Healing time after Carpal Tunnel surgery?
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    Seasoned Member HiYoCheeto's Avatar
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    Default Healing time after Carpal Tunnel surgery?

    On Oct. 10th I had open hand Carpal Tunnel surgery. After 2 months I would have expected the internal swelling to go down and the general weakness to mitigate. There is still cramping in the large muscles at the base of the thumb and outer part of the hand. It hurts to grip the handle of the exercise bike, riding is out of the question. There is a swelling along side of the scar under the skin that is very tender.

    To those that have had this type of surgery, is this normal? How long before you felt able to ride? Was there exercises that helped?

    I've been back to the doctor 3 times since the surgery and he says all my complaints are a normal part of the healing process.
    "The worst of all fears is the fear of living.", Theodore Roosevelt

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    Seasoned Member Remphoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver View Post
    On Oct. 10th I had open hand Carpal Tunnel surgery. After 2 months I would have expected the internal swelling to go down and the general weakness to mitigate. There is still cramping in the large muscles at the base of the thumb and outer part of the hand. It hurts to grip the handle of the exercise bike, riding is out of the question. There is a swelling along side of the scar under the skin that is very tender.

    To those that have had this type of surgery, is this normal? How long before you felt able to ride? Was there exercises that helped?

    I've been back to the doctor 3 times since the surgery and he says all my complaints are a normal part of the healing process.
    I had the less invasive arthroscoptic CP surgery 2 years ago. I didn't encounter the swelling and tenderness you mentioned, but it took quite a while for strength and flexibility to return. I also still have twinges, especially when I push myself off the floor with my hand after working on the bike. Overall, it was worth it as the numbness is gone and I can hold the handlebar grip.

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    Seasoned Member Firedog53's Avatar
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    You may have an issue. I'd get a 2nd opinion and fairly soon. I know all people/patients/surgeons/surgeries can/are different.
    I had the old style (open) surgery done about 20 years ago. I had moderate-to-severe incapacitation on my left hand/wrist. 5 minutes of using keyboard and it took 45+ minutes for the hand to quit hurting and "wake up". Went numb clear to the elbow!
    I had the surgery done on a Thursday morning, went home, off Fri, Sat, Sun. Went back to work Monday. No big deal, right? Well, at the time I was a career firefighter (Asst Chief) running a shift and still had to perform subordinate duties as required--actual work--instead of standing around running the show. My surgeon told me "no restrictions--just don't do it if it hurts." I had no actual issues as a result of the surgery, have not had a recurrance. In the rest of my career I had several subordinates that had the surgery and I don't recall any of them being off more than 3-4 weeks and that was an extreme case. I think I'd get 'er looked at! Just my 2c...
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    Seasoned Member Ventura Chuck's Avatar
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    HiYoSilver, I had both wrists done at the same time in 1981. I was able to use a knife & fork for supper that night in the hospital. I was shuffling cards playing solitaire before the braces and sutures were removed.

    Before the surgery, the doctor warned me that the procedure might be a failure and permanent loss of my hands was a possibility. I agree with Firedog, get a 2nd opinion; but realize you could have ended up worse. It was elective surgery.
    Last edited by Ventura Chuck; 12-09-2010 at 11:26 PM. Reason: misspelled firedog
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    Seasoned Member Tim Hester's Avatar
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    I had the left hand done Dec.1, one year ago. I had the incision in the palm down toward the wrist. I wore a brace for a couple weeks and had to be easy on the incision for the first month. I had a little discomfort in the palm area once in while but the finger numbness and hand going to sleep were cured. A year after the surgery I'm having no problems and very happy with the results.


