The Best Adaptive Clothing For Shoulder Surgery

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Senior Home Safety Specialist®
20 years of medical equipment experience
Compassionately helping seniors and their caregivers solve challenges of aging

You can't wear your clothes the usual way after undergoing shoulder surgery. Fortunately, adaptive clothing caters to such conditions. And here, you can find some of the best adaptive clothing for shoulder surgery to look into.

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Adaptive Clothing For Shoulder Surgery

Have you tried wearing clothes with shoulder surgery? You will end up taking longer than usual to button up or pull the clothes over your injured shoulder. Well, that’s where adaptive clothing comes in handy.

Clothes manufacturers have come up with ways to make things easier for people at whatever stage of their life. Here is what you need to know about adaptive clothing and how it can help you. 

What Is Adaptive Clothing?

These are clothes specifically designed for people with a disability. Whether you are getting too old to button your clothes on your own or have recently suffered an injury to your shoulder, adaptive clothing will make a huge difference.

Regardless of your injury, you should be able to wear your clothes in a similar manner as before.

As we grow older, we are likely to suffer various ailments. If you have recently had shoulder surgery, you need to find a way to continue with your independence.

Even better, you need to make sure that the shoulder heals properly without any issues. As such, you are not allowed to disturb the shoulder by wearing your clothes or doing chores the normal way.

How Does Having Shoulder Surgery Affect A Person’s Ability To Dress? 

After getting shoulder surgery, you are limited to movement to ensure the shoulder heals properly. As such, you are not supposed to wear your clothes over your head the normal way.

Simply put, if you want your shoulder to heal, you can’t move it in the same way you did before. That’s why it’s important to look for adaptive clothing specifically designed for people who have undergone shoulder surgery.

On the other hand, you may have a hard time pulling up pants or buttoning up a shirt since you may be limited to using only one hand until your shoulder heals properly. Therefore, it’s prudent to find clothes that allow you to dress properly without any hassles

Adaptive clothing made for the disabled is helpful here. But, of course, your need for it is only temporary.

adaptive clothing for shoulder surgery types
Make sure to find the right type of adaptive clothing after undergoing shoulder surgery.

What Types Of Adaptive Clothing Are Helpful For People Who Have Had Shoulder Surgery?

Here is what you need to know about the right type of adaptive clothing to wear after you have had shoulder surgery.

1. Loose-Fitting Clothes

Make sure you wear loose-fitting clothes. These are easy to put on. Even better, they will fit perfectly over the sling. Remember, if you wear tight clothes, you may have a hard time putting them in the sling too. Such discomfort may result in poor recovery after shoulder surgery.

2. Adaptive Shirts

If you want your shoulder to heal properly after any surgery, make sure you choose adaptive shirts with open backs or zippers. Even better, they may have buttons that are easy to close.

Don’t put on shirts over your head since you may be forced to lift your shoulder, resulting in more hurt to your recovering shoulder.

3. Adaptive Undergarments

If you must wear bras, make sure they close in the front. That way, they are easy to put on during the recovery phase after shoulder surgery. Remember, with normal bras, you have to close at the back or at the front and turn it around.

Therefore, you need to be careful about any shoulder movement when wearing undergarments such as bras.

4. Adaptive Shoes

Make sure you can wear your shoes comfortably with one hand. Avoid shoes with laces since trying to tie them using one hand will be a huge challenge. Here, you can’t go wrong with Velcro or slip-on shoes. 

Examples Of Clothing For Shoulder Surgery 

Some of the best clothes to wear after undergoing shoulder surgery include the following.

1. Sweatpants/Elastic Waist Pants

These are easy to pull up and have an elastic waist. That way, you don’t have to worry about putting on a belt or buttoning your pants. Even better, you don’t need to worry about removing them, especially if they may harm your shoulder.

2. Large T-Shirts

Yes, you need to leave space in your t-shirt for the sling. Therefore, when updating your wardrobe after shoulder surgery, make sure you invest in t-shirts that are one size above your normal size.

3. Slip-on Or Shoes With Velcro Closures

Since you will not be able to wear normal shoes, especially those with laces, you need to invest in a lot of slip-ons. They are easy to wear without necessarily involving your shoulders.

On the other hand, if you have to wear closed shoes, you should invest in those with Velcro closures to make it easier to wear them.

