Recovery from trigger finger surgery. How long? PT?

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Skipy
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Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 2/17/2012 12:23 PM (GMT -6)   
I am going to have Trigger Thumb Surgery March 2.  How long before I can return to work???  Is it really that painfull after the surgery
 

Mommie24
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 55
   Posted 2/17/2012 6:32 PM (GMT -6)   
I had trigger thumb on my non dominant hand five weeks ago. I would have gone back two days later if it weren't for a snow storm that closed down all schools. My surgeon insists on general anesthesia for thumbs so I would not have been able to work the next day. I did take the pain mess the day of surgery, but after that my hand was dire, but all I needed was Tylenol and advil after that for a day or two. I had to be careful at work with no lifting and light duty only for two weeks which is difficult aroung preschoolers, and because I am constantly using my hands for everything, but it worked.

When I go in for my six week post op, I will probably be scheduling surgery for trigger thumb and two trigger fingers on my dominant hand. I am nervous about doing it again, but it went well the first time. I am just hoping it is not worse on my dominant hand and with more fingers involved. I do plan on going back to work again two days after surgery.

pianist101
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Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/18/2012 2:16 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi all - I posted a few weeks ago and wanted to share my experience. I had trigger finger in both thumbs and right middle finger. My right thumb was sensitive/painful when I put any pressure on it.

I decided to have both hands done at the same time because my sister came to help me. I COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT HER HELP. Even though I had 4 fingers "available" on my left hand, the use of those fingers was very connected to my thumb.

I was put under general because they didn't want to do a tourniquet on my arm due to being post breast cancer surgery.

I have 2 small stitches at the base of each of the fingers. I think there were also stitches UNDER these stitches. I had to wear ace bandages with gauze on the stitched areas for 5 days. I could not get these hands wet, so I put clear small garbage bags over my hands and my sister taped them to my wrists. She had to bathe me, dry me, etc. I was able to "wipe" but I had to do it slowly and there was definitely pain when I slightly pulled that thumb.

I was able to type and kind of hold a fork between my left 2nd and 3rd fingers, but that's about it. Anything involving grasping - forget it.

I'm day 7 now and I can type without a problem, hold things but not with much force. Still when I accidentally stretch that finger too much there is a tinge, but not like before. My stitches will come out in 6 days. My doctor said I would not need PT. My right finger is still somewhat bent as mentioned in another posting. I'm hoping it will straighten over time.

I cannot lift anything with much weight. Even to grab a stack of papers is still somewhat difficult. Writing with a pen is just now becoming tolerable.

If you have someone that can help you with life, I'd do both hands. It's only a few days. BUT I mean REALLY DO ALMOST EVERYTHING for you.

Oh yeah...I did have a little swelling the first day but kept my arm elevated best I could. I took the pain meds first day but hindsight I would have just done tylenol because I don't like that groggy feeling that comes with pain meds. And they definitely didn't help me sleep.

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3311
   Posted 2/18/2012 6:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Maybe I'm a wimp or I'm more sensitive to pain than others, but I was in considerable pain post-op and needed help with learning how to get my hand working again. I had 3 trigger fingers on right hand done.

Pianist - I can't believe your doc said you don't need PT. Is he going to tell you how to do the exercises and give you some help breaking up the adhesions himself? Do you have all your range of motion and strength all by yourself?

Welcome Skippy and Mommy too!

pianist101
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Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/18/2012 11:39 PM (GMT -6)   
HI Alcie - I think he probably is going to tell me when I go for my follow up and have my stitches removed what I need to do for PT. I think my normal use of my fingers is going to build up my strength. I have range of motion in general except my middle finger which I'm going to express concern. I can tell that it's gonna take some time. I'm thankful that my jobs do not require a lot of heavy lifting.

