View information about our visitor policy  »
Book an appointment at our COVID-19 Assessment Centre (new location) »

My lumpectomy surgery

Exercises after surgery

Important reminder

  • Normal use of your arm is important. If you have problems moving your arm after surgery, your doctor can refer you to a physiotherapist in the Breast Centre.
  • Begin the following exercises one day after surgery. The exercises should be done 3 times a day until you have full movement in your arm(s).
  • If pain stops you from doing your exercises, use your pain medication 30 minutes before you exercise.
  • It is normal to feel a gentle stretch while exercising but you should not feel a sharp pain. Slowly bend your elbow while making a fist at the same time.

1. Arm lifts

arm lifts

  1. Sit or stand.
  2. Lift your arm up, letting the thumb lead the way.
  3. Repeat 10 times

2. Sideways arm liftssideways arm lifts

  1. Sit or stand.
  2. Lift your arm up sideways with the thumb leading the way.
  3. Repeat 10 times.

3. Shoulder circlesShoulder circles

  1. Sit or stand.
  2. Roll your shoulders forwards and backwards.
  3. Repeat 10 times in both directions

4. Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Shoulder blade squeeze

  1. Sit with your back straight and feet firmly on the floor.
  2. Pull your shoulder blades together while turning your palms forward.
  3. Hold for 5 seconds, repeat 5 times.

* The exercises in this guide have been adapted from the booklet Exercises after Breast Surgery, Canadian Cancer Society, 2015.


« PreviousNext »