7 Common Hand Surgery Recovery Mistakes to Avoid
October 20th, 2020
7 Common Hand Surgery Recovery Mistakes to Avoid
If you just hand surgery on your hand, how you recover depends on what you don’t do. Here are common hand surgery recovery mistakes to avoid.
The hands are essential for so many daily functions. It is easy to take for granted how important they are until an issue arises that requires surgery.
The recovery process after hand surgery greatly determines how quickly they heal and how soon you can resume normal activity.
Everything from not following instructions to excessive activity after surgery can delay the healing.
To make sure you stay on track, here are 7 hand surgery recovery mistakes to avoid.
1. Being Unprepared at Home
In the short-term, life will look a little different. Simple, everyday activities will suddenly become challenging. Having a home recovery plan and being prepared will not only help your hand heal but also reduce some of the stress.
Before your surgery go through the home and move frequently used (lightweight) items well within your reach. For heavier items, move them out of your reach completely. It is common to automatically reach for something familiar and realize too late it was too heavy or bulky to be lifting.
Pick out clothing items that are easy to put on and take off. You don’t want to fumble with clothing and re-injure the hand or just plain make the pain worse.
Have some meals prepared ahead of time. If you don’t feel up to this, there are several good options now available in the frozen section of most grocery stores.
Stock up on meals you can heat up quickly in the microwave. Keep extra straws on hand as well to avoid constantly picking up glasses or cups.
You can also utilize the many food delivery services available now. The key is to not push yourself to cook and prepare food while you are still in pain and need rest.
2. Not Getting Enough Rest
While hand surgery may not seem major, it is still surgery. As such, your body needs to rest to heal properly. Much of the internal healing comes while you are sleeping.
You must follow your doctor’s orders when it comes to how much downtime you need. The time of recovery for each surgery, and even each individual, varies.
You should not jump right back into a normal routine. There will be gradual stages of improvement. Your doctor will chart out a plan of recovery, including how much rest is needed. Pay attention.
3. Ignoring the Pain
There will always be pain following hand surgery. The intensity has a lot to do with what type of surgery was performed.
The pain from less invasive surgery most likely can be handled with over-the-counter pain killers. More extensive procedures could also require antibiotics and prescribed pain medication.
Take the medicines that are recommended by the doctor for the required time. Relieving the pain will help you be able to rest, which is required for a speedy recovery.
If you are taking what is prescribed, and you are still in a lot of pain, contact your physician. They may need to check for any additional issues or damage.
4. Over-Exerting Your Hand
There are quite a few tasks performed every day that require the hands. It will be tempting to push through the pain and do them anyway. That is not a good idea.
You will be given exercises to do during recovery and those are important. However, those should be done exactly as given by the rehabilitation therapist.
Do not take it upon yourself to get ahead of the rehab or become impatient with the time involved. Over-exerting your hand can re-injure it and put you back at square one.
5. Getting the Bandage Wet
You will most likely need to wear a bandage or even a custom splint for days or even weeks following your hand surgery. Great care needs to be taken to not get it wet. A wet bandage is just inviting bacteria and infection in.
When you are showering, or around water, wrap it thoroughly with a plastic covering to keep it dry. You can purchase a cover specifically for this, or you can just use regular plastic bags.
6. Surgery Recovery Mistakes – Avoiding Rehab
Once you start feeling better it may be tempting to stop the hand surgery rehab. It can be a painful and sometimes long process and you just want to get on with life.
Unfortunately, that is a bad mistake. Rehabilitation is probably one of the most important factors in regaining complete use of the hand and doing it in a timely manner.
Avoiding it, or ending too soon, can backtrack the progress already made. It will delay the healing and could result in being unable to do tasks you have always done.
Don’t waste the time, money, and pain invested and not follow through with the proper hand therapy.
7. Not Asking for Help
Asking for help is sometimes hard. You want to be independent and handle situations on your own. It’s just a little hand surgery, so what’s the big deal.
The big deal is it’s your hand and therefore very important! You will need help for at least the first several days, if not longer.
There is no shame in asking for, and receiving help. Before the surgery, tell your friends and family that you will need some assistance with driving, household chores, even certain personal hygiene tasks.
If you live alone, have someone stay with you for the first couple of days. Then possibly a rotating system where others come in to help.
They will be glad to help and it will definitely make the recovery time easier and probably faster as well.
Be a Good Patient
The key to avoiding hand surgery recovery mistakes is to be a good patient.
Before surgery, your doctor will lay out what will happen during the procedure and what you will need to do afterward. It is vital those instructions are followed.
Your hands are necessary for so many daily functions and in order to achieve complete function and healing, you must listen to both the doctor and rehab therapist.
For more information on how our team, services, and therapy can get you back into enjoying life again, please reach out.