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Best shoulder pulleys

The Best Over the Door Shoulder Pulley for Shoulder Rehab

Best shoulder pulleyShoulder injuries are a very common type of injury worldwide. According to the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, last year saw approximately 1.4 million shoulder surgeries alone.

The shoulder is a major joint in the body and responsible for a very wide range of motion. Due to the high frequency of use, large amount of motion, and forces applied to the shoulder it is often from sports and overuse. One of the best ways to gain range of motion back after an injury is to use an over the door shoulder pulley.

A shoulder pulley allows you to move your injured/surgical arm without causing pain or further damaging it.

Name Picture Price Best Feature Our rating Best Price
Vive Shoulder Pulley $ 60 Day Guarantee 9.4/10 See Current Price
BodyHealt Overhead Shoulder Pulley $ Two Installment Options 8.8/10 See Current Price
PrePak Products Home Ranger Shoulder Pulley $ Latex Comfort-Grip Handles 9.2/10 See Current Price
BlueRanger Shoulder Pulley with Patient Guide $ Custom Zinc Pulley resists distortion over time 9.4/10 See Current Price
Therapist’s Choice® Shoulder Pulley $ Smooth Nylon Roller Pulley 9.2/10 See Current Price

What is a Shoulder Pulley?

A shoulder pulley is a device developed for physical therapy to help improve the range of motion of a patient’s shoulder during and after the healing process.

A shoulder pulley commonly consists of:

  • A length of rope approximately 6 feet in length.
  • Two handles, one attached at each end of the rope.
  • And a pulley in the middle of the rope can be hung.

This simple yet effective devices  can have a huge effect on improving the healing process post surgery.

Common Injuries and Surgeries that would Benefit from Using a Shoulder Pulley

There are a number of injuries associated with shoulder pain, many of them are quite common and caused simply by use over time. Using a shoulder pulley can help with the pain, and help with the recovery period.

  • Tendonitis of the rotator cuff.
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Frozen Shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis 
  • Shoulder replacement
  • Fractures 
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Bicep Tendon Injuries

Do you have a new shoulder injury? Have you tried using a shoulder brace? See our best shoulder braces to improve pain! 

How to Use a Shoulder Pulley

Using a shoulder pulley during recovery is fairly straightforward. There are several different positions that can be used in order to accelerate recovery and redevelop strength in the full range of motion of the shoulder.

  • After attaching the pulley to an overhead position you can sit or stand depending on your preference or design of the shoulder pulley.
  • After grasping the handles with opposite hands, you use the unaffected arm to flex the shoulder that is in recovery.
  • There are several positions the affected arm can be in, with elbows bent and out in front, behind the back, the arm can be outstretched and out in front or out to the side.
  • It is important not to stretch the affected should past mild discomfort.
  • After repeating a movement for several minutes you will likely notice a greater degree of flexion in the shoulder and reduced discomfort.

FAQs About Shoulder Pulleys

Can you use shoulder pulleys after a shoulder replacement?

Absolutely! A shoulder pulley is great way to to improve range of motion after a shoulder replacement. Just be sure to get clearance from your surgeon or physical therapist before beginning range of motion exercises. 

Can you use shoulder pulleys for a rotator cuff repair?

Yes you can. You normally can’t use shoulder pulley until at least 4 – 6 weeks after surgery to let it heal but using shoulder pulleys is a great shoulder exercise.

Does a shoulder pulley help with arthritis?

A shoulder pulley can help with shoulder arthritis. A shoulder pulley helps bring blood to the shoulder and stretch out the shoulder joint which can help keep the shoulder healthy.

How often should you use shoulder pulleys?

If you are trying to improve your range of motion, then using the shoulder pulley twice a day. 

Use the shoulder pulley as much as you would like to help keep your shoulder loose.

The Best Shoulder Pulley to Improve Motion and Decrease Shoulder Pain

Vive Shoulder Pulley

The Vive over the door pulley system is one of the most common shoulder pulleys. It comes with a 60-day guarantee if you are not satisfied.

Pros: This shoulder is constructed of nylon with a metal pulley with a strap. The design is such that it will not leave a mark or scuff doors or door frames. The length of the rope is long enough to allow exercising while in a sitting position.

Cons: The length of the rope may be too long for those who do not have tall doors in their home.

Vive Shoulder Pulley

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BodyHealt Overhead Shoulder Pulley

This Body Health shoulder pulley features a corded rope and metal door hang. The handles of this model are large and easily adjusted for comfort, and the metal bracket of this device is very secure once placed.

Pros: This model of shoulder pulley comes with adjustable stops on the rope so you can measure your progress. Also, the large foam grips have the rope running through them and knotted back on itself, If you desire a different length of the rope this can be easily achieved by moving the placement of the knot.

Cons: The metal clasp may scuff and scratch your door during exercises, this is a bit of a trade off with its stability.

BodyHealt Shoulder Pulley

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PrePak Products Home Ranger Shoulder Pulley

This is a very simple shoulder pulley design from PrePak Products. It features a corded cotton rope and plastic pulley with a non-scuff door hang. Everything about this device is ergonomically designed.

Pros: The pulley itself is made from nylon, reducing noise to a bare minimum and eliminating metal residue. The handles of this pulley device are designed in a shape to fill a closed hand and feel very natural. Also the handles are latex-free.

Cons: The strap that secures the pulley to the door may not be very stable, and depending on the weight of your arm may be prone to breaking.

Prepak Shoulder Pulley

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BlueRanger Shoulder Pulley with Patient Guide

The BlueRangers shoulder pulley is a design that has served over one million patients in recovery over the past twenty years. The RangeMaster pulley serves is designed to be ergonomic and secure.

Pros: The length of the rope of this device is easily adjusted due to smart design in the handles. No knot tying is necessary for adjustments. The pulley of this device is custom-designed, featuring a self-lubricating nylon roller and zinc-coated housing, reducing noise while being very secure.

Cons: The door hangs on this device is largely metal with a foam guard on one side, this will most likely scratch a door during exercise.

Blue Ranger Shoulder Pulley

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Therapist’s Choice® Shoulder Pulley

This is an economy shoulder pulley by Therapist’s choice. This is an ideal rehab pulley for those expecting a short recovery time and only need a pulley for a short time.

Pros: The price of this device is very affordable for those on a budget. The over the door anchor is made of canvas, so it is easily resistant to breaking or causing damage to the door.

Cons: The only con of this shoulder pulley is the pulley itself is prone to breaking down quickly. Those with a longer recovery time than a few weeks may need to purchase a more long term solution.

Therapists Choice Shoulder Pulley

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As medical technology and knowledge increase much of the responsibility of recovering lands on the patient. Using devices like shoulder pulleys allows a patient to take their recovery period into their own hands and exercise when needed or wanted. These simple low-cost devices are highly effective in speeding and help the recovery of an injured shoulder.


Works Cited:

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is for educational purposes only. This is not a substitute for a medical appointment. Please refer to your physician before starting any exercise program.