How To Recover From Hand Surgery?

With the increased interest in physical activity and physical fitness among Americans, hand injuries and surgery have become more prevalent than ever. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) study, Physical Therapy Huntington Beach is an integral part of recovery for those who suffer from hand injuries or surgeries. Physical therapists work with patients to improve their movement and strength as well as treat pain.

 

Patients should be aware that physical therapy can help reduce stiffness resulting from injury or surgery and increase agility, balance, and coordination. However, physical therapy may not be able to reduce the appearance of scarring after surgery. In addition, physical therapists can suggest ways to change everyday activities to ease soreness and stiffness following treatment, such as modifying how a person turns a doorknob.

 

Physical therapists work with patients to improve flexibility and range of motion by using different physical modalities such as heat, cold, electric stimulation, and ultrasound. They also use other physical techniques such as massage and joint mobilization to increase movement in the areas that have been injured. 

 

After surgery, patients are usually referred to physical therapy to regain strength and reduce pain and stiffness in the scar tissue resulting from surgery or injury. Physical therapists also educate patients on how they can best care for themselves as they recover from surgery.

 

How long is Physical Therapy Necessary?

Typically physical therapy is needed for 3 to 6 months, depending on the type of surgery performed. However, physical therapy can be continued after this time frame if there is pain or loss of motion in the area that has been repaired. Patients are usually seen every two weeks at first and then less frequently as they improve. The number of physical therapy treatments can vary from 6-24 visits depending on the severity of injury/surgery, patient age, and how well they respond to physical therapy during treatment sessions. How much will it hurt?

 

While most patients report some discomfort with physical therapy, especially when moving scar tissue around, most do not find the biological treatment painful.

 

Physical therapists usually see patients several times a week for treatments that last 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the physical therapist’s instructions about how often to come for treatment and the extent of physical work needed by each patient.

 

What to Expect in Physical Therapy Post-Hand Surgery?

Patients come to physical therapy to regain strength and movement. Appointments can last up to an hour, depending on the physical therapist’s instructions about how often to go for treatment.

 

Most patients report discomfort with physical therapy, especially when moving scar tissue around, but most do not find the physical treatment painful.

Physical therapists usually see patients several times a week for treatments that last 30 minutes to an hour.

 

Recovery and Healing Time

During physical therapy, they can begin gentle range of motion exercises in both open and closed chain-meaning while putting weight through your hand or hanging your arm off the side of a table (respectively). This helps flush out any fluid build-up, causing pressure that may be irritating the scar tissue.

They may also use electrical stimulation to assist in muscle re-growth and physical therapy exercises as well as stretch tissues throughout your arm.

 

Recovery from hand surgery will vary according to the type of procedure performed, how long it takes for physical therapy to begin, and other factors such as age, overall health, activity level before surgery, etc. Generally, physical therapy begins 1-2 weeks after surgery with an initial focus on protecting the surgical site avoiding movement that may stress the incision. Physical therapists work with patients to develop a safe program of gentle exercises to regain range of motion (ROM) strength, grip strength endurance strength. Active physical therapy is usually started 2-6 weeks after surgery, depending on the surgeon’s preference.

 

Regarding physical therapy post-hand surgery, those physical therapists involved in the hand and upper extremity rehab will likely use low-level laser and therapeutic ultrasound to encourage blood flow and pain-free movement. Heat or cold may also be used as part of these therapies, along with grip devices designed to mimic functional positions of the fingers and help improve grip strength. Patients should expect some strengthening exercises beyond what they can do at home, such as grip strengtheners/contracting pins, heavyweight.