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    Seasoned Member QC Goldwinger's Avatar
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    I've had both hands done in which the surgeon used the open method in the palm of my hands. Did the worse one first - right, was off work for 30 days as my job required a lot of writing and typing. After 30 days, had the left one operated on. Used coco butter, I think with vitamin A to rub on the incision to reduce scar tissue. Hands weak for about 2 wks but after that went back to using as before although tender for a month or so. Did not have any pain from the moment I came to from either surgery other then a little bit around the incision site. Had the surgeries in 2001 and pain free since.
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    Firedog and Ventura Chuck sure didn't get the same procedure I had. Both of my wrist were done in 06, about 30 days apart from one another. I should have waited 6 weeks between them. I was set up with my first physical therapy appointment before the surgery so they could take strength measurements for comparison purposes. I was in for PT about a week following the surgery and kept it up for 3 or 4 months. I was going to PT 3 times a week and doing exercises they gave me at home as well. At the 2 month point I was about where you say you are. Now, at the four year mark, I still get some pain at the base of the thumbs now n then.

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    Seasoned Member nataaska's Avatar
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    I've had both wrists done at different times, different recovery times on each one. (Different surgeons too.) It may well depend on both how severe your carpal tunnel was, and how good your surgeon was. Don't rush it, if you do, you will regret it.
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    Seasoned Member silent67's Avatar
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    A lot of depends on how old you are, the older you are the longer it takes as a rule.
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    I had it done last year. I kept putting it off, trying to make it until the offseason but ended up having to do it anyway. I was hurting so bad I was begging the Dr. to do it yesterday. Had pain up through my arm and shoulder all the way to the back of my head.
    Went to work after about 4 days. I had quite a bit of pain but made a 5500 mile trip about a month later. Quite a bit of pain for a couple of months. Took about 6 months to get all my strength back but it's fine now and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
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    Frank,
    My wife Sandy had both of hers done in last couple of years. I have read your question to her and she said that what the Dr is saying is fact. She suggests not pushing it and let nature do her/his work. Hope this helps, hope to talk to you on the New Years ride. Stay warm and safe.

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    Frank
    I had both hands done about a month apart by Navy doctors years ago and don.t remember any of the symptoms you describe, and especially two months later I don't think you should have swelling, and the cramps sound wrong also, I was back at work as a mechanic in three days, pushing papers but I had none of your symptoms and would also recommend a different doctors opinion, they are human and make mistakes too.
    Keith

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    Seasoned Member sydvicioustx's Avatar
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    You might try the copper/magnet bracelets. I'm far from a "herbalist". However, I was given one a few years ago and wore it reluctantly. Diagnosed with Carpal in my throttle arm. I swear by it. Not sure if the copper or the magnets are what work. I used to get numbness, tingling and even loss of strength in my right arm after riding. Not anymore. I've taken cross country trips and not a single problem.

    Just an idea.

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    Seasoned Member glarson3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver View Post
    On Oct. 10th I had open hand Carpal Tunnel surgery. After 2 months I would have expected the internal swelling to go down and the general weakness to mitigate. There is still cramping in the large muscles at the base of the thumb and outer part of the hand. It hurts to grip the handle of the exercise bike, riding is out of the question. There is a swelling along side of the scar under the skin that is very tender.

    To those that have had this type of surgery, is this normal? How long before you felt able to ride? Was there exercises that helped?

    I've been back to the doctor 3 times since the surgery and he says all my complaints are a normal part of the healing process.
    If you are concerned this isn't normal as your Dr. is telling you I would suggest getting a second opinion(from another Dr., not this forum). Age and general fitness are big factors as well as your ability to do the physical therapy that may be required. If you're not in physical therapy, I would ask if your Dr. thinks that may help. There may be some prescriptions they can give you to help bring the swelling down(Celebrex), or just plain old Ibuprofen.

    Best of luck in your recovery. I have a feeling that surgery may be in my future as well.
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    Had both hands done at different times. I'll bet it was a year before I was 100%. I used to have to have the wife open jars for me because I just didn't have all my grip strength.

    If you are not having pain except in certain instances. I'd give it some more time.

    After all, what's the worst case scenerio ? Another round of surgery ?

    You mention leaning on bicycle handlebars. I still get a little "Electric" shock when the front wheel hits a bump. Don't feel it on the Goldwing though, just my bicycle.

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    Seasoned Member HiYoCheeto's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies. I made an appointment with my regular doctor to have him look at it. Although not a surgeon, I trust his advice.
    "The worst of all fears is the fear of living.", Theodore Roosevelt

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