Trapeziectomy

Cushytara
Cushytara Member Posts: 22
edited 3. Jul 2016, 07:18 in Say Hello Archive
Hi All. I'm 11 weeks post-op from right hand trapeziectomy. This forum has been invaluable as it has been easy to see that everyone has had very different experiences. Biggest problem for me has been collateral damage due to being in plaster for 6 weeks. Been seeing Occ Therapist for 6 weeks as my thumb is v stiff. I have learned patience. You need lots of it. This is not minor surgery but I'm pain free and every step forward is a major triumph!

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  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 3,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Welcome to Arthritis Care Forums Cushytara from the moderation team

    As mods we are here to help with any problems you may have on the message boards.

    There are lots of lovely people here with a wide range of experiences with arthritis and the problems of living with the condition. Just join in wherever you like you will be made very welcome.

    It's a little quiet, being Saturday night & Haloween, but I'm sure you will see some replies soon.

    I look forward to seeing you posting on the boards.

    Best wishes
    Mod B
  • inlinedancer
    inlinedancer Member Posts: 15
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello I had a Trapezietomy on my left thumb a week ago. It has been pretty painful. It is nice to read of other people that have had this operation.
  • Cushytara
    Cushytara Member Posts: 22
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello to you too! I'm amazed by how post- op treatment varies. Are you in plaster? Wish I could've got on here earlier. It's quite reassuring hearing other stories.
  • inlinedancer
    inlinedancer Member Posts: 15
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Yes I have a half plaster type cast on at the moment and get a full one next Tuesday at the hospital. It is not too bad but I get to around 4 ish each day and my hand seems to swell and the plaster digs in. Also with having to use my right hand so much the thumb joint is swelling up on that side!!. I will need that doing at a later date but it was not as bad as my left thumb. I hope you are doing well, it is nice to know someone that has had this procedure done. I am looking forward to getting past the cast stage and start a few exercises. I can't imagine that at the moment as it strikes me it's going to be painful!!
  • Cushytara
    Cushytara Member Posts: 22
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    My experience was pretty much the same. Half cast for 8 days then full cast for 5 weeks. Once the full cast went on, life became easier as the hand felt far less vulnerable and the pins and needles and numbness ceased within a few days. My arm used to swell if it wasn't kept elevated and once it was in plaster it irritated the wound somewhat. Keep it up and don't get too hot ;-). I had the same problems with my left hand but that eased a little and has gone back to how it was before the op. I think I was under the misapprehension that it was a minor op and it certainly isn't but it does improve with time. My right thumb is pretty much pain-free. It feels a bit battered and bruised from the therapy but is bearable and I'm mostly back to normal and I'm getting stronger ever time I go to OT. Hope you get good OT. Mine has been amazing and a very positive experience. Some of the exercises have made me feel a bit odd (massaging the scar to release sticky bits under it) but you've just got to get on with it.
  • inlinedancer
    inlinedancer Member Posts: 15
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you for your replies and tips. I had a bad day yesterday, probably did a bit too much. I took our dog out for a walk and hurt myself trying to tie dog poo bags!! I want to try and get on as normal but you realise you can't very well. I went to bed last night with my hand swollen, painful and the cast digging in everywhere. Yes it is a bigger op than you think. So today I am going to take it easy and keep my hand elevated as much as I can. It is good to hear that you are progressing well, I can't wait to be at that stage, but I must be patient!!!! :)
  • Cushytara
    Cushytara Member Posts: 22
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Oh, I feel for you. Who knew knotting a poo bag could be so excruciatingly painful? It's still something that's difficult for me. Thing is, you don't know you've done too much until you've done too much! Hope you're feeling better today. Sometimes it feels like one step forward, 2 steps back but it will improve. Keep the faith :-)
  • inlinedancer
    inlinedancer Member Posts: 15
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    This evening I have had my second cast fitted. It felt very strange looking at my thumb when the nurse took the first one off, like it didn't belong to me. Although it was tingly, a bit like pins and needles that horrible constant ache in the joint was gone. I now have this cast on for four weeks. The thing that is worrying me is having my thumb stuck out at an angle for that long, it gives me a claustrophobic feeling that I can't bring it back in. I was wondering if anyone else has felt like this? I was thinking I would be two weeks in this cast before having the removable one so I don't think that has helped.
  • Cushytara
    Cushytara Member Posts: 22
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I did chuckle when I read your post! I remember thinking I wouldn't be able to stand having the cast on but you'll get used to it and you've got hours of fun peeling the scaly skin to look forward to once it's removed!
    It's just a waiting game now. Be prepared for the problems that are part and parcel of being in plaster. My wrist completely seized up and I had very little twisting movement because of painful trapped tendons. I think I may have caused that by trying to do too much in the plaster..... I'll know next time but it's all coming back. It's just sooooo slow but worth it :-)
  • inlinedancer
    inlinedancer Member Posts: 15
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hiya. I am "slowly" getting used to it, the evenings seem the worse. My thumb is feeling a bit easier, bit achy and i'm still getting a burning feeling in it that comes and goes, like it is dipped in red hot water. I have a date of 8th December for the plaster to come off!! So can't wait for that day to come. It must feel very strange to get things moving again when the cast eventually comes off. I will look forward to peeling that scaly skin haha. It is great to be in touch and I hope you are progressing well. I'm glad to hear it is worth it too.
  • Cushytara
    Cushytara Member Posts: 22
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    The hot water thing sounds awful. I met a woman at OT who had hers done the same day as me and her recovery was sooooo different to mine but the OT reassured me that we all get to the same point eventually. That was good to know. She was still wearing a pressure glove 10 weeks post op and had some pain but I was green with I envy that she could so easily touch her little finger when I could only just about touch my second with a great deal of difficulty!
