Is Stiff Fingers Normal After Rotator Cuff Surgery

Question

Asked by MISERABLE

Is Stiff Fingers Normal After Rotator Cuff Surgery

I HAD ROTATOR CUFF SURGERY 4 MONTHS AGO. I HAD OPEN SURGERY WITH 3 ANCHORS AND SUBACROMION DECOMPRESSION. I WAS IMMOBILIZED FOR 6 WEEKS. I'VE BEEN

IN PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR 8 WEEKS NOW AND AM STILL EXPERIENCING PAIN REQUIRING

VICODIN, THE SHOULDER IS STILL VERY STIFF IF I DO NOT KEEP IT MOVING. WHICH I CAN SOMEWHAT UNDERSTAND BUT IS IT NORMAL FOR MY HAND TO BECOME STIFF IF I AM NOT MOVING MY ARM ESPECIALLY IN THE MORNING. EVERYONE TELLS ME TO KEEP IT

ELEVATED, WHICH I DO BUT IT DOESNT HELP. I SEE THE DOCTOR IN 2 WEEKS. IS THIS

SOMETHING I SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT

WOULD APPRECIATE ANY HELP OR ADVICE SOMEONE CAN GIVE ME

Answer

You did not mention whether or not you have swelling in your arm and hands. Swelling with stiffness could be associated with a condition called lymphedema. After surgery in the shoulder or breast region, the lymph system can be effected. This system is vital for the return of fluids to the vascular system by collecting the fluid from the tissues. For example, women who have had a mastectomy are at high risk of developing lymphedema.

If you had just had surgery, then the stiffness could just be associated with positioning during the surgery. Patients are put into percarious positions for the surgeon to access the region sometimes. In fact, positioning can be very problematic and even cause temporary nerve damage. Maybe your brachial plexus (nerve center in the shoulder region) was mildly injured during the surgery, leading to nerve irritation and muscle spasms. It is possible and will mend with time.

Even plain old pain in the shoulder will cause stiffness in the entire extermity because the muscles shut down as a mode of protection.

All and all, I would need a more specific description and examination to be able to determine the cause of your stiffness. I would not say that it is common for the fingers to be stiff after rotator cuff surgery, but it is possible.

Talk it over with your surgeon.

Dr. Christina Lasich, MD

Answered by Christina Lasich, MD