Rotator Cuff Surgery - Ulnar nerve issues.

Posted , 3 users are following.

I had rotator cuff surgery June 13th. While I was in sling , I noticed pain in my elbow , wrist and fingers. After therapy was introduced , I was given exercises to loosen elbow, wrist and hand/fingers. As therapy became more aggressive , the pain , numbness and stiffness got worse to the point I could not make a fist or straighten my fingers. Ultimately, I was scheduled a nerve conduction test of surgical arm. It was determined I have ulnar nerve issues that will most likely require relocation of the nerve. Of course this puts my therapy for shoulder in a bind because I am not allowed exercises that ben elbow such as pulleys. I am currently getting hand/elbow/wrist therapy in addition to shoulder therapy. Has anyone here had a similar scenario and care to share their experience?  Would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Bill. I had rotator cuff surgery three years ago and had this ulnar issue pre and post surgery. I remember it well. I couldn’t squeeze my plastic gym bottle when I was in the gym.  I was hoping it was going to be resolved with the surgery and I’m trying to remember how long afterwards I had this horrible issue. It had to be a fair while as I mentioned it at my post op appointment with the surgeon. That must have been six weeks after butt it definitely went on for a few months  He said it was nothing to do with the shoulder op and if it continued I should get referred back with s view to surgery on the elbow.  You can imagine that was most unappealing having recently had rc surgery. Someone on this forum advised me to just do a simple exercise of holding a very small weight and resting my elbow on my thigh whilst sitting down and bending my forearm towards me.  To be honest I’m not sure if it helped but it did eventually settle down with a twinge occurring from time to time.  It might not be the same but it made sense that the ulnar nerve was disturbed and took time to calm down.  This may or may not help but that was my experience. 
  • Posted

    Thanks for the reply. For some reason i stopped getting notifications on shoulder issues and just had a chance to read this. My surgeon referred me to a hand surgeon who thinks i need ulnar nerve surgery. I have been to hand therapy and prescribed prednisone to cut down on the swelling which opened up a host of side effects. Really getting discouraged as i see no light at the end of this tunnel.

    • Posted

      Yes it's bad enough trying to recover from shoulder surgery without the added issue of ulnar pain . i recall being horrified when the surgeon casually remarked that if it didn't improve just come back and he will operate on the elbow to resolve it . I really wasn't up for more trauma at that point so just persevered with gentle exercise taking the view that it was all part and parcel of the healing process. it took a while but did eventually resolve without intervention .

    • Posted

      Did you have swelling of the hand and extreme knuckle /wrist pain? This has been going on for 3 months. I have been wearing braces to keep my arm straight at night plus occupational therapy. Not much help. I was given prednisone which helped with some swelling but opened up another host of side effects. Seeing both my surgeons this week. Really do not want another surgery that may interfere with my shoulder recovery that is going slow enough even at 5 months post op.

    • Posted

      I didn't have a great deal of swelling, just a little at the elbow and my wrist was more of a nerve type pain it did take a while to settle but the whole recovery from shoulder surgery was very slow.

  • Posted

    I just went through surgery on the 12th of February. I have similar problems. I tried going without my sling too soon.

    I now have constant pain and I can't seem to move my arm at all without pain. My hand is bothering me. I can't seem to move it at all without pain shooting to my elbow.

    I called the advise nurse and she said to wait a couple of days and see how it feels.

    I am calling later today to talk to the advise nurse.

    Let me know if your. problems are the same and what you did.

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