How to Put on a Bra After Shoulder Surgery

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

After getting a shoulder replacement or rotator cuff repair, you may have limited mobility in the arms while recovering. I’m sharing ways how to put on a bra after shoulder surgery to dress up without putting shoulder precautions in danger.

How to Put on a Bra After Shoulder Surgery

To put on a bra after shoulder surgery, clasp the bra in front and spin it around to wear the strap. If you have a front-clasp bra, you can wear it as normal, although you may need to pull the cups toward your unaffected arm to clasp the bra.

Graphic illustration of the step by step process of putting on a bra after a shoulder surgery

Rotator cuff repair re-attaches a tendon to the upper arm bone’s head. Meanwhile, a shoulder replacement removes a bone’s damaged part and replaces it with metal or plastic implants.

Either way, it takes time before you can move the shoulders properly, so here are different ways to wear various types of bras.

Ways to Wear a Bra After a Shoulder Injury

Regular Bra

Step 1Put your arm in an immobilized position
Step 2Position the bra cups up
Step 3Put your arm on one end of the bra
Step 4Use your other hand to reach the other side
Step 5Clasp the hook
Step 6Double check the fit and straps.

Front-Clasp Bra

Step 1Put one strap over the compromised arm
Step 2Wear the other side
Step 3Pull the cup across
Step 4Adjust the fit and straps

Pullover Bra

Step 1Slide the strap across the immobilized arm first
Step 2Put your head through the neck hole
Step 3Place your other arm across the other armhole
Step 4Adjust the fit and straps

Regular Bra

If you want to keep using your regular bra, you can do the twist-around method, which entails clasping the bra in front and spinning it around.

This is a safe way to wear a bra since it can keep your compromised arm steady. For this example, consider the left shoulder with the incision and your right arm the fully functioning one.

Wire-free regular bra nude in color with adjustable straps placed on a pink background
  1. Keep your arm in an immobilized position. You can move the wrist and fingers in this arm. You’re also encouraged to squeeze and release as part of post-surgery exercises.
  2. Set the bra in a place where it won’t get twisted. It can be on your lap or on a table in front of you. Place the bra cups up.
  3. Put one end of the bra on your immobilized arm. For instance, if your left shoulder is the injured one, then put the right end of the bra on your left hand.
  4. Use your right hand to reach around and hold the other end of the bra. If you’re having trouble using your unaffected arm, you can use a dressing stick to help get the bra’s other end.
  5. Make sure the straps and band don’t get twisted as you reach for the hook end.
  6. Clasp the hook. Be careful not to pull your compromised arm.
  7. Check if the cups are still facing down. Keep twisting until the strap for your injured shoulder is under your hand.
  8. Thread the strap up over your hand. Slide the bra as you pull up the strap.
  9. Be cautious about bumping into any surgical incisions. Don’t rock the arm forward and back as you adjust the strap.
  10. Once the cup is in place, put your unaffected arm on the other strap.
  11. Double-check and adjust breast tissue to sit correctly in each cup as you would normally do.

You can remove the bra by unclasping the bra using one hand. If you have limited dexterity, another option is to remove the bra the same way you put it on. Pull the straps gently over your arms, then twist until the strap comes off your arms.

Front-Closure Bras

You can use front-closure bras if you’re sore and stiff or feel worried about straining the incision part when closing a bra from behind. There are two types of front-closure bras: front clasp and zipper closures.

A white front clasp bra is placed on a white mannequin on a pink background

For example, there are front closure bras for seniors and sports bras with zippers. These are among the best options to wear a bra with one hand, letting you clasp or zip them without much pain.

They usually come with a wireless design, elastic cups and band, and racerback straps for ultimate comfort, convenience, and support. Follow these steps when you want to use a front-closure bra.

  1. Put one strap over the surgical or injured side first. Work the strap up and take your time to prevent the straps from twisting.
  2. Carefully reach around to get the bra’s other side.
  3. Wear the other side as if you’re putting on a jacket or a button-up shirt.
  4. Put a bit of pressure or squeeze your immobilized arm toward your sides to keep the bra cup in place.
  5. Pull the cup across and use your left hand to hold the cup. Use your other hand to clasp the bra.

Bras With Pullover Designs

The fastest way to recover from shoulder surgery is to wear a sling, encourage shoulder mobilization through physical therapy, and learn to wear clothes mindfully.

This is why it’s essential to invest in comfortable clothes, especially bras, to speed up your healing journey. A bralette and cami with a built-in bra are some of the most comfortable bras you can wear.

However, they have pullover designs that make them quite tricky to wear when you have an injured shoulder. Here’s a simple guide to wearing a bra with a pullover design.

  1. Hold one end of the bralette or cami.
  2. Slide the strap across the immobilized arm first. If you’re using a cami, bunch up the fabric first so it won’t take long for you to move it.
  3. Once the strap is on your shoulder, use your unaffected arm to get your head through the neck hole.
  4. Use your uncompromised hand to help the other arm pass through the other armhole.
  5. Adjust the bralette or cami to ensure the fabric doesn’t get bunched around the abdomen.
A green spaghetti strap pullover bra placed on a pink background

Related Questions

What Kind of Bra Is Best After a Shoulder Surgery?

Bras with racerback straps and front-clasp designs are best to wear after a shoulder injury. However, you can still wear regular bras if you feel comfortable and at ease putting them on.

What Does a Woman Wear After a Rotator Cuff Surgery?

After a rotator cuff surgery, it’s ideal to use loose-fitting tops, post-surgical shirts, and elastic-waist pants. You can also try slip-on shoes or ones with Velcro closures since it would be straining to bend and tie shoelaces.

When Can You Start Wearing a Bra After Shoulder Repair Surgery?

It’s recommendable only to start wearing a bra at least two weeks after shoulder surgery. Give time for the incision to heal. You can also consult your doctor or therapist about clothing restrictions, especially if you have a complex case.

What Is a Sports Bra? (And How To Pick One For Various Activities)


Wearing a bra can be difficult since you have limited mobility after shoulder surgery. We hope these tips can keep you independent while recovering. Take time to upgrade your wardrobe and invest in bras with cushioned straps, an elastic band, and curve-hugging cups.


Allena is the Founder and Editor of The Better Fit, a platform dedicated to empowering women with practical advice on bras and fitness, inspired by her own revelation of the widespread issue of incorrect bra sizing. Her expertise and tips have been recognized by major publications such as Cosmopolitan, Better Homes & Gardens, Insider, and NBC, making her a trusted voice in women's wellness and lifestyle.