shake hands
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/3/2012 1:00 AM (GMT -6)   
I just had surgery on my right thumb on 2/29/12. I got put out, which was fine with me, but it did look like it only took about 30 mins. I'm bandaged up and my Dr says I should remove the bandages on Sunday (4 days post surg). I've been taking antibiotics and arnica, and took the pain meds the day of and day after, but am trying not to have to take any more. I was able to drive today, but it was hard to clip my seat belt and start the car! I have an electric toothbrush and got some velcro workout shoes to avoid trying to tie my shoelaces. But I forgot to pre-sign some checks in my checkbook. It would have come in handy for the non credit card/non online things I pay for. It's definitely cumbersome. My Dr said I shouldn't need PT (or OT in the case of hands) unless I feel I need it. I've had both hand carpal tunnel surgeries from him already, so I trust his opinion. But those did take a few months - with diligent massaging of the scar tissue to heal. I'm hoping the same for this round. Did any of you have slight clicking just after your surgery?

Mommie24
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 55
   Posted 3/3/2012 2:46 AM (GMT -6)   
I had trigger thumb surgery 7 weeks ago. I did have some clicking after surgery on and off for a few weeks until the swelling went down. Haven't had any for a few weeks though. I did not have any OT after the surgery either.
Now I am just waiting for my nerve testing in my other hand for carpal tunnel to get my trigger thumb, two trigger fingers and possibly carpal tunnel fixed. I go in for the emg and ncv test in Wednesdsy. Just want to get it over with. Tired of sore hands!

shake hands
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/4/2012 12:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mommie24,
Thanks for that answer...I was getting worried that the surgery didn't work - my thumb is still really swollen and sore right now and I take the bandages off today...they're kind of a nice "crutch" for me, so I'm kind of scared to take them off.

That emg testing isn't the most fun in the wold. It doesn't hurt that much, but I did feel like a jumping frog thru some of it. But, that's the test I took on both my hands to determine I needed carpal tunnel on both hands (right - dominant hand first..it was the worst off...then the left). I had them done a year apart..and the trigger thumb (on my right hand) didn't start up til after the 2nd carpal tunnel. So, I've basically had a hand surgery every year for 3 yrs. I do love my doctor, but would be happy for all this to be over...ESP the sore hands part. I know what you're going thru. Hang in there.

HistorySue
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 3/16/2012 11:19 PM (GMT -6)   
I had right hand trigger thumb surgery 5 years ago and it was healed in 4 weeks.  The base of the thumb swelling never went totally away, but the thumb works again and doesn't hurt.  On Mar. 7th, I had right hand middle finger trigger surgery.  The surgeon told me that it would take much longer to heal than the thumb did.  This site has been so informative on just about how long is "longer". I get my stitches out on Mar. 19th and am totally ready to wash my hands together. The surgeon also told me it would be a long time before the swelling goes down after the stitches are removed.  After reading some of the posts here, I had unrealistic expectations on the length of the healing process.  I am still planning on mowing the grass in May and my leather yard gloves are padded on the palms (the vibration could help continue to break up the scar tissue).  I also have full time care of a 12 yr. old grand daughter and a 2 yr. old great grandson.  I did receive daytime and evening help with him for the first 4 days.  If you are caring for a toddler or small baby, get help.  I did peek under the bandages and it looks like I haven't broken any stitches loose. The swelling and bruising was bad for the first 2-3 days, but continues to go down each day. So far I don't have any stiffness and can move my fingers as the nurse instructed me to do.  I can't straighten my middle finger all of the way yet due to a little swelling and pain, but it is so much better not having it catch.  My palm hurt before the surgery, so I will look forward to that pain going away with time.  Thank you all for your replies and insight!  I will seriously consider getting one of those hot wax machines. 

Berea
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/17/2012 12:28 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm considering trigger finger surgery because nothing else has helped. If I do have the surgery, I'm afraid that will affect my grass cutting with a push mower this summer (5 hours @day / 5 days a week). Any suggestions about this?

