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Exercises After Breast Surgery: Ball Squeeze, Arm Cross, Broom Stretch

As you recover from breast surgery, your doctor will tell you when it is safe to begin exercising, what kind of exercises you can do, and how much exercising you should do. Your goal will be to regain normal range of motion and use of your arm. For your safety, use this handout only as directed by your doctor or physical therapist.

Woman doing ball squeeze exercise.

Woman doing arm cross exercise.

☐ Ball squeeze

  • While standing, sitting, or lying down, hold a rubber ball in your hand on the operated side.

  • Keep your arm slightly bent, with your palm toward the ceiling. Lift your hand higher than your heart. Squeeze and relax the ball.

  • Repeat 10 times.

☐ Arm cross

  • Stand with elbows bent and raised to shoulder level. Cross one arm on top of the other arm. Touch your elbows with your fingers.

  • Push your elbows backward, squeezing your shoulder blades together.

  • Repeat 10 times.

Woman doing broom stretch exercise.

☐ Broom stretch

  • Place the hand on your operated side over the end of a stick (a broom or cane will work). Grasp farther down the stick with your other hand, palm down.

  • Gently but firmly, push the end of the stick as high as you comfortably can. Hold this position for 15 seconds.

  • Return to starting position.

  • Repeat 10 times.

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