Terri Marcus gets back to life

Patient Story

Back to Life Following a Shoulder Replacement

Posted By Meg Washburn Give Now


Terri Marcus, 65, was living an active life. She worked at a local law office, and enjoyed biking and walking in her free time. In 2015, these activities came to a screeching halt, however, when she began experiencing right shoulder pain. The pain steadily increased to the point where she had difficulty doing basic tasks, such as writing, eating and carrying groceries.

In October of that year, Terri underwent total shoulder replacement surgery. Anticipating an intense recovery, she knew that treatment and therapy at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) would be critical in regaining the abilities she had lost.

“Previously, I had undergone physical therapy at RIC following a back injury,” said Terri. “I knew I needed to return to RIC if I was going to achieve the fullest recovery. I was well aware of the journey ahead, and was eager to reclaim my life and passions. RIC was my first stop on this mission.”


Seven weeks after her surgery, Terri began physical therapy in RIC’s Outpatient Program, where she participated in two sessions each week for six weeks. Her initial goal was clear: she wanted to regain the use of her right arm and hand in doing everyday activities.

“I had lost total use of my right hand and had become a left-handed person out of necessity,” said Terri. “I was determined to regain my ‘normal’ way of doing things.”

Terri’s physical therapist used a variety of research-based interventions, including progressive range-of-motion techniques — from the therapist independently exercising Terri’s joint in the beginning to Terri ultimately exercising it herself. Other interventions focused on general rotator cuff strengthening and scapular stabilization exercises, allowing Terri better alignment in the shoulder girdle and decreased risk for additional injury.

She also spent some sessions in the therapy kitchen located in RIC’s Activities of Daily Living (ADL) studio. In this model kitchen, Terri worked with her therapist on practicing everyday skills, such as lifting small objects (utensils, a salt shaker, etc.), opening cupboards, unloading a dishwasher and opening a refrigerator.

Terri’s work continued at home where she committed to doing daily exercises prescribed by her physical therapist. Every day, she put in a total of an hour and half, broken into three intervals.

In January 2016, having regained full use of her right arm and hand, Terri completed her outpatient journey with RIC. Since then, she’s reclaimed her active lifestyle.Terri Marcus

“I’m doing great — 100 percent back to my old self,” she said. “I’m now an active participant in water aerobics classes. I even traveled to Israel last April, and I was able to do everything I wanted to on the trip. I’ve gotten everything back!”

Learn more about Terri’s journey with RIC by watching this Living Healthy Chicago segment on WGN-TV.

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