We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more
You are here:
> > > > > Looking after your new shoulder or elbow joint

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.


0800 5200 520

Our new helpline: Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis. Open Mon–Fri 9am–8pm.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes

Virtual Assistant

Our new Arthritis Virtual Assistant uses artificial intelligence to answer your arthritis related questions 24/7.

Ask a question
For more information, go to
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.