According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, over 500,000 people in the United States will have some sort of carpal tunnel surgery every year. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can often be debilitating, making surgery the only option for relief. Healing from carpal tunnel surgery is usually a lengthy process, although relief is generally achieved relatively quickly. Following the proper post-operative instructions will expedite the healing process and have you well on your way to recovery.
Arrange for someone to help you with everyday tasks for a couple of weeks. Depending on the type of carpal tunnel surgery, your hands may be incapacitated for up to two weeks. You may need help with cooking, bathing, housework and various other daily tasks.
Allow your hands and wrists to rest periodically. Do not avoid using them altogether but don’t overdo it. You need to use your hands and wrists to build and maintain strength, but also let them rest so that they can heal.
Eat a nutritious diet to promote healing. Avoid sugary and processed foods, as well as alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. Choose foods with a high nutritional value such as high protein foods and foods high in antioxidants. The protein will aid in muscle and tendon rebuilding and the antioxidants strengthen the immune system.
Exercise your fingers 10 times a day to promote tendon strengthening in the wrist. Hold your fingers straight out from your hands and keep your thumbs pointed in the same direction, but relaxed. Bend the fingers backwards until they are bent 90 degrees. This will not only strengthen the wrists, but help to restore mobility in the fingers.
Apply ice to the surgery site for short periods of time to reduce inflammation. This will reduce the pain and promote healing.
Avoid strenuous activity immediately following surgery. Do not return to work until you are given the okay by your surgeon.
Use a vertical mouse and ergonomic keyboard when working with a computer. These items will help to prevent further damage from occurring and aid in the healing process.
Wear a splint on your hand to protect the wrist as it heals. Check with your doctor for specific instructions on wearing the splint, as this may vary from person to person. You should generally wear the splint at night and when you are participating in certain activities that may be strenuous on the wrist.
Avoid lifting things heavier than 11 pounds for at least two months after carpal tunnel surgery, unless directed otherwise by your surgeon.
Take any medications prescribed by your doctor according to the specific instructions. You may be given pain medication and/or anti-inflammatory medication. It is important to take these medications as directed to aid in the healing process.