I am a 52 year old female. I had thumb joint replacement with tendon graft, right hand done in Nov. 2006 (also carpal tunnel repair) and then had my left hand done in June 2008. My right hand is strong, I have great range of motion with my thumb, but it took almost a year for me to even consider having my left hand done. I read somewhere that after this particular surgery you will like your surgeon at six months post-op and you will love him at twelve months post-op, and I would have to agree with that. My therapist really encouraged me to stick with the exercises after the formal therapy was over (I had eighteen sessions after each surgery), but I would have weeks when my thumb and wrist would hurt as much if not more than before surgery. Hang in there, I really think the healing process is slow, but the end result is excellent! I feel like I have "normal" hands again, I lift weights, turn keys in locks, open cans with a can-opener, squeeze toothpaste, etc. I am grateful that I am no longer "grandma gimpy"!
Hi, I am doing better now. It's nine weeks yesterday since my surgery. I was one of the blessed ones. When my arm "woke" about 24 hours after surgery, I experienced no pain whatsoever. I only felt relief that my thumb didn't hurt anymore. I was in a half cast one week, a full cast six weeks and now am in a splint for two more weeks, for a total of eleven weeks. I found that I could do most things even with the cast. I learned to hold the hairdryer with my fingers instead of my thumb. And that's what I did for just about everything. My fingers would get sore from the workouts they were not used to. I lifed with my forearm. The hard part was buttoning jeans, bras, and just not being able to get the cast wet, etc. It's a big inconvenice but I'm hearing that it's well worth it. I appreciate the posts I've had since I joined. I've also talked with three people that are a year postop just that I've met in passing and they are all 100% fine and happy and have full range of motion. I'm impatient and I think that's been a big factor too.I don't know how you'd not have to have pt. My doctor was adamant about not "pinching" for ten weeks. The PT has helped me with massages, and just small exercises to do to help strenghten my hand and thumb. I think that's what's helping me. Last week was a bad week when I posted for the first time. The achy pain was back and I was beside myself. Today I'm much better, still stiff and sore I think just from having it immobile for so long. I can now reach my thumb to the middle of my pinky finger, something that after my cast came off could only reach to my middle finger. I wish you the best. I am suppose to have my other thumb done next summer. Last week I wouldn't even consider it, this week I'm thinking I will. It's amazing what just a short time can do. Each day gets better. Good luck and God bless. PS I was able to type on the computer with no problem at all, full cast and everything, just didn't use my thumb!!
Thanks for the encouraging reply! Mostly all I read is scary bad.
Did you have a nerve block that your arm didn't wake up for so long? I had a nerve block when I had my elbow done and that was almost worrisome in how long it took to get feeling back.
I don't know why no PT. They told me only if I couldn't make a fist when the cast comes off. I don't really like PT but if it helps I don't mind it. I went many times for my elbow before I finally had the surgery. I had my big toe joint replaced about 10 years ago and the surgeon is still surprised that its lasted as long and as well as it has. If I have the same result with the thumb then the pain will be worth it.
I think mainly I'm worried about being alone and not wanting to impose on people to help. Looking at the yard just now I was thinking I should cancel it as there's still so much to do!
Thanks again - and keep reporting in - you're an encouragement (at least to me!)
Well, I had my surgery this past Wednesday and I have to say that so far I'm doing better and feeling better than I thought I would from what I'd read.
I took the Loratabs for the first night after the nerve block wore off. After that I didn't like the way they made me feel so I switched to 600 mg. Advil and that's seemed to do it. I have an antibiotic for a week to take also. I was sort of awake for the surgery and heard all the grinding and banging. Saw the xray they took at the end with the pin in the thumb.
I took a shower the second night after and did mange to use the dryer. Even buttoned my jeans on yesterday with a little effort. And front hook bra works great.
I go a week from Monday for the followup and the cast. My BF just left so now I'm on my own, and that will be a bit harder as he was lifting and opening things - and driving. That was a bit strange on the way from the airport but do-able.
Finding a position to sleep is rough but the pain level has been no where what I had thought it would be. Hopefully it will be smooth and we won't get any snow here in the forseeable future for me to worry about!
My insurance has covered everything - the tendon release last year and this. I can't see how they could consider this elective. I was thinking this morning that I'm glad I live in a time when they are able to do this and I don't have to live with it.
The pin that I have stays in the joint. The round head of it replaces the cartilage that was ground out. I had my big toe done about 11 years ago the same and although they don't do them that way any more mine has held up pain free. Can't balance doing yoga but hey!
What I'm having in the thumb right now is a stinging sort of nerve tingling thing. I can tell by sticking my finger down the bandage is that there is numbness up the side to about the joint before the fingernail. Now and then I get a "stinger" but no pain. And don't tell my doctor but I mowed the lawn today. If it would have hurt I wouldn't have but I didn't feel a thing. I have my mother's genes and I can't sit still when something needs to be done.
Go to the specialist and see what he says. Can't hurt!
Just came from the doctor and he said my wound is good and the x-rays look good so I can skip the cast and go right to the splint. I'm excited just to be able to take a shower without that darn plastic thing they sold me!
I didn't move it until he came in but he told me to and then moved it around and shook my hand and it felt so much better than before - I still have the bad left one to compare it to.
Bad part is back to work tomorrow!
I was scheduled for this surgery 2 years ago come January 2009. I also have anxiety and panic. I came down with pneumonia a couple of days before surgery and now something is always happening that I have not gotten back to surgeon.
My oldest sister died last Thanksgiving, I developed skin cancer in the spring, my husband had prostate cancer in August and now my only sister is at the U of MN with ovarian cancer.
What I have read scares me as the post op time is very long and I am needed to help care for my sister. She is the only sibling I have left and she is 500 miles from her home so I am here and available.
I sit here in tears as I can't pick up things, write my name any more and I have a hand tremor too. I know stop the pity party.
I am down to bone on bone on that joint and my hand surgeon plans the same surgery. Yup it is my right hand and I am 100% right handed.
I am glad I read your stories. Thank you so much for sharing.
Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression& GERD Forums*~*
Believe me I can relate to having to put the surgery off. I was a caretaker for my Mother (who passed away in Oct. 2007) and then my oldest dog, who had many ailments, the primary one being diabetes and I couldn't give insulin without my right hand. He passed away in March of this year. And then I had a foot surgery in May and since I live alone I had to plan this between busy times at work and things around the house - and I'm just hoping for not a lot snow till after Christmas!
And I had a great deal of anxiety about doing it too. I had read of many bad results, but then I got to thinking that a lot of the time you only hear from people who have bad results.
Anyway, my surgery will be 2 weeks ago this Wednesday and so far no regrets. I did much better with my left hand than I ever thought I would - every little thing was an accomplishment. And though I know there's a lot more soreness yet to go I can already tell its better where it used to hurt.
I couldn't write any more either (still can't with the splint on!) And I wondered if I was going to be able to hold on to anything I tried to pick up.
Good luck to you and hopefully you'll be able to take of "you" soon too.