“Typically we see a return to the sport of choice following surgery within 6-9 months,” says Dr. Burkhart. “Rehab can be carried out at home, but at Orlando Orthopaedic Center we recommend patients see our physical therapists to help guide their road to recovery.”
Because the graft is very strong and fixation is so secure, early range of motion and rehabilitation is safe. Physical therapy is necessary to regain strength and range of motion in the elbow following Tommy John surgery and may begin following the first several weeks of recovery.
“Although range of motion and strength about the elbow returns within a couple of months of the surgery, the throwing athlete still has a large amount of work to ready the elbow for throwing,” says Dr. Schwartzberg.
“Emphasis on the entire kinetic chain during rehabilitation is critical. The throwing motion begins with the legs, involves the trunk and then the shoulder, elbow and wrist. Core strengthening is very important and a hard working and patient athlete can end up becoming a stronger, healthier throwing athlete.”
Most patients make a complete recovery and return to normal activities with little to no change in their routine once fully healed.