Trapeziectomy slow recovery

Lizbam
Lizbam Member Posts: 12
edited 25. Apr 2018, 06:37 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hello everyone
I would like some advice please. I had a right hand Trapeziectomy 4 weeks ago. I need the left one doing as well, and as my left hand is weak and painful, I am struggling a bit with the right in a splint. I went for physio this week and was told I am slow to regain movement in my thumb and must have a low pain threshold. I am trying to exercise by keeping up pain relief but my hand is still swollen and I am now feeling quite despondent. Does anyone have any advice? Should my recovery be better 4 weeks on? I couldn’t remover my splint for example during the day as suggested.
Thank you Liz

Comments

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,244
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello again. :D

    Recovery is a very individual thing dependent on many factors. And, if my memory serves me correctly, trapeziectomy seems to be an op where the recovery time varies more than most. I seem to recall one lady who didn't start to feel the op had been worthwhile for about 18 months but that's at the wider extreme.

    I know you went back to work very quickly and I'd guess that has slowed things down a bit. Without initial rest and elevattion tissues will swell and maybe that is what is making the exercises difficult.

    I'm sure if you just go by what the physio suggests things will start to go more smoothly. Do try to remove the splint for longer periods as, useful though they are, they encourage the muscles to lie back and take life easy and slack, unsupporting muscles are not good for any joint.
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • Lizbam
    Lizbam Member Posts: 12
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi and thanks for your advice. I am an ‘impatient patient’ which doesn’t help. My work is demanding and taking my splint off during the day while I am in so much pain would mean I couldn’t work as well. To make matters worse I broke my splint last night trying to get it back on after exercising!! I am glad you say recovery is a very individual thing I feel I am being told conflicting information though. I downloaded the recovery leaflet from my local hospital and the advice conflicts with what I have been advised by my physio. I have emailed my consultant to ask for clarification but at the end of the day I know it’s down to me 😕
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,558
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Healing is a much slower process than anyone expects (or thinks is should be) and although there is not much we can do to help it along there is much we can do to hinder it. Operations on fleshier parts of the body can heal quicker because there is more to work with. I suspect you are reaping the reward for being too hasty about returning to work so things will take longer now than they could have done - is this the first op you have ever had? Age slows the process too.

    People tend to forget that it takes months or years to reach the stage of surgery but seem to expect recovery to happen in a matter of hours or days, maybe a fortnight at most. My husband went back to work a fortnight too early after an operation to remove a dead and gangrenous appendix.. Twerp. Hindsight eventually proved his wife was right, that he would have felt generally better and quicker if he had had that extra fortnight at home. This was his first operation which, having nursed me through a fair few, did not excuse his idiocy as he was unable to follow his wise counsel which was oft imparted to me. Double twerp. :lol:

    There are no 'shoulds' about these things but there are some notable 'should nots' - if those are ignored delays with healing, more pain and further trouble will normally result. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,244
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    You're probably no more of 'an impatient patient' than most. We live in an 'instant' world. We press buttons and things which would have seemed like magic to our grandparents happen instantly.

    Surgery isn't like that. Even keyhole surgery which leaves just a small surface wound chops up all sorts of bits of us underneath which have to be given time and opportunity to heal.

    I understand the anxiety about work but ill-health does teach the hard lesson that none of us is indispensable. Maybe a week or two off would speed up recovery and ensure your other hand works well for longer.

    I've not had a trapeziectomy but I have severe RA in all my hand and wrist joints and I know the difficulty of trying to work with hands that don't. Short term gain just means things take longer to get back to normal.

    Try removing your splint at quiet times when you're unlikely to be overdoing things with your hand. Don't use it as an aid to doing things best not done right now. The more important your work the more vital it is that you aim for a speedy recovery.
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • Lizbam
    Lizbam Member Posts: 12
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks all. I have had other operations but more the fleshy rather than bone kind if that makes sense!
    I emailed my consultant yesterday as I was becoming increasingly worried about the pain during exercise. He said I have been given the wrong info and his rehab care is six weeks in a splint before removal so I feel a bit better. I fractured my splint getting it on and off so going to physio in am to get a new one. Feel like a troublesome patient ...
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,244
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    On the contrary. If your surgeon has misinformed his physios about his preferred post-op timetable that's hardly your fault.

    I think the more usual time is 4 weeks by day and a further 2 weeks at night but all surgeons like to do things in their own way and I find it best to go along with them.

    I hope your splint was replaced OK (I assume they don't send them to the fracture clinic :wink: ) and you can now resume rehab with an easier mind.
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran