Postoperative exercises for carpal tunnel decompression and trigger finger release

Patient Information

Starting on the 2nd day after your surgery, you are encouraged to start performing the exercise programme shown below. The aim is to start your hand moving normally as soon as possible and to reduce any stiffness. Some postoperative pain and stiffness is normal but it should reduce. Aim to have normal hand movements by 2-3 weeks after your surgery. The discomfort may well last longer, particularly in the scar. The hand may be a little weak for 3 months after surgery. Do not perform heavy lifting until at least 6 weeks after surgery. You may perform light tasks, such as dressing, eating, using the telephone etc. from the first postoperative day if you feel able to.

The exercises shown below should initially be performed twice a day. Set aside about 5 minutes for each set of exercises. Start gently and work up as your hand settles down. As the hand improves, you may perform the exercises more frequently, up to every 2 hours by 2 weeks after surgery.

After suture removal at 2 weeks and providing that your wound has healed, you should start to massage the scar with a non-scented moisturising cream e.g. E45 for 4-5 minutes three times a day. Ensure to massage deeply and to make the skin move across the underlying tissues. Use up and down, side-to-side and circular movements.

1) Blocked bending of top joint of thumb
post operative ex
Hold the thumb so that movement only occurs at the joint at the tip of the thumb. Repeat 5 times.
2) Blocked bending of middle joint of fingers
Blocked bending of middle joint of fingers
Hold the finger so that only the middle joint moves. Repeat for each finger 5 times.
3) Blocked bending of top joint of fingers
Blocked bending of top joint of fingers
Hold the finger so that only the end joint moves. Repeat for each finger 5 times.
4) Hook grip
Hook grip
Stretch all of your fingers and your wrist back with the other hand. Repeat 5 times.
5) Make a fist
Make a fist
Make a full fist. Make sure that the tips of the fingers touch the crease in the middle of your palm. Repeat 5 times.
6) Touch thumb to little finger
Touch thumb to little finger
Touch the thumb to the little finger and then slide the thumb down the little finger to the palm. Repeat 5 times.
7) Pull all the fingers and wrist back
Pull all the fingers and wrist back
Bend all the fingers and thumb at the tip and middle joints. Keep the bottom knuckle joints straight. Repeat 5 times.

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