Dwall0508
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 3/17/2012 1:30 AM (GMT -6)   
I had the trigger finger surgery on March 5th, I had 2 fingers done on my right hand.. I do have to say that the pain is Horrible, I am 11 days post surgery and still in lots of pain.. still can not move my fingers, I got my stitches out yesterday I had 6 (3) for each finger and was almost in tears when they took them out..They were tied really tight and when he took them out I immediately started bleeding..I have lots of deep bruising on the topside of my hand. I was awake during the surgery which took them 1.5 hrs..I had a IV in each had, They did a bare block. Once they started the surgery I wasnt "numb" enough and could feel them slicing me open, I so wish they would have put me out..I will be out of work for 6 weeks and Next week I start my Physical Therapy

HistorySue
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 3/17/2012 12:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear Berea - My mower is a self-propelled model and vibrates, plus my yard is really bumpy.  My leather gloves for yardwork are well padded on the palms.  MEET WITH A HAND SURGEON AND DISCUSS THIS!  My hand surgeon was able to advise me about the surgery or a cortisone shot based on my activities and the length of time I had the trigger finger. I had pain in my palm before the trigger surgery that caused me to drop things.  There are time frames of how long you have had the trigger finger and your health and lifestyle that the surgeon uses to best guide you in your decision.  My surgeon not only listened to my lifestyle, but heard me. Based on some of these replies, not everyone has a good experience with the aftermath of this surgery. I normally heal well from mishaps and surgeries. I would think that most surgeons would be able to give you a best and worst case scenerio for the cortisone shot or surgery so that you could make the best decision for yourself.

HistorySue
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 3/22/2012 11:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Got my stitches out on Monday. Instead of the 1/2 inch incision shown on Youtube, it was more like a 1 inch incision on the diagonal.  It was nice to get the compression bandage off and the stitches out. The stitches were replaced with steri strips, which fell off last night, and today (Thursday) I am to begin using Vitamin E oil on the wound.  I am to wear a rubber glove to protect the wound from getting soaked or dirty for 2 more weeks. I have 2 large dogs and 2 grandchildren at my house, so something is always needing to be cleaned up.  Yes, there is swelling, but mostly in the palm of my hand where the surgery was. The nurse gave me some theraputic silly putty to exercise the hand and showed me how to massage in the oil while kneading the incision. The wound is tender, but not like the first 3 days after the surgery.  For those of you who still have troubles, make an appointment to see your surgeon or his/her nurse.     

aftr4vr
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/2/2012 12:41 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone, I just had trigger thumb release surgery two days ago. My bandage covering the huge wad of gauze on my thumb has become soiled :(. Has anyone ever washed the wrap? I can't imagine wearing a dirty wrap for 10 more days!!! Btw, I read that some of you were doing pt and others weren't. Is it recommended to go through with pt as well? I wasn't told by my doc about pt. Anyways thanks for being here. It's nice to talk with people who know what I'm going through. Oh yeah, my trigger thumb is on my dominant right hand. Am I suppose to limit movement till the wrap comes off? My doctor was a little vague. Aftr4vr

HistorySue
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 4/2/2012 1:48 PM (GMT -6)   

Dear aftr4vr,

Five years ago, I had right hand trigger thumb release surgery.  On March 7th of this year, I had right middle finger trigger release surgery.  I am ambidextrous, but left hand dominant.  As for your soiled dressing, perhaps you could try wiping at the soiled area with a damp washcloth, but don't let the dressing get soaked through so your stitches won't get wet.  As for using your bandaged hand - there is a reason for so much bandaging.  It is okay to limit your activities with that hand until the bandage is removed.  Yes, the whole business is nerve wracking because we use our hands so much to do so many things.  I don't remember any guidelines being given to me after my trigger thumb surgery.  I took it easy for about 3-4 days.  While my hand was bandaged, I was limited as to what I could do, which was best.  The wrapping and padding is there to limit your mobility so you don't rip the stitches and/or hurt the incision.  Please have patience.  Many years ago, I ripped and tore the tendons in my left thumb and that took a year to heal.  I can't use utensils with my right hand easily so was limited to eating sandwiches and finger foods.

