I had open release surgery on my dominant hand 4 weeks ago.I go back to the dr next week and maybe get released back to work. i work for a printing co and use my hands alot.sometimes my hand feels great and sometimes it gets stiff.i try to do things with it,but it doesn't seem to work out. am i trying too soon? my dr is wanting to do the surgery on my other hand and i don't know if i can go through it again. i don't even know if i can stay off work again. i am a big part of my job and it's hurting them while i'm gone. i guess what i'm asking is this normal? should i be able to pick things up ? i also noticed that my hand peels alot!!!! is that normal? any advice will be greatly appreciated...
thanks a million!!!!!
I did not have the carpal tunnel surgery, but had ulnar nerve surgery (which is supposed to be worse). I, too, work for a printing company. I went back to work after two weeks. I started out part-time and did mostly computer work for the first couple of weeks back. My hand and arm tired quickly, but with frequent breaks I was able to get through it. It took me about 6 weeks to get the stength back to where I could load paper rolls into the machines. Just don't try to do everything at once and you'll be okay. It was very hard for me (as I'm used to doing everything!), but I got through it and you will, too. Best wishes.
I agree with JPino. Lots of breaks, acknowledge your limitations, do easy rather than strenuous work where you can, and accept (even ask for) help from others. You should be all right.
You'll feel like you're moving boulders the first few weeks or months back at work. Your arm/hand is out of practice and out of shape. But the strength will come back.
You may want to take your painkillers with you to work for a while, in case you need them. You may not. I got more relief from sitting down for 5 minutes with a bag of ice than I got from the painkillers.
Sure, it hurt your workplace and coworkers to have you gone for so long. But you know what? They survived. And even if you can only do some things, or only work some hours after you return, it'll help them. They'll be glad to have you back doing whatever you're able to do. So don't sweat it if you can't do everything right away. It'll come.
i also noticed that my hand peels alot!!!! is that normal?
I wondered about this too. I am 4 weeks post surgery too.
As far as returning to work--I have been back since6 days after surgery. I work in IT and it was my dominant hand. I still have very little use of my hand but I have learned to type rather quickly with my other hand. I also use the phone a lot more instead of typing long e-mails to people. My co-workers help me carry stuff and open packages. At night I keep it elevated to rest. I start therapy next week so I hope that will help with the stiffness and pain. Good luck!
hello momto3kids, what type of surgery did you have,i had open release. at my job i have to lift rolls up to 70 pounds,tape boxes shut,cut all day and right now i have problems lifting 5 lbs. did you ever find anything about the peeling.it is awful,i can peel on my hand for 30 minutes. i think it's great you were able to go back to work so soon.i think i read about someone going back to normal activity after a few days.i could not even see that happening with me.my stitches didn't come out for 14 days.and i'm not a big baby with pain,but i am really scared about going back to work.
im sorry to say,that i dont think you should lift heavy things. i went for p/t after 4 weeks and i went back to work after 8weeks,i file and use the computer and makeover 100 calls a day it was was too much for me i wound up wearing the braces on both hands until the dr put me out again.
i had the release on the left hand a year ago, still need the right hand and am afraid since the left didnt go well and might need surgery again on it.
my advice to you is to take it real slow and easy.
sorry for the negative reply,but i am now a bit gun shy.
take care hurten
About the peeling - I had that too. It's no big deal, just dead skin. Dead skin won't be able to grow back together, so peeling it off is just fine. Just like a sunburn. (Interestingly enough, my hand peeled, but my elbow did not peel - even though I had both surgeries at the same time, same doc, etc. Just individual skin response.)
If you keep your incision area moist, it will limit the amount of skin that peels. My doc told me to use Vitamin E, that it would work the best to keep the area moist and the skin stretchable. When I used it every couple of hours, along with a little massage, the peeling stopped. The peeled area I was left with is almost half an inch wide. But it's healing now, looking better every day. I still use the Vitamin E. (It's pretty cheap, and any vitamin store will have the capsules. Poke one open and spread the oil.)
Just don't peel live skin - stop when it hurts. The stuff that's white and dry and loose can go, but if you're pulling that and it runs into skin that's life and stings a little, stop pulling so you don't damage the live skin and make the peeled area bigger than it needs to be.
How will it look when you take your bandage off? Awful. Puffy, with ink lines, big black stitches (or silver staples), and probably some dried blood. I've heard of some that look fine and don't have all that, but better to be prepared for the worst it could look I think.
But it looks worse than it really is, honest. I think the ink the surgeon draws on you that makes it look that way. Wash it if you're allowed to and it'll look a LOT better almost immediately.
It's only a problem if the skin around the incision is red (not pink, red like infection), or if there is pus.
Thanks so much for all of your replys.It helps so much that people are out there to help in any way they can."Hurten" if your reading this i didn't think that was negative,just honest.because like i said,i'm suppose to get my left hand done next and i'm not sure if i will.i drove my car for the first time today after 4 weeks,it is a stick shift,and my hand was a little sore.i am trying to take it slow,but it seems like i'm making my left hand worse by using it for everything.after it is all said and done,i might just have to get the surgery. Well just wanted to let yaw know how much i appreciated the postings.
...,but it seems like i'm making my left hand worse by using it for everything...
Yep! unfortunately, that's exactly what is happening. You (and everybody else) are between a rock and a hard place - you can't use the hand you had surgery on too hard or too quickly because you can damage it. But you can't use your other hand too much or you risk aggrivating the symptoms there. That pretty much sums it up.
There's really no good way out of that problem either. Just get the hand you had surgery on up and working as quickly as you can without damaging it - that's where a good Physical Therapist will be most useful. Lots of ice for your other hand, to minimize swelling and symptoms there.
And I wouldn't be worrying about whether you will need surgery on your other hand yet. If you will, you will. And if you won't, you wont'. No sense in worrying about it. Just work as safely as possible, follow your doctor's and therapist's directions, and concentrate on improving the hand you did have surgery on. The other one can be examined and addressed after the strain of acting like two hands is over. It's a hurdle we all have.
Last edited by Aurorapup; 07-16-2007 at 02:09 PM.
Hi! I too had ct open release on right hand on July 14, 2007. Had stitches out ten days later. For two weeks after I had skin peeling and intense itching. Surgeon said massage with cocoa butter or lotion after incision closed up all the way. I am now about 6 1/2 weeks post op, and I am having some problems. It feels like there is a large hard lump in my hand all around were the incision was. I was back to surgeon 2 1/2 weeks ago and he said that is normal. To massage it with lotion , start squeezing a sponge or soft ball, and massage it with ice at night. I have all sorts of wierd pains in it, one day it will be okay and the next it is very painful. A friend asked if they put a marble in there before they stitched it up!?(jokingly) That is what it feels like. I too am afraid to return to work. I see the surgeon again on Sept. 5. I work in a finishing dept. where we do a lot of sanding with electric sanders and I also am a finishing sprayer. All my work is hands on-literally! This is a work comp case and I dont want to push it, but I also want to be able to use my hand. Does anyone have any suggestions or advice? I dont want to feel like I am being pressured to go back to work too soon. They are really needing me. HELP!