Trapeziectomy recovery

Edited , 12 users are following.

Hello.

I am a 67 year old male new to this forum.

I am scheduled for a trapeziectomy with ligament replacement and would like to know how to manage simple chores immediately after the operation such as shaving, dressing etc.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Zvi

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  • Posted

    I had my R thumb done 6/18/18 & my L on 8/23/18. Don't plan on doing much immediately after surgery! Things aren't so bad while you are still numbed up from the nerve block. I needed help dressing for awhile & help in the bathroom. Try to do as much as possible before surgery-ie: having tv dinners on hand, house clean, ect. Practice doing things 1 handed. It's hard to tie shoes & even drive at 1st. Had trouble getting the car out of gear w/my right hand. Things get easier after the cast comes off & you are in the brace. R surgery was more painful than the L. Don't know why -I'm left handed. I tell people to follow dr's orders. It's important to let that tendon heal in it's new position. The surgery wasn't so bad but the healing seems to take forever. I'm finally ready to go back to work. Best of luck to you. Hard to believe thumbs could cause so much trouble!

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    • Posted

      I had started a post on this very subject and I guess I should delete it since it's redundant---but you say "healing seems to take forever." Can you describe the pain and mobility you now have + the strength in your forearm now that the FCR tendon has been cut? Like how long has it taken to start doing the things your hands stopped you from doing previously? Thanks!!!

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    • Posted

      My reply is more complicated than you are seeking. While my thumbs were an issue, I also had major issues  with arthritis in the rest of my hands & wrist that have turned into a huge problem. I have noticable deformities of my fingers, my hands are often swollen, I can't make a fist (dr. calls it a composite fist), I lack strength in my hands & have alot of issues w/mobility because of it. I was shocked to return to work & find I could no longer do essential functions of my job. I attempted to down size a job & discovered you really need your hands to perform at least a minimal level to do any job. I applied for social security disability & was approved fairly fast (3 months). I think I could work in like a sheltered workshop environment where I wouldn't be held to a level of performance standard. (wpm, pieces per hr ect) Unfortunately that doesn't happen in the real world.
      
      With all that being said, I still think the  surgery was helpful. My thumbs would  hurt so bad that I often imagined ripping them off prior to surgery! The pain was intense enough  to control every waking moment & affect your ability to sleep. The surgery remedied that problem & was well worth it. I have huge bony nodules on my thumbs so  they don't bend much.  I don't do well with pinching or any fine motor skill stuff but I think that has to do more with the general condition of my hands than the thumb exclusively. I still have swan neck deformity of the thumbs & still can't hold my palm flat.  The strength in my forearm came back slowly as the tendons healed & got use to their new positions. Light weights & squeezing the clay that PT gave me helped with that. 
      
      I haven't had any issues with trigger thumb since the surgery. Prior to the surgery my thumbs would lock up & either wouldn't bend or straighten out for days on end, caught up on spurs in the joint.
      
      Though my story doesn't have the best ending, I  would still encourage people to have the surgery. This is basically a woman's condition & I have several friends who have had the surgery & have done very well. (Woman are affected by this more than men because of our hormones. The same hormones that allow woman to have 10 lb babies also relax the tendons in the thumb. This elasticity makes the thumb joint unstable & sets up an environment that invites the formation of arthritis).  The surgery is easy. The hard part with this surgery is the 3 month recuperation time.  Hope this helps!
      
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  • Posted

    I had right thumb done september 11th. It was difficult to manage after the operation especially dressing, bathing etc however managed. I am 4 months surgury and still finding some thing difficult ie opening doors, cutting bread however it is getting easier. I still have pain in the area and I do have a bump on the base of the thumb which im not sure is right or not, however not seeing consultant until end of February. My fingers seem to stiffen as well . However I am not feeling the same painful experiences prior to operation. Good luck with yours .x

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  • Posted

    when i had mine i was fortunate enough to have my husbands help.  it was still very aggrevating to not be able to do for myself..  i just kept doing what i could and let him do the rest
    
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  • Posted

    when i had mine i was fortunate enough to have my husbands help.  it was still very aggrevating to not be able to do for myself..  i just kept doing what i could and let him do the rest
    
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  • Edited

    I had mine carried out on 18th November 2020.

    The operation went well and I had no pain after.

    I was in plaster for two and a half weeks before it was removed and my stiches came out.

    I was then given a spint and that was so much better!

    It is difficult to do anything at that stage although I did manage to shower and dry myself without the splint more or less straight away.

    Between week 3 and 5 the pain was almast unbearble.

    I am guessing because I tried to do to much.

    I am now on week 7 and can do a fair bit and excercise with puty and a rubber ball along with prescribed exercises.

    I am doing a lot more with my thumb now and it tells me when I have done to much with pain as my guide.

    Pain is different for all of us but be prepared my friend because it really really hurts.

    I think you have to try and push yourself for a faster recovery so long as you don't overdo it.

    2 days before I had my operation I nearly backed out.

    I spoke to the surgeon and he asked me how much use I currentloy had with my thumb and told him 'around 50% but with pain'

    He told me 'within a year I'd have 90% without pain' so it was a no brainer.

    It is hard but I am sure in time you and I will make a full recovery.

    I'm 62 and a keen golfer so it is my goal to play golf within 16 weeks!

    Good luck to you

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply.

      I had my right thumb (dominant hand) done December 2018 and the left one done December 2019.

      No casts only padding and bandages.

      Same hospital. Different surgeons and techniques. Left hand had Kushner pin inserted for about 4 weeks for stability.

      Physiotherapy after the stitches came out.

      After a year, 97% use of hand. Can hold handle bars of trail bicycle and knead bread dough without pain.

      Well worth the trouble of recovery.

      (Will be 70 next year).

      Without complications would recommend surgery when other measures no longer effective.

      Zvi

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    • Posted

      don thank you for your post! I'm in the same position you are--keen golfer that is--and right now I can't really hold on to the club after about 5 holes due to the pain. I just keep re-routing the club with ridiculous and painful results. I've been concerned that it might take as long as 2 years to recover to play without as much pain. My case is severe, the most severe my surgeon has seen in his 25 years of practice so I might not have the same timing. anyway, i'm 74 and have been weighing losing 2 years of activity vs. living with this pain. I was a competitive golfer, 1 hcp but cannot practice at all now and quit in the middle of the round about 5x more than finishing. best to you don!

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    • Posted

      I remember someone saying, when they were contemplating going back to pick up some new training or a new degree or something, "Think how old I'll be!". And of course the response is, the same age you'll be if you don't go for it! So you'll have a year or two of recovery, but at the end you'll be so much better off than you are now.

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    • Edited

      Anhaga you're absolutely correct. It's ironic you'd bring that up because long ago when I was 26 and thinking about a 4 year advanced professional degree, cringing at the idea of 4 more years of school my dad said the same thing to me--!--four years from now you'll be 4 years older and you either will or will not have this degree.

      One thing I can say is that it's a lot different thinking that way when you're almost 75...the end of all days approaches and you think quite differently even if the underlying big idea is sort of the same.

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    • Posted

      You might live into your nineties and if you don't get your limb treated in whatever way is best for you, you will not be playing golf for the next fifteen years. But if you do get successful treatment you should be back on the links before the complete recovery, gradually working up to full participation again. At least, this is what I am (age 73) telling myself as I attempt to get a doctor to take my debilitating knee pain seriously as my own exercise plan (a long daily walk) has been impossible for months and I can feel myself losing physical strength and beginning to fear for my bones, cardiovascular system and, ultimately, my brain.

      All the best. I'm sure you'll make the right decision for you!

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