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8 Weeks Post-Op: The Beginning of Recovery

I am currently 8 weeks post-op and as I mentioned before, occupational therapy started immediately after the cast came off. I have been working on it for about two weeks and I have to say, although you come out of the cast like a stone, you loosen up pretty quickly. That isn’t to say I am remotely close to being at normal function again, but for example, I can lay my hand flat on a table now with no stress whereas before I didn’t even come close because of the stiffness in my wrist (my hand looked like a claw or a hook). My flexor tendons had contracted so much in the cast that they needed to be loosened after being freed. One thing I have to admit though is that it is a lot more physical therapy than I would have imagined. I meet with my therapist twice a week and I have to exercise pretty much on the hour. It is tiring to say the least. It definitely does pay off though and I can see the difference already. The exercises include bending the joints in the fingers and thumb actively, holding for ten seconds, then passively assisting them further for another ten. I do ten sets of ten a day. I also have thumb exercises I will try to post pictures of later so you can see, but it is hard to explain. I also have to massage the scar 5-10 minutes, 4 times per day in order to loosen it up. Make sure to ask your doctor if your scar is stuck to the tendons (although it should be clear), mine is in at least two places so I have to massage extra. Sensation is starting to come back a very little bit. I do not expect sensation to be fully recovered for a long time though. The median nerve regrows at the rate of one mm per day (or one inch per month) and this growth does not begin until one month after surgery. It is discouraging to see only smaller changes after the first week in terms of mobility, but it is important not to let it get you down. Just understand it is like losing weight and takes lots of time coupled with lots of work. You may not notice that changes as much because you work with it every day, but you are making progress and it WILL get easier.

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