Rehabilitation following shoulder arthroscopic stabilisation surgery: A survey of UK practice

Natasha Maher, Elaine Wilmore, Marcus Bateman, James Blacknall, Rachel Chester, Ian Horsley, Jo Gibson, Joel O'Sullivan, Anju Jaggi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Optimal rehabilitation following arthroscopic shoulder stabilisation for traumatic anterior instability is unknown. The purpose of this study was to establish current UK practice for this patient group.

Methodology: A self-administered online questionnaire was developed and distributed to UK surgeons and physiotherapists.

Results: 138 responses were received. Routine immobilisation was reported in 79.7% of responses with a cross body sling being the preferred position (63.4%). Duration of immobilisation and timescales to initiate movement were highly variable. Return to light work was advised when patients felt able (25.4%) or after 6 weeks (26.1%). 58.7% recommended waiting for 12 weeks to return to manual work. 56% recommended non-contact sport could be resumed after 12 weeks. For contact sport, recommendations varied from 6 weeks (3.8%) to 6 months (5.8%). Psychological readiness was the most frequently cited criteria for return to play (58.6%). Factors such as hyperlaxity (40.6%), age (32.6%) and kinesiophobia (28.3%) were not considered as relevant as reported quality of surgical fixation (50%).

Conclusion: There is no clear consensus regarding optimal post-operative rehabilitation following arthroscopic shoulder stabilisation. Further work is required to establish high value, personalised pathways for this patient group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-97
Number of pages13
JournalShoulder & Elbow
Issue number1
Early online date10 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • guidelines
  • instability
  • physiotherapy
  • rehabilitation
  • shoulder
  • stabilisation

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