Arthroscopic debridement

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This rehabilitation program is designed to return the athlete/patient to full function as quickly as possible. Progression is dependent upon response of the patient. Some people are able to progress more quickly than others. Patient symptoms, pain, swelling, and ROM will dictate progression.

* Subacromial Decompressions may move 1 – 2 weeks more slowly through the protocol than a debridement. Progress as symptoms allow

Phase I – Immediate Motion Phase


  • Reduce pain and inflammation

  • Prevent negative effects of immobilization

  • Re-establish full, non-painful range of motion

  • Prevent muscular atrophy

Week 1-2 (Day 1-14)
Flexibility exercises:

  • Pendulum exercises

  • Shoulder shrugs/squeezes, elbow, forearm, wrist ROM

  • Wand exercises: flexion, scaption, ER/IR (start close to body, work to 45 degrees abduction, extension)

  • Towel or wand IR

  • Pulley flexion, scaption

  • Capsular mobilization – grade 1-3 - concentrate on increasing post capsular mobility

  • PROM

Strengthening exercises:

Week 1:

Week 2:

  • Scapular PNF with manual resistance

  • Rhythmic stabilization drills in supported, scapular plane position, and in 90 degrees of flexion

  • Prone scapular exercises – start with row and extension. If doing well can progress to horizontal abduction and flex at 105 as tolerated.

  • Sidely ER

  • Standing ER/IR with theraband with towel between arm and body

  • Supine flexion and D2 exercises – start with no weight, and progress by 1# at a time

  • Bicep/tricep/forearm/wrist with theraband or weight


  • Ice, EGS

  • Instruct in use of home ice, support positions (pillow between arm and body, correct sleeping positions with pillow under arm and between arm and body)

Week 3-4: (Day 15-28)

  • PROM, joint mobilization, grade 3 and 4 – emphasize post capsular mobility

  • Progress ER/IR wand and PROM exercises to 90/90 position

  • Wall slides flexion/scaption/abduction/ER at 0 degrees in doorway

Strength: add 1# at a time as strength increases

  • Progress to all prone scapular exercises: horizontal abduction in neutral, thumb down, thumb up position, flexion at 105, extension, row. Week 4 can add row with ER if no pain and ROM good

  • Sidely ER with dumbell

  • Standing flexion and scaption to 160 degree with thumb up, abduction to 90 degrees palm down

  • Theraband ER/IR at 0, progress to 90 degrees week 4 if tolerated/functional for patient

  • Theraband horizontal abduction

  • Theraband D2 flexion/ext

  • Theraband row

  • Week 4 if doing well can add impulse ER/IR/Horiz Abd, and Bodyblade at 0 ER/IR, and 90 degree flexion/scaption

  • Progress rhythmic stabilization drills to unsupported, multi-positional D2 and Abd/ER ranges

  • If patient is doing well week 4 can begin light manual work: punches, D2 conc/conc, sidely ER conc/ecc, and prone row conc/ecc. Patient should be able to comfortably lift 3# throughout full ROM in order to initiate manuals

  • Wall push up plus (elbows straight)

Modalities: continue ice-EGS, ultrasound as needed

Week 5 – 7: (Day 29-49)

  • Increase aggressiveness of ROM to obtain full ROM by the end of week 7. Continue to concentrate on post mobs if IR limited.

  • Sidely IR stretch

  • Low load long duration stretches to any limited area, with application of heat and using light weight (2-3#) for 5-8 minutes at a time.

  • Add prone chicken wing stretch if IR limited

  • Add supine ext over edge of table



  • Supine punches, D2 Conc/conc, progress to Conc/ecc week 7 if tolerated

  • Continue rhythmic stabilization – can progress to standing, multi-position, and holding weight or theraband

  • Sidely ER Conc/ecc

  • Prone Horiz Abd neutral/thumb up/thumb down conc/ecc, flex at 105 conc/ecc, row conc/ecc, progress to row with ER at week 7 conc/ecc if tolerated

Weights and bands

  • Continue all previous exercises – increase resistance as tolerated

  • Progress push up plus to quadruped, over table with UE on balls etc.

  • Week 7- seated press up (elbows straight- focus on scapula)

Modalities: continue as needed

Core work and Leg strength

Week 8-9: (Day 50- 63)
Criteria to start plyometrics/weight training:


Continue to obtain full/functional ROM – all stretches, mobilization prn

  • Progress bodyblade to D2, 90/90 positions

  • Isokinetic ER/IR scapular plane at 180/240/300 degrees/second

  • Add weight training (follow ant instability precautions for throwers). No behind the head military press- modify to in front of the plane of the body


Initiate 2 handed plyometrics (start with a 4# medicine ball): Chest, Rotation, Woodchop, Tricep Slam, Overhead for throwers. May also include lateral toss, underhand, backward throw if necessary for sport/function
Week 10 – 11: (Day 64-77)
Add one hand plyos:

2# wall dribble (semicircle and 90/90), kneeling D2 conc/ecc, 90/90 to plyoback, ER/IR and bicep theraband plyo, ER flip, supine D2, 15 foot form throw to wall

Week 12-16: (Day 78-112)
Initiate interval throwing program/interval sport program if criteria is met,
Criteria to start interval sport program:

  1. Full, functional, painfree range of motion

  2. 85 – 90% strength of external and internal rotation compared to the opposite upper extremity

  3. external/internal strength ratio at least 58 – 62%

  4. adequate peak torque #, and peak torque to body weight ratio on biodex (see chart)

  5. adequate microfet (at least meet low # on standards)

  6. Clearance from MD

Criteria to return to sport:

  1. Isokinetic testing:

Ext/Int rotation ratio at least 65% dominant arm,

Peak Torque to body weight ratio at 300 degrees/sec ER at least 14 and IR at least 20

Peak Torque to body weight ratio at 180 degrees/sec ER at least 15 and IR at least 19

ER and IR strength at least 90% of uninvolved UE

  1. Completed interval sport program without symptoms

  2. 5/5 MMT all shoulder and scapular groups

  3. Clearance from MD

Please call with any questions!

Beacon Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine

Summit Woods (513)389-3666

West (513)354-7777
Updated 1/2011

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