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Looking after your new shoulder or elbow joint

After elbow replacement surgery, you shouldn't lift objects heavier than a small bag of sugar for the rest of your life. The current artificial elbow joints aren't designed for any heavier work and the new joint probably won't last as long if you over-stress it.

If you had both sides of your shoulder joint replaced (total shoulder replacement), you should also avoid heavy loads to help your new joint last longer. This is especially important if you've had a reverse anatomy arthroplasty.

Getting back to normal

Some patients spend longer in rehab than others. Usually after 6 weeks the pain has subsided enough for you to lift your arm and perform daily activities such as dressing, feeding and washing yourself.

Can I work and drive afterwards?

It may take up to 3 months before you can return to work, depending on the type of work you do. Heavy manual activities aren't recommended at any time following shoulder or elbow replacements. This is because heavy activity can loosen the replaced parts in the bone and damage the artificial joint.

You'll be able to drive after your joint replacement as long as you can safely control the vehicle and do an emergency stop. It's important to check with your insurance company, and you need to be confident that you can control the vehicle at all times.

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