While at times taken for granted, the importance of the human hands cannot be overstated.
Routine activities (i.e. eating, working, dressing, creating art, to name a few) will become highly challenging sans functioning hands.
However, it is unfortunate to note that injuries, trauma, and overuse can at times lead to hand problems.
Depending on the condition’s severity, treatment options for hand problems can range from non-invasive approaches to orthopaedic hand surgery.
Although not all hand problems require surgery, there are scenarios when it is considered the best treatment recourse available.
For those likely candidates for orthopaedichand surgery, the following are the expected (and typical) post-surgery scenarios:
Carpal Tunnel Release
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when there is pressure on the median nerve. Typical indicators of the condition include pain and numbness. In some cases, surgery is recommended to take the pressure off the median nerve.
After the operation, patients will have to wear a bandage on the wrist and hand (for a week or two). Stitches will only be removed after 10 to 14 days. While patients can already use the fingers and the thumb, doing heavy tasks will not be allowed.
Ideally, to help warrant the nerve and the tendons will not be caught up in the scar tissue, moving the fingers will be encouraged. Fortunately, in most cases, patients recover in a month or less. However, getting any feelings in the hands would relatively take much longer.
While the post-surgery scar can become painful and sensitive, the sensitivity and ache will eventually go away even without treatment.
Knuckle Replacement (MCP Joint)
Metacarpophalangeal joint (rheumatoid arthritis of the knuckles) will not only significantly minimize hand function, it can also result to damage and deformity. The condition is also known to be excruciatingly painful.
When the time comes when moving the hand becomes highly challenging, surgery to replace the knuckles will be recommended. The procedure has been known to help minimize the pain and greatly enhance the positioning of the fingers.
Before rehabilitation starts, patients will be required to rest the hand for a few days. Exercises that are designed to help move the fingers will also be recommended.
Wearing a splint will also be suggested. In some instances, wearing a splint at night will also prove beneficial. Patients will be given insights on ways to properly take good care of the new (and artificial) joints.
Dupuytren’s Contracture Fasciectomy
This condition is characterized by a formed tissue in the palm or in the fingers. While not painful, the condition might create bands that can cause fingers to curl.
To remove the tissue and release the fingers, surgery will be required. Fortunately, staying in the hospital will not be necessary so the patient can go home hours after the operation.
While the skin will be all healed in 2 to 3 weeks, the ability to make full use of the hands will take as long as 12 weeks.
After the procedure, hand movement will be monitored. Hand exercises will also be taught. While not necessary in all cases, a night splint might work wonders in some.
Tendon ruptures (whether in the wrist or hand) are rare. Majority of tendon ruptures are attributed to rheumatoid arthritis (or other types of inflammatory arthritis).
Oftentimes, it will take at least 6 weeks for the repaired tendons to heal fully. Until healing is complete, using the affected hand will be prohibited. In some instances however, using a splint might be recommended. This is done to ensure the tendons are protected while still in the process of healing.