After having surgery on your shoulder you may be asked to wear a sling for anywhere from 6-10 weeks. You may wonder how to use an arm sling or how to properly wear an arm sling. Most slings will have a strap going around your neck, a strap going around your abdomen, and an abductor pillow to keep your arm in a neutral position at your side. When slings are worn improperly they place the shoulder in an unnatural position and force it to carry the load of the arm. This can have many negative effects on your recovery including increased pain, difficulty regaining range of motion, and adding strain on the repair that was done on your shoulder. Proper sling use can be a vital part of the recovery process following a shoulder injury. Following these tips can help you wear your sling correctly and prevent complications while recovering from your shoulder surgery.
One of the most important aspects of proper sling use is to ensure that the sling is holding the entire weight of your arm. You should never raise your shoulder to move your arm while wearing the sling as the muscles and tendons of the shoulder will be very sensitive following your procedure. Make sure your forearm is flat in the sling and parallel with the ground. Also, keep the elbow positioned as far back as it will go in the sling to make sure the whole sling is carrying the load of your arm. A good check for this to make sure that the end of the sling goes up to the edge of your hand so that only your fingers are exposed.
Another important aspect of proper sling use is to make sure your arm is in a neutral position at your side. Your upper arm should remain directly to your side and in line with the rest of your body. At the same time it is important to keep your forearm at a 45° angle in relation to your hip. Ensuring that your arm is not positioned too far in front of or behind you can help reduce the strain on your shoulder and thus resulting in less pain overall.
Bad Sling Positioning
Bad Sling Positioning
Correct Sling Position
The Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute has many other articles about the shoulder which may be interesting to you. Here is a link to one of them. http://www.joionline.net/trending/content/5-shoulder-symptoms-you-cannot-ignore or about our new waterproof cast or splint