    So you've done your first week in plaster. What colour did you choose? Hope it's feeling a little more comfortable now. How are you managing to dress yourself? Have you had a go at driving yet? I felt like my life became very small. A trip out to Sainsbury's became a big event and when a new Costa opened I was beyond excited! I did my first 'long' drive on Sat. It was only 90 miles but I was a bit stiff and sore on Sunday. 14 weeks post op tomorrow. It still looks a bit odd and moves in a very weird way, is swollen and a bit stiff but the gnawing pain has gone. That makes it all worth it :-)
  • inlinedancer
    inlinedancer Member Posts: 15
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I am dying to get this cast off ( 3 more weeks agh!!). Did you find yours really uncomfortable? It doesn't seem overly tight just snug almost as I imagine a boxing glove to be, and it seems to sort of stick to where the cut is. It wakes me up each night. I chose a pink one lol as it's bright and cheerful. I keep moving my fingers so they won't go stiff but it's weird as there is hardly any strength in them like they are missing the thumb as the complete package!!
    Dressing is a mission, socks and pulling up my leggings is exhausting!! Also a task finding something different to wear that will go over my hand. Gosh yes it's certainly a small life. I had a trip out to Matalan and lunch in Costa yesterday, it was sooo good to escape. I look at my car in the drive longingly thinking when will I drive you again!! It must feel good to you to be back driving and have your independence back.
    Mmm although sore and achy that horrible gnawing pain has gone from mine too. I'm trying hard not to over use my right thumb as that gets painful else.
    The surgeon said to me it will be a long process and I will probably hate him for the first few weeks...he's not far wrong eh!!
  • Cushytara
    Cushytara Member Posts: 22
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    No, my cast wasn't really uncomfortable except if I got too hot and my hand swelled and then it irritated the wound. But, it smelled absolutely awful after a couple of weeks. I could poke my finger up and down it and feel all the horrible dry skin. I took baby wipes with me when I had it removed and had a few moments of intense pleasure cleaning my horrible hand and arm. OMG, the first shower was incredible. Little pleasures, eh?
    Talking of which, I can use a can of deodorant with both hands and I can use the stiff wooden pegs. Exciting stuff. I'm beginning to use my right hand now without thinking too much which is great, although I don't much like anything touching my scar (even though it's painless -go figure?) and I'm going to try a pair of tights this week - opaque obvs :-)
    Do you work and if so how long are you signed off for? Feels like I was never away. Not sure what I did for the best part of 8 weeks.
  • inlinedancer
    inlinedancer Member Posts: 15
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Good to hear you are doing so well. Yes I do work and I am signed off for around 7 weeks and then see how I am doing. I must admit I am feeling a bit fed up now!! Yes a shower must be wonderful; I sit in the bath with the taps behind me and my arm plonked on the side!!
    Two weeks to go now in this cast, sooo can't wait...... I will remember to take some baby wipes!!
  • Cushytara
    Cushytara Member Posts: 22
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Well, I reckon this must be your last weekend with the cast. Is it driving you crazy?
    I'm slightly disappointed that my flexibility hasn't improved really over the last four weeks but I have regained a lot of my grip strength. Not sure how old you are but I'm really interested how being in plaster affects your recovery. My thumb is still very swollen so I've been given a pressure glove. I'm hate it but am wearing any time I'm not in public :-). Also got some strapping which should also help with the swelling which the OT thinks is hampering movement. It's simple stuff like not being able to hold my phone and swipe it or open apps. It's so frustrating and easy to lose sight of progress made so far.
    I'm thinking of asking Santa for some hand weights to try and strengthen my wrist which is still a bit hit and miss. I might try swimming to build up some strength, too.
    Are you excited about having the plaster removed? Have you got any aches and pains from wearing it? I managed to trap tendons by trying to twist my arm too much. Felt such a fool and certainly won't be making that mistake next time. It hurt like hell!
    You're nearly there!
  • inlinedancer
    inlinedancer Member Posts: 15
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi. I had my cast taken off last Tuesday as my hand kept swelling up and it was so uncomfortable. It is such a relief to be out of it and I am managing to get some sleep at last. I have a splint now and am trying to fit in the exercises which are 5-6 times a day!! I see my hand therapist again in 2 weeks. Like you my wrist has seized right up and that certainly does not help matters. My thumb is stiff, a bit shaky, and painful to get moving but I am managing to get it moving and can now touch my index finger. My hand does feel weak and I also find getting the cast on and off a mission without my hubby holding it open for me. Rubbing E45 into a tender scar is a weird experience too. I am 51...you? I will certainly let you know how I am getting on. I think you can private message on here too?
    It must be frustrating for you to feel your flexibility has slowed down a bit but by what I have read it seems to take a very long time to reach full recovery. To me you have made great progress so far and it can only get better. I am looking forward to being able to drive again.
  • Cushytara
    Cushytara Member Posts: 22
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi. Good to hear you're free of the dreaded cast! Sounds like it was put on too tightly in the first place. A decent night's sleep helps too. You're doing brilliantly to be able to touch your index finger! How does your thumb look? Mine still looks a different colour and a bit mangled. Did the OT massage your scar? It made me feel quite odd at first and just when i had got used to that, my hand therapist started pressing down quite firmly and not using any lubrication! The sensation was horrible! She was just trying to ensure my scar hadn't adhered to the tissue underneath. I got used to it eventually..... Heat really helps get things moving. I got one of those wheat bags that goes in the microwave and that was lovely. I also had foam things from the OT to help me use cutlery and write. I found the stiffness and weakness in my wrist was the biggest obstacle to driving. Even now my left turns aren't what they used to be

