Carpal tunnel syndrome is an unpleasant condition the affects the hand. The condition is caused when a major nerve that crosses over the carpal bones and into the wrist is compressed. A person with carpal tunnel syndrome may experience burning, tingling, or numbness in the hand. Severe carpal tunnel syndrome is typically treated with surgery at places like Town Center Orthopaedic Associates, P.C. If you're planning to have an open carpal tunnel release surgery, use the following tips for a smooth recovery.
Keep Your Hand Elevated
For the first several days after open carpal tunnel release surgery, you should try to keep your hand elevated as much as possible. Doing so will help prevent swelling and promote healing. When walking, hold the hand that was operated on up with your other hand so it is not swinging by your side.
Don't Remove the Dressing
At the end of an open carpal tunnel release procedure, the incision will be stitched and your hand surgery specialist will place a dressing on your hand. This dressing will need to stay on until you visit your doctor for a follow-up appointment to have the stitches removed. It is important to keep the dressing clean and dry, and avoid allowing the stitches to get wet.
Avoid Gripping and Pinching
For the first several weeks after surgery, avoid activities that require heavy gripping or pinching motions. Gripping or pinching too soon after surgery can cause the tendons in your hand to push against the healing carpal ligament. Make sure you talk to your doctor before resuming gripping or pinching in order to avoid a delay in your recovery.
Don't Expect Instant Results
While open carpal tunnel release is typically quite effective, you should not expect the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome to instantly disappear after surgery. A complete recovery from open carpal tunnel release can sometimes take several months, so you will need to be prepared to live with the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome while the compressed nerve and your carpal ligament heal.
Attend All Physical Therapy Sessions
Shortly after your stitches are removed, your doctor will most likely prescribe physical therapy. Attending all physical therapy sessions is very important. In the beginning, your physical therapist will use massage to help reduce sensitivity in the incision and prevent scar tissue from forming. As you continue to recover, you will work with your physical therapist to complete hand exercises that will help stabilize the muscles and joints in your hand.