How Do I Recover after Wrist Surgery?

K. K. Lowen

There are many things that you can do to recover from wrist surgery. Recovery times and methods will vary depending on the type of surgery performed. Physical therapy is one of the most common recovery activities, but many other factors can play a role in the healing process, such as a proper diet and avoiding wrist strain and tension.

Surgery to treat carpal tunnel syndrome may be performed as either an open or an endoscopic surgical procedure.
Surgery to treat carpal tunnel syndrome may be performed as either an open or an endoscopic surgical procedure.

Following the instructions from your doctor is perhaps the simplest and most important thing to do after wrist surgery. Listen to all instructions and advice given to you by your physician as well as nurses and other medical staff. If you have any questions or do not understand any aspect of the surgery or recovery, it is important to ask qualified medical personnel. Additionally, it is important to read and understand any literature that medical care providers give to you.

Using an ice pack can help reduce wrist pain while recovering from surgery.
Using an ice pack can help reduce wrist pain while recovering from surgery.

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After wrist surgery you may enter physical therapy. It is important to attend all therapy sessions. If you are given techniques to use or exercises to perform outside of sessions, it is essential that you use them. For people who do not attend organized physical therapy, goal-setting can be a helpful recovery method. In the weeks following wrist surgery, some people like to set small, gradually increasing goals for themselves.

There are many different types of wrist surgeries, and the patient should discuss the details with his or her doctor.
There are many different types of wrist surgeries, and the patient should discuss the details with his or her doctor.

Your doctor may prescribe pain medication after wrist surgery. Pain killers can make the recovery process easier for people, but it is essential that you only take the prescribed dosage and follow all of the pharmacist’s instructions. Taking more of the medication than is recommended can be dangerous, sometimes leading to addiction or overdose.

A wrist brace may be worn for support following wrist surgery.
A wrist brace may be worn for support following wrist surgery.

It may be wise to research alternative methods of pain management after your surgery. Some people pursue meditation to lessen their pain, while others may try other forms of mental distraction to alleviate pain. Many people also have joined online or in-person support groups after wrist surgery.

Wrist surgery may or may not require general anesthesia.
Wrist surgery may or may not require general anesthesia.

The recovery process may be different for different people. Some people may naturally heal faster than others. For anyone recovering from wrist surgery, however, it is very important to not strain the wrist in any way. Regardless of how strong you feel, it is a good idea to avoid heavy lifting and other activities that could put tension on the wrist to avoid further damage. Avoid long-term repetitive motions and take frequent breaks if you must engage in such activities.

Web programmers and others who use computers frequently may need cubital or carpal tunnel release surgery, and may miss several weeks of work.
Web programmers and others who use computers frequently may need cubital or carpal tunnel release surgery, and may miss several weeks of work.

As medical technology progresses, recovery after wrist surgery may change, but some recovery time still is needed. The best thing for most people is to avoid putting too much pressure on the wrist and give it the maximum amount of time possible to heal. Promoting natural healing by getting lots of rest and eating healthy also can be beneficial after wrist surgery.

Physical therapy is often prescribed to help regain strength and range of motion after wrist surgery.
Physical therapy is often prescribed to help regain strength and range of motion after wrist surgery.

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