Rate and time to return to shooting following arthroscopic and open shoulder surgery

Joseph W. Galvin, John Slevin, Henry H. Yu, Eric K. Turner, John M. Tokish, Jason A. Grassbaugh, Edward D. Arrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There is limited information on return to shooting following shoulder surgery. The purpose of this study is to determine the rate and timing for resuming shooting a rifle following shoulder surgery. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of prospectively collected data. The study included patients undergoing arthroscopic and open shoulder stabilization for unidirectional shoulder instability, and arthroscopic surgery for rotator cuff tears, SLAP lesions, biceps tendinopathy, and acromioclavicular pathology. Data collected included the laterality of surgery, shooting dominance, and patient-reported outcome measures at the preoperative and postoperative visits. Starting at the 4.5-month clinic visit, patients were asked if they could shoot a military rifle. Results: One hundred patients were identified with arthroscopic and open shoulder surgery with a mean age of 30 years (range, 18-45) and a mean follow-up of 24 months (range, 12-32). The cohort consisted of patients undergoing arthroscopic Bankart repair (n = 23), arthroscopic posterior labral repair (n = 18), open Latarjet (n = 16), mini-open subpectoral biceps tenodesis (OBT) (n = 25), OBT with open distal clavicle resection (DCR) (n = 10), open DCR (n = 4), and arthroscopic rotator cuff repair with concomitant OBT (n = 4). Significant improvement in SSV, VAS, ASES, and WOSI was shown at 1-year postoperative, SSV 85, VAS 2, ASES 85, WOSI 239, P = .001. The percentage of patients reporting the ability to shoot a military rifle postoperatively were 47%, 63%, 85%, and 94% at 4.5 months, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years, respectively. At 4.5 months postoperatively, patients who underwent surgery ipsilateral to their shooting dominance (n = 59) had a rate of return to shooting (33%) versus shoulder surgery on the contralateral side of shooting dominance (n = 41) (60%), P = .04. However, there was no significant difference in the groups at 6 months and 1 year. Additionally, there was a significant difference in the rate of return to shooting at 6 months in patients undergoing arthroscopic posterior labral repair versus the remainder of the cohort (posterior instability (33%) vs. (69%), P = .016), and a significant difference between posterior shoulder stabilization and anterior shoulder stabilization (70%), P = .03. Conclusion: Patients undergoing arthroscopic and open shoulder surgery have a high rate of return to shooting. Approximately 60% of patients resume shooting at 6 months postoperatively and 85% return at 1 year. Patients undergoing shoulder surgery on the contralateral side of their shooting dominance return to shooting significantly faster than those with shoulder surgery ipsilateral to their shooting dominance. Additionally, those undergoing arthroscopic posterior shoulder stabilization return to shooting at a slower rate than anterior stabilization surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)963-969
Number of pages7
JournalJSES International
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Arthroscopy
  • Case Series
  • Level IV
  • Prognosis Study
  • Return to shooting
  • Rifle
  • Shooting
  • Shoulder surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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