Are you or someone you know, about to have or recovering from surgery? Upper limb or hand surgery can be daunting. This affects your use of the hand in work, sport, parenting, care taking, and leisure activities.
Having worked on a busy surgical orthopaedic ward and in private practice, there is one commonality I often see. People are motivated to get back to work, sport, and their lifestyle as quickly as possible.
Your healthcare professionals will guide your recovery.
It is important to have guidance from your surgeon, therapist and GP. A wide range of research has been done on the most appropriate exercises and protocols to follow after surgery. There are a wide variety of exercise programs depending on your surgery. Your hand therapist will coach and educate you in order to maximise your recovery and results.
It is important to know that recovery will ramp up over time.
A common mistake is to do exercises too forcefully or over confidently after surgery. I have often seen patients doing forceful muscle contractions with grimacing and uncontrolled movements. This is not the way.
I will always remember one of my patient. The elite martial artist doing hies early exercises at a force that was audible to the person next door. While the effort is commendable, the outcomes can be more harmful than good. ‘No pain, no gain’ does NOT always apply.
In contrast, some people are too careful. They are fearful that they will cause more damage. There can be a fine line between doing too much or too little. Your hand therapist is there to guide you along the way. We will let you know what to expect as far as progressing with motion and pain.
Ask your hand therapist…
- What exercises should I be doing?
- How many and how often do I do my exercises?
- Should I be feeling a stretch or pain?
- What do I do to progress my exercises?
- Can I start gripping with resistance, ie: stress ball or therapy putty?
- When can I get back to my sport, work, leisure activities?
- Will hydrotherapy benefit me?
Certainly, great questions can reduce your worry. We will be sure you are educated and doing the right activities for your best results. Recovery processes are well researched. Remember, everyone is different and heal in their own time. Follow-up is important. Continue to ask questions as they arise, write them down or put them in the notes in your phone as you go to ask your therapist. We will have the right answers tailored to you.
Article reference: Melbourne Hand Rehab