Tips For Getting Dressed After Shoulder Surgery

After having shoulder surgery, you may not be able to move your shoulder normally until it heals completely. Here are the best ways to dress after shoulder surgery.

  • Choose clothes that open at the front instead of putting them over your shoulder. These include jackets, shirts, dresses and much more. Choose those with zips and Velcro closures at the front to make dressing easier for you.
  • Choose pull-on elastic waist pants because they are easier to put on. Stretchy leggings and sweatpants are also a great idea since they are easy to put on and off. Always wear pants made out of stretchy materials to make dressing easier after shoulder surgery.
  • Baggy clothes are easy to put on if you can’t use one of your arms. Clothes that are a few sizes bigger are the best bet when it comes to dressing after your shoulder surgery.
  • Choose camisoles with built-in bras since it’s hard to put bras on and off after shoulder surgery. Additionally, you can’t go wrong with a plain fitted tank top underneath the shirt.
  • Tying shoes will be difficult after shoulder surgery, so you need to choose flip flops, Velcro sneakers, clogs, and slip-on.

Whatever you do, make sure you don’t move your shoulder too much since it may cause more harm during the recovery period.

adaptive clothing for shoulder surgery where to buy
You may find some adaptive shirts that will be comfortable for your recovery.

Where To Buy Clothing For Shoulder Surgery?

Since you don’t really need special adaptive clothing after shoulder surgery, you can shop in your local supermarket and find sweatpants, large t-shirts, and other clothes to make it easier to dress after undergoing shoulder surgery.

If you prefer to have an adaptive shirt or two around while you recover, here are some of our favorite retailers:


Use code GWG10 to save 10% off regular prices.

Ovidis is a specialty manufacturer of clothing for people with physical or cognitive difficulties. They offer unique and innovative designs for easy and stress-free dressing for people who have trouble dressing, including people who are recovering from shoulder surgery.


Zappos offers much more than adaptive shoes. They offer many adaptive clothing items as well from many of the popular adaptive clothing brands. Plus, they have an Advisory Council that reviews and selects the items they choose to sell.

Dignity Pajamas

Dignity Pajamas has created a nice niche in adaptive sleepwear for men and women. They offer many styles of sleep shirts, pajamas, and gowns with open backs and velcro closures.

Amazon Adaptive Clothing

Being one of the world’s largest retailers, Amazon offers a wide selection of adaptive clothing from many of the most popular manufacturers. Another benefit to purchasing from Amazon is their easy to navigate website and generous return policies. 


Etsy is a great place to find one-of-a-kind adaptive clothing pieces that aren’t mass-marketed. Some Etsy sellers even offer custom-made items for special situations or will make special sizes for larger or smaller people.


JCPenney offers a decent selection of adaptive clothing made by standard clothing manufacturers like St. John’s Ba, a.n.a., and Worthington. Plus sizes are available too. 

You can also find adaptive clothing through brands dedicated specifically to the craft. A few examples include:

Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive

Perhaps a surprising addition to the list is well-known fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger who has a line of adaptive clothing for both adults and children. His shop is a great choice for the more fashion-forward person.

RELATED: Ultimate List of Top Adaptive Clothing Brands and Retailers

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Can You Make Your Own Adaptive Clothing For Shoulder Surgery?

Yes, you can always make your own adaptive clothing after shoulder surgery, depending on the type of clothes you need.

However, since sweatpants and large t-shirts are largely available in most of the large stores, you don’t need to spend a lot of money looking for special clothes.

2. How Can You Adapt Your Own Clothing To Work Better After Shoulder Surgery?

If you have a lot of tight pants, you can opt for sweat pants or those with stretchy materials to make it easier to dress up.

On the other hand, you should shop for slip-on and shoes that are easy to put on to make things easier. For jackets, make sure they open at the front to avoid putting anything above your shoulder.

Final Thoughts

Wearing clothes after undergoing shoulder surgery is tough on anyone. Therefore, make sure that you improve your healing process by wearing the right clothes.

Don’t’ agitate your shoulder by wearing clothes above your head. Rather, you should opt for clothes that are easy to put on. As a rule, you should always shop for clothes that are a few sizes larger to make it easier to wear your sling and your clothes.

You don’t need to stress yourself wearing shoes with laces. Even better, you can wear sweatpants or any pants made out of stretchy materials to make things easy for you as you recover.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Senior Home Safety Specialist (SHSS)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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