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What You Need to Know About Recovering from Hand or Wrist Surgery

Dec 4, 2015

Undergoing surgery is always a little unsettling, but hand and wrist procedures are very common and allow many people to regain full range of motion once again. These procedures are sometimes necessary if you’re dealing with a severe injury that cannot be treated through non-surgical methods.

By understanding what you’ll be dealing with during recovery, you’ll be more at ease throughout the process. Learn about what to expect.


  • General Soreness:

    After your surgery, you’ll experience general soreness around the incision site and overall. Be sure to follow the after-care instructions that were provided by your doctor in order to recover properly.

  • Preparing for Recovery:

    There are a few things you need to remember to do before you undergo surgery to make sure you’re comfortable during recovery.

    • Arrange transportation: You’ll be under some form of anesthesia so you’ll need someone to drive you home from surgery.
    • Prepare your home: You’ll need to allow your affected arm to heal after surgery so you’ll need to avoid using it. For this reason, it’s a good idea to prepare meals in your home beforehand so you don’t have to cook.

Doc Paient

  • Swelling:

    You’ll notice swelling for the first week after surgery which is a normal response. Reducing swelling will help speed up the recovery process while also minimizing your pain.

    • Elevation: Prop your arm up on a few pillows while you’re sitting or lying down. Make sure that your arm is elevated over your heart in order to reduce swelling the most. You should be doing so every day after your surgery for about three days to a week.
    • Ice: Icing your injury is also another way to reduce swelling and pain. Apply an ice pack or cold compress over the site of your surgery for twenty minutes at a time. This will also minimize the soreness that is common the first couple days after surgery.
  • Wound Care:

    Your incision will also need to be cared for properly in order to avoid infection. Your doctor will thoroughly explain how to care for your incision, but there are a few key tips to keep in mind.

    • Generally, you shouldn’t remove your bandages until your follow up appointment with your doctor. After surgery, leave the dressings as-is to allow your incision time to heal. During your follow up appointment, typically around a week or two following the surgery, your doctor will remove the dressings to make sure the incision is healing properly.
    • Avoid getting your incision wet at all costs. Since you’ll be leaving your dressings on, this shouldn’t be an issue. Wrap it in plastic so that it won’t get wet in the shower and avoid submerging it in water.
  • Medication: Your doctor will provide you pain medication to make the post-surgery soreness more tolerable. Be sure to take it as directed and contact your physician if you’re experiencing side effects.

If you experience a hand or wrist injury, you may be a candidate for surgery. Click here to contact Premier Orthopaedics to find out how surgery can benefit you.