Most people with carpal tunnel syndrome are treated without surgery. However, surgery may be necessary when:
· Symptoms haven’t improved after several weeks to months of nonsurgical treatment.
· Severe symptoms restrict normal daily activities.
· There’s a persistent loss of feeling or coordination in your fingers or hand.
· There is decreased strength in your thumb.
· There is damage to the median nerve – or a risk of damage to the nerve.
If you are a candidate for carpal tunnel surgery, you’re probably wondering what’s involved in the post-surgical rehabilitation. Of course, your doctor and/or physical therapist will give you specific instructions, but following is information to help give you a general idea of what you can expect in your rehab and therapy.
The first few days after surgery
After carpal tunnel surgery, your hand and wrist will be swollen, weak and stiff. Therapists commonly begin the healing process with a soft tissue massage and ice to combat swelling. Because there may still be stitches in the wound, exercises will focus on improving range of motion in the fingers and hand. In this initial stage of rehabilitation, exercises include bending the fingers, opening and closing the hand and, eventually, slowly rotating the wrist. Assisted stretches are also used to increase flexibility.
Up to six weeks after surgery
Your actual therapy may begin within a few days after surgery while your arm is still wrapped in a soft cast. Rehabilitation sessions may be two or three times a week for about four to six weeks. This therapy may use a combination of ice, massage, assisted stretching and strength-building exercises. Heat, ultrasound, paraffin wax and electrical stimulation may also be used.
As rehabilitation progresses, exercises are used to strengthen the hand to stabilize muscles and joints. You may begin to squeeze and stretch special putty. At this point, rehab may include wrist curls while holding a one to two pound weight, and movements that promote fine motor control. The goal is to prepare you to return to work and resume other activities you enjoy in your everyday life.
Allen Therapy Center
At Allen Therapy Center, we’re always striving to meet and exceed our patient’s goals. Our experienced staff offers expert care and personal attention throughout the recovery process. If you have any additional questions regarding carpal tunnel surgery rehab — or any other therapy, treatment or training — please feel free to contact us at 972-359-1288. We’re always available to assist! Contact Us!