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Initially following surgery the arm will be painful and the use of a sling will help support the shoulder.  If you have had a repair of the rotator cuff or of the lining of the joint as in shoulder reconstruction, the sling is an important part of the post-operative rehabilitation course.  Sling use will be discussed in detail with you at your post-operative visit in hospital.

Sling Use - Where and When

In general terms, a number of points can be made.  During the time you are in a sling you will be referred to a Physiotherapist.  Whilst at your appointment/s your arm will be out of the sling to do specific exercises.

You must wear your sling:

  1. In bed a night – Under the influence of pain killing medications your dreams tend to be more exotic than normal and you could fling your arms around and hurt yourself if the sling is not there to stop you.
  2. During any form of transport – plane, train or automobile.  Therefore, you cannot drive a motor vehicle at any time whilst you are still in this post-operative phase.   If you were to drive with a sling on you will not be able to react in an emergency situation and can damage your surgery or cause a collision.  Please note that your insurance may not cover you if an accident was to happen and you could also be considered by police to be driving in a culpable manner.
  3. If you are out and about where there are a lot of people around, you should wear the sling as it gives others a signal and they will generally give you a wider berth than they might otherwise do.

There are many things you will be able to do around the home or in a controlled environment out of the sling these would have been discussed with you at your post-operative visit in hospital.

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