, the weight of my arm isn't dragging on my neck the way a regular sling does.

I can't sew much and can't use shears or a rotary cutter at all yet, but I found a strap with double rings at both ends. I pleat a cotton muffler and thread each end through the rings, and put the whole thing over my good shoulder, so that the muffler supports my bad arm. It's soft and breathable, I can wash and replace the mufflers, and blends better visually with my clothing.

...but I'll be extra happy when I don't need that either! Thank goodness for a great physiotherapist...

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