Since having the trigger release surgery, I am finding out how difficult it is to open bottles or jars or use scissors. Even though I am left handed, I was raised in a right handed world and cannot use scissors with my left hand.  Perhaps you could find some large rubber gloves to put on your right hand to help when you need a little extra assist.

HistSue


Mommie24
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 55
   Posted 4/10/2012 5:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Aftr4vr, I may be a little late in responding but here goes anyway. I had trigger thumb release on my let thumb in January. I could take the wrap off after 3 days and go to just a band aid until the stitches were removed at 2 weeks post surgery. During that time I was allowed light duty as tolerated, with my left hand. Yeadarday I had trigger release on my thumb, pointer and little finger as well as carpal tunnel release in my right, dominant hand. This time I was told to leave the bandage on and avoid all use until I see the surgeon again in a week. Not sure if I get the stitches out then or a week later though, and I am not supposed to use my right hand for two weeks. I also know I will be sent to hand therapy after my next appointment.

HistorySue
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 4/10/2012 11:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear Mommie24 and all of you who have had more than one trigger finger surgery and carpel tunnel surgery:
 
Bless all of you! I had my right middle trigger finger surgery on Mar. 7th with the stitches out 10 days later. Then, I was instructed to wear one of those surgical gloves to keep it clean and dry for 2 weeks and to massage it with vitamin E oil and use some therapy silly putty. I have also put on my gardening gloves and raked my back yard for 2-3 days. I can't recommend it, but I think it did help with the adhesions.  I also chase after a 2 yr. old grandson all day. We call him the exercise machine and, of course, I forget about the right hand and reach out to grab him out of harm's way. 
 
My swelling is slowly going down. By the end of the day, the pain is just nasty - Tylenol helps. It is great to be able to get both hands wet again. I wear regular rubber gloves to get more things done.  The steering wheel still hurts, but my trigger finger is fixed.  My palm was inflammed before the surgery with the finger not working. I am looking forward to the pain continuing to go away.
 
When you get your stitches out, do what the nurse or doctor tells you. It will make a difference. Try to be more careful than I have been. Get rest, so your body can heal.
 
Best to you all,
Sunny Smiles,
HistSue

Mommie24
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 55
   Posted 4/11/2012 12:28 AM (GMT -6)   
My did heal very nicely, and yes, I agree to listen and follow what the dr says. I know from my thumb, it takes a long time for the swelling to completely go away. I have bags for my hand so I can take a shower. It is now easy, but yes I am resting as much as possible. Glad to be on spring break this week since I work at a preschool. I am allowed to go back next week though.

HistorySue
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 4/11/2012 11:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear Mommy24,
Good for you and doing what the doctor says! It is s-o-o-o hard to do what the doctor/nurse says because we just automatically want to use the injured hand even though we know it is injured. Some of us don't always make the best patients. The hard part for me was the swelling those first few days after surgery and not being able to do anything for it other than to elevate the hand. I was trying to do more than I should have and not being a good patient and giving myself permission to rest. I can be my own worst enemy. Age doesn't seem to help in slowing things down that you have done for years. And, today I had to go somewhere and had to shake hands. Ouch. I didn't even give it a thought until I had done it. I get to do this again on Friday, but it is with someone who I have met before. The thumb surgery made hand shaking difficult for awhile too. Too bad I can't just greet a new person with a big hug, but that is a bit too personal on a first meeting, though less painful for the hand.
 