    Reading your post has helped my put the current progress (or lack of it) into perspective. I have managed to get my bra on normally these past few days; I've had to step into it and pull-up since my op! I had an appointment through today to go and see my surgeon for a follow-up on 21 Dec and possibly to discuss having the other hand done. Whilst I will have it done, I'm not keen on having it done within the next 12 months. I'm 52 and I think we're pretty young to be having this op and to have reached a level of pain where this is the good option :-)
    Keep up with the exercising!
  • inlinedancer
    inlinedancer Member Posts: 15
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I saw my hand therapist this week and she was pleased with my progress but could see my wrist is still very tight and stiff. I too have a wheat bag, she has suggested I warm my wrist with it and gently press on top of my hand to push it down then turn my hand over and press the palm of the hand to do the other way also massage my wrist. I have to exercise my lower thumb joint so that it will help it move across to reach my other fingers. I'm still not ready to drive yet because of the handbrake and not having enough strength to change gear. I have to go and see her again the second week of January and i'm hoping to be able to drive by then!!! She said the scar was looking good, the top of it is doing well the bottom is still a bit tender as it appears deeper there...onwards with the E45!! My thumb looks a bit odd like it's set lower and if i look underneath it has some inflammation at the base and is sore in there.
    Yes neither am I in any hurry to get the right thumb done!!!
    Good to hear you no longer have to step into your bra lol, the differences we have had in having the opposite thumbs done. Hope you are doing well and have a good and relaxing Christmas. :D
  • Cushytara
    Cushytara Member Posts: 22
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Well, I saw the consultant today and we talked about....... having the left hand done! I was quite surprised that he didn't want to see my right one but I've got one more OT appointment and then I'm discharged. I had some tape the last time I went to help reduce the swelling which the OT thought was causing problems with flexibility as it was half a centimetre wider than the left one. Have worn it religiously but it hasn't reduced the swelling much and my thumb is wonky and sort of blue up the front. Got a gel thing now; I can wear it in bed - whoop, whoop. Crikey, I think I've had every type of device they've got. Consultant said it would take at least 6 months before it BEGAN to get back to normal. I don't remember him saying that before the op though I wonder if I only the heard the bits I wanted to.
    So I suppose the long and short of it is that there's still a way to go but it should be getting back to normal around the time I get the other one done. I'm seeing him around September/Oct next year.
    Getting pretty damn good at the bra thing but the phone is still proving to be a bit of a trial. :cheesygrin:

