Trapeziectomy advice

Hi all, I had a trapeziectomy just over four weeks ago. I was in a large plaster for 10 days which was then removed and replaced with a smaller cast. I was in that cast up until the four week point, which was a few days ago. I am now in a removable splint which can be removed while sitting and bathing. I am completing my exercises as instructed and massaging the scar as directed and haven’t really been in much pain, I guess I’ve been lucky. The advice I am seeking is regarding the swelling that occurs with this operation. I’ve been told that I can now use my hand for light activities and also have it down whilst walking etc. The issue is every time I do have my hand down it swells immediately and turns blue almost. Has anybody else had this experience with this operation and is this a normal part of the healing process? Should my hand be turning the shade of blue, even while swelling? It’s something I’ve never experienced before so if anyone has any advice or similar experiences I’d be most grateful. Thank you.


  • Trish9556
    Trish9556 Member Posts: 461

    HI @Zuccho77

    I had a trapeziectomy in 2020 and one of the best surgeries I've had.

    I was in a plaster for two weeks, it was removed and the handtherapist fitted me with a custom made support which I wore after that, apart from when bathing. I did my exercises religiously at least 5 times a day, including using therapy balls and putty and used the E45 cream in a jar, not the bottled lotion, to massage into my hand and scar at least as much as I did my exercises.

    I'm not sure why your hand is swelling - I certainly never experienced that and would suggest you speak to your surgeon as I don't thik this is usual.

    The only thing I could think of could be your hand support, watch/sleeves a bit on the tight side? You could try a bag of frozen peas on your hand to reduce the swelling, keep your hands moving while they're down, do yo have some therapy putty/play doh that you can ieep in your hand to squeeze?

    Overall though I think you need to speak to your surgeon

    Trish xx

  • Zuccho77
    Zuccho77 Member Posts: 8

    Thank you for your reply Trish. It is very much appreciated. Yeah I am also doing my massaging of the scar and exercises regularly, maybe too much! I do feel like I am making progress in movement terms and don’t have much pain. As far as the swelling is concerned it isn’t totally obvious to look at but you can obviously feel the increase in pressure when having my hand down so I’m guessing that’s swelling. It’s more the discolouration that is concerning me. Like I say, I’ve never experienced that before and when compared with my other hand (which will need operated on next) you can see the obvious contrast in colour, one being pink and the other a shade of blue. I wasn’t sure if this was normal with swelling in general or specifically this operation, or if it just sorts itself out in the long run. Just to add when my hand is elevated, it is a normal colour, the same as my left unoperated hand. Thank you.

  • noddingtonpete
    noddingtonpete Moderator Posts: 952

    Hello @Zuccho77 as @Trish9556 says I would get back on touch with your consultant to make sure nothing is wrong. Hopefully all will be OK.

    Also I would suggest reading one or two of the following NHS search

    Trapeziectomy Recovery NHS

    Hope you get is sorted and a speedy recovery


    Need more help? - call our Helpline on0800 5200 520Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • Zuccho77
    Zuccho77 Member Posts: 8

    Thank you. I have spoken to my physiotherapist today as well as requesting advice from my consultant which I am yet to receive. The physiotherapist has said it could be because I have had my arm raised for 4 weeks and now with it being down my body is getting used to it again so has suggested to start keeping my arm mid range to start the body to get used it. Now I am thinking I have probably kept my arm raised for too long but was never given any instructions on leaving hospital except to keep it above heart level which I did. It would make sense I suppose so I’ll start taking anti inflammatory tablets as I haven’t taken any pain relief yet for the swelling and follow what they have said and hope it slowly resolves. Many thanks all.

  • Trish9556
    Trish9556 Member Posts: 461

    hi @Zuccho77

    I would suggest you take advice from your pharmacist prior to taking anti inflammatories - they don't like mixing with a whole range of other meds and medical conditions so better to be safe than sorry.


  • Zuccho77
    Zuccho77 Member Posts: 8

    Thank you @Trish9556. I’m fine to take anti inflammatory tablets as luckily I don’t take any other medication or have any known medical conditions. Thank you for raising that though as that is very good advice for anyone reading having a similar issue with swelling.