Sunny Smiles
HistSue

Mommie24
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 55
   Posted 4/12/2012 12:34 AM (GMT -6)   
HistSue, no, it is not easy to follow the orders. I have 3 kids still at home and plenty to do here. I am trying very hard not to do to much, but with everybody gone all day, it is tempting to do the wrong thing. Last night I did decide to take kids to soccer practice since I was cleared to drive and had been off drugs long enough, then decided to run a quick errand while they were at practice. Unfortunately, I was rear ended while running that errand. I was not injured but there is damage to my car. I did feel it today though. I saw it coming and tightened up everything. My hand was very sore today, but I don't think I did any damage to it. I learned my lesson. I laid very low today and barely got off the couch. It all takes time.

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3311
   Posted 4/12/2012 9:40 AM (GMT -6)   
Oh, poor Mommie. It might be a good idea to see a doctor and get checked out. Maybe your family doctor plus the hand doc if it's hurting there more than before. That's what insurance is for!

I was in a wreck a few years ago. I didn't feel anything at the time, not even the bleeding cut on my forehead or the broken nose and ribs, or the stomach shoved into my chest. I was asked if I needed to go to the hospital and answered that I didn't feel anything, but my endorphins had kicked in, and I thought I needed to be checked out. Half an hour later I thought I was having a heart attack and needed Dilaudid for all the pain.

HistorySue
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 4/12/2012 11:56 AM (GMT -6)   
Dear Mommie24,
Bummer about your car and you. That is a bad day! Hopefully, you don't have anything broken on your body. Yes, you might want to get things checked out by a doctor.  Even a small fender bender can result in a painful next day.  You were probably having a good day too. At least your children weren't in the car with you. They do tend to freak out over accidents. By now, you could use some aromatherapy. When things get stressful around here, I reach for Johnson & Johnson Healing Vapor Bath for babies.  It has menthol, eucalyptus, and other good smelling things in it. It can be found in the baby section. It is wonderful when you have a cold or the flu. My 12 yr. old grand daughter uses it when she is stressed.  More recently, my 17 yr. old grand daughter has been using it.  I discovered it when the 12 yr. old was small and I began using it.  For us, it is a mind soother, and, it helps to soothe those muscles.
 
Get better soon,
HistSue

Mommie24
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 55
   Posted 4/12/2012 7:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Called my Dr and she is not worried that I did any more damage. This few days post surgery I am expected to still be stiff and sore and I am not unusually stiff and sore for how much I had done to my hand on Monday.

HistorySue
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 4/12/2012 11:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear Mommie,
Glad to know that your doctor feels you are fine! All that bandaging probably helped. It is just added stress to your day. No surgery on your hands is pleasant, but it sure is nice to be able to use all of your hand to get things done.  We are having rain showers here and the barometric pressure is all over the place which has resulted in unexpected stiffness in my finger and hand. As I was getting up off the floor this morning, my grandson stepped on my hand. He almost straightened out my middle finger for me. Just a little setback in the scheme of things.
 
I hope you will back on track sooner than soon.
 
Sunny Smiles,
HistSue
 
 

Dog Lover Lady
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 4/15/2012 5:47 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi All,

Just joined this forum as I had right middle trigger finger release and tendon repair over the right middle and ring finger due to subluxation about six weeks ago. I've had two other trigger finger releases which were a breeze. But this combo surgery is getting to me in spite of weekly PT and exercise, massage rubbing, etc. My neuromuscular therapist, whom I see for neck problems, suggested acupuncture especially for the scars. I've been rubbing and rubbing but have read that acupuncture is effective and you can actually request "scar treatment". I'm calling tomorrow to see if I can schedule an appt. Like many of you I also am feeling the wrist and arm pain and the trigger finger is really stiff and painful, and still swollen, which I don't recall from the other surgeries, so am assuming it's because of the additional tendon repair. The PT is a lot of work and I sometimes feel a sense of depression. Have any of you felt this way? Maybe I'm just impatient and need to give it a more realistic time period to heal. My arm is aching now as I type especially the inner aspect of the forearm. I see my surgeon on the 24th of April so will have to see what he says and hope that what I am experiencing is to be expected. I'm trying to think positive.

Thanks for listening.
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