    Can you drive yet? It will be so fabulous to have your independence back. I asked why we were in plaster for so long and the OT said that there tended to be less pain when the hand is immobilised.

    Have a great Christmas yourself :candycane:
  • Lemm
    Lemm Member Posts: 1
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    This is my first post on here, I wish I had found it earlier. I am 10 weeks post op and still not driving, though suddenly in the past few days I have started to use my thumb for light tasks and the thumb will now reach over to my middle finger. Haven't worn my splint thing for weeks.
    I am worried that I cant drive. I did try the other day but no chance of changing gears. Is this normal at 10 weeks, I see some of you were back driving fairly quickly?

    We are going on a skiing holiday in 10 days and I have decided to sit this one out but am feeling really fed up about it. I cannot get any answer from my surgeon or physio when I ask about skiing so am doing what I think is the sensible thing. I hope I am right. Just wondered what you thought.
    Lovely to be here.
    Lemm
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 3,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Welcome to Arthritis Care Forums, Lemm, from the moderation team.

    I am sorry to hear you are feeling your recovery is slower than you had hoped after you operation. Although the members can’t give medical advice as such I am sure they will try to help.

    As moderators we are here to help with any problems you may have using the message boards so feel free to send us a message if you need to.

    Please do join in wherever you like, you will be made very welcome.

    It’s lovely to have you here.

    Best wishes

    Moderator AC
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,092
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi there, Lemm.

    I've not had a trapeziectomy but here are some former posts on that topic http://tinyurl.com/zt9hyay Not recovering as quickly as expected does seem to be quite usual.

    As for the holiday – I hope you enjoy it regardless but do check out your travel insurance to ensure what you are / are not covered for after the op. Even if you fancy skiing you might not be covered for it.
  • inlinedancer
    inlinedancer Member Posts: 15
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Lemm,
    It is a "long" slow process. It took me until about 12 weeks to be able to drive. Being my left thumb it was a job to change gear and also pushing the button in on the handbrake was impossible. I am not sure about skiing it is whether you have the strength in it really. I am four months post op and my thumb is still stiff at the joints but a lot better than it was. You will get there.
  • Techie65
    Techie65 Member Posts: 3
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Cushytara wrote:
    Hi All. I'm 11 weeks post-op from right hand trapeziectomy. This forum has been invaluable as it has been easy to see that everyone has had very different experiences. Biggest problem for me has been collateral damage due to being in plaster for 6 weeks. Been seeing Occ Therapist for 6 weeks as my thumb is v stiff. I have learned patience. You need lots of it. This is not minor surgery but I'm pain free and every step forward is a major triumph!

    Hi, I hope you're on the mend now. I am 3 weeks post op next Monday & have awful pins & needles on & off all the time. I feel better when I take the brace off although I know I shouldn't. Could you tell me if you had pins & needles right on the wound. It's horrible & really getting me down now. It's so painful, if I knew this I don't think I would ever have had the op.. Debbie
  • carolina1954
    carolina1954 Member Posts: 7
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi techie65,
    I am 4 days post op and am quite pleased how it has gone. I am not in excessive pain and am managing it with paracetamol, codeine and ibuprofen, the first 2 just 2 of each twice a day and ibu 3 times n between. I don't believe in suffering pain if it can be controlled!
    I had pins and needles first day only, but that was just tightness of the cast. Now it is dull ache with the odd shooting pain.
    I can lightly hold things with the fingers of my right hand, to steady things, which helps greatly and this morning I managed to get my bra on!! I have a humongous bruise on my arm below the cast but it doesn't hurt, so not worried. The worst thing is having to use my left hand so much, and being righthanded, but the left has stood up well. considering that was worse than the right hand.
    Cast is coming off in 10 days, looking forward to that, as I am going abroad on holiday on the 22nd!
    I have forgotten what else you said, as it has taken me about 15 minutes to type this. but hope you improve soon.
    Caroline

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