Patient activity levels after reverse total shoulder arthroplasty: What are patients doing?

Grant Garcia, Samuel A. Taylor, Gregory Thomas Mahony, Brian Grawe, Joshua S. Dines, Russell F. Warren, Edward V. Craig, Lawrence Vincent Gulotta

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: Indications for reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA) are expanding, resulting in younger patients who wish to remain active following the procedure. Little information, however, is available to help manage expectations of both physicians and patients for return to sporting activities. The purpose of this study was to determine the rate of return of sports activities, assess average time to return to sports for patients having undergone RTSA. Methods: A prospectively collected registry was queried for consecutive patients who underwent RTSA at our institution between 2007 and 2013. Patients with a minimum of 1-year follow-up were included. Patients without preoperative sporting activity were excluded. All patients were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their physical fitness, sporting activities. The questionnaire was designed in accordance with previously published activity assessments for total joint arthroplasty. Each patient also completed an ASES and VAS assessment. Results: 76 patients played a sport preoperatively and met inclusion/exclusion criteria. The average followup was 31.6 months (12-65 mons) and average age was 74.84 years (49.9 - 92.6 yrs). Preoperative diagnoses were cuff tear arthropathy (55.2%), osteoarthritis (30.9%), proximal humerus fracture (17.1%), and rheumatoid arthritis (5.2%). 73% of the cohort had undergone prior ipsilateral shoulder surgery. Average VAS pain scores improved from 6.57 to 0.63 (p<0.001). Average ASES scores improved from 34.30 to 81.45 (p<0.001). 85.5% of patients who participated in sports preoperatively returned to at least one sport following RTSA. Average time to full return to sport was 5.3 months. Walking had the highest direct rate of return (85.7%), followed by fitness sports (81.5%), swimming (66.7%), running (57.1%), cycling (50.0%) and golf (50%). Age less than 70 years had significant improvement in rate of return to sports (p<0.002). 41.1% reported improved physical fitness following RTSA. 88.2% felt their sports outcome was good to excellent and 93.4% felt their surgical outcome was good to excellent. The two most commonly reported reasons for not returning to a sport were pain (13.1%) and lack of interest (9.2%). For all types of sports and rates of return see fig 1. Conclusion: Patients undergoing RTSA had an 85% rate of return to one or more sporting activities at an average of 5.3 months following surgery. Non-contact high demand activities (swimming, skiing, golf, and tennis) had lower return rates than lower demand activities. Age greater than 70 years old was a significant predictor of decreased return to activities. This is the only study to document both preoperative and postoperative sports and activities of daily living following RTSA. The present study offers valuable information to help manage patient and surgeon expectations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2015

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© The Author(s) 2015.


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