Background: Return to sports after total hip or knee replacement surgery has been extensively described. However, the return to general sporting activities after shoulder replacement surgery has not been well documented. With improved implant sur- vivorship, patient expectation of function is high.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the outcome and ability of patients returning to sports after shoulder replacement surgery.
Study Design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.
Methods: Seventy-five patients (86 shoulder replacements) who participated in sports or recreational activities before surgery were followed for a minimum of 2 years. Their preoperative and postoperative sports participation and level of competition were assessed. The frequency of their activity, modifications in activity, and length of time it took to resume sports participation after the operation were all reviewed.
Results: The mean age at follow-up was 65.5 years (range, 24-88). The average follow-up was 3.7 years (range, 2-9.4). Sixty- four percent of the patients stated that one of the reasons they had the surgery performed was participation in sports. Thirty- four of 48 of these patients (71%) demonstrated an improvement in their ability to play their sport and 50% increased their frequency of participation postoperatively. Softball athletes demonstrated the least favorable return; only 2 of 10 patients returned. Swimming, tennis, and golf were the most popular sports; participants in these sports showed the most favorable improvement and actual return. The mean time to partial return to sports was 3.6 months, and 5.8 months to full participation.
Conclusion: Patients are able to successfully return to sports after shoulder arthroplasty. Many returned with improved performance and increased frequency in participation in a timely manner.