How to Survive Weeks in an Arm Sling

Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 409 Answers

A woman wearing a sleeveless sun dress with her arm in a sling.After having surgery on my shoulder for a torn Rotator Cuff two weeks ago, I've learned a few useful things that might help you one day.

The best idea actually came from my husband! Faced with the need to help me get into and out of slacks and a button-down shirt every day for six weeks, he suggested wearing those strapless, elastic top sundresses.


They're perfect! I can pull one up or down without removing the sling and they're so much more comfortable. Since the sun dresses aren't something I'll wear for long, I bought several from a local thrift store and saved money.

Another tip is to line the sleeve of the sling with a soft cloth. It keeps the sling from irritating your skin. The shoulder strap can be bulky and uncomfortable, so whenever I'm sitting still or sleeping in a recliner, I unhook the strap which is quite a relief.

Last of all, when it feels like you will be in that horrible contraption forever, remind yourself that each day is one day closer to being well. This too shall pass.

A woman wearing a sleeveless sun dress with her arm in a sling.
A woman wearing a sleeveless sun dress with her arm in a sling.
A woman wearing a sleeveless sun dress with her arm in a sling.

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November 4, 20171 found this helpful

Your so lucky that you just had a sling. I broke my hand and wrist and had to have a full heavy plaster cast. I live up on the Arctic Circle so wearing strapless and sleeveless anything is impossible. I wrapped my arm and hand in plastic bags and attached them with rubber bands when I showered.


When going outside I used plastic bags and a big men's wool sock when going outside and used a pair of pliers to zip up my jeans and jacket. It was only six weeks but it felts like months but we survive.


Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 409 Answers
November 5, 20171 found this helpful

Wow, you sure had it worse than I do! Are you healed up and out of your cast now?

I've started physical therapy, so I'm getting there. Thanks for your reply.

October 18, 20190 found this helpful

Thank you & your husband so much for this info my shoulder operation is next week & I never thought of those dresses, but thats perfect idea!....thanks for sharing, cheers

June 28, 20201 found this helpful

Im a week in after shoulder surgery...this is a great idea but I dont have boobs big enfu to keep them up !

June 28, 20200 found this helpful

I wish my shoulder looked as good as yours!

June 28, 20200 found this helpful

I wish my shoulder looked as good as yours!

July 8, 20200 found this helpful

Today is 10 days post arthroscopic surgery, two almost complete tears, and I am doing good.
I followed subestions for strapless dress and tops. Great idea and perfect timing, July. Hot.


I Also took older tank tops and cut top of surgical side, stepping into, shimmied up with he,p from hubby. Sorry, typing isn't good left handed.
A comfy recliner will be your best option for sleep...get it before and get used to it. Trust me.
Oh, spray deodorant a must. Using an old t-shirt, cut a strip and sew to make a tube for your arm for inside of sling, another good suggestion.
Learn to do things such as washing, brushing teeth, using the toilet with your non surgical hand. It takes a lot of practice!
As soon as you an, get up and move, take short 5-10 main walks. Does your mind & body good.
Thanks you for all your suggestions.

January 9, 20210 found this helpful

Absolute must. When you get chaffing, which this contraption will do, try the following. Betadine (iodine solution kills bacteria) very soothing. Its yellow but washes right off. After it dries, follow with A and D Ointment.


Even more soothing. Your rash will heal in a matter of a couple days and its feels instantly better. I learned this from diaper rash on my sons as babies and subsequent road rash from cycling in recent years. Works great.

July 20, 20210 found this helpful

Amazon sells post-surgical shirts. They snap across the shoulder and all the way down the side. One brand even has a strip you can hold in your teeth while you snap the shoulder closed. Keeps the flap from falling to your back, never to be snapped lol. I'm 11 days post and these shirts have been great.

July 22, 20220 found this helpful

I fell in the bathroom and fractured my shoulder back in February, had shoulder replacement in March, and was in a sling for about 6 weeks. I was so glad to give that up.


The skin around the surgery got very dry and flaky, so I used "Pretty Feet and Hands" cream, and then I treated it with Aquaphor or cocoa butter. I wore some of my husband's Tommy Bahama shirts for a while. Most of my tops are pullovers, and there was no way I could wear them. I can now.

I went braless for about 3 months, and I still don't wear a bra when I'm at home. I can't use both hands to hook one in back just yet, so when I need to wear one, I hook it, step into it, and pull it up.

Still doing physical therapy twice a week. I covered the scar with a fake tattoo. I'm not a fan of tattoos, but it looks better than that gnarly scar!


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 418 Posts
July 22, 20220 found this helpful

Jodie, I love the idea of hooking your bra and stepping into it. I learned that trick years ago. It works much faster and easier for me to put it on that way. When I wash my bras and put them away, they are fastened and ready to put on.


I know you are glad to have that shoulder repaired. Hope it is a lot better now.

July 28, 20220 found this helpful

Another easy way to put on a bra is to buy extensions and step into the bra.

May 10, 20230 found this helpful

A sundress? Not where I live.


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