Did you know that orthopedists in the country earn over $21 billion each year? There are more than 16,000 practices in the United States alone that help people with hand surgeries and similar medical needs. More than 27,000 people work in the orthopedic industry.
Many people are excited when they receive a hand surgery because they are looking forward to enjoying greater use of their hands again. However, you will first have to get through your hand surgery recovery time. In some cases, hand surgery recovery can be a frustrating process that seems to take too long.
On the other hand, many people have discovered techniques that can speed up hand surgery recovery time. You can also use these hand surgery recovery tips to help you enjoy greater comfort as you get through this difficult time. So what can help you recover from your hand surgery as fast as possible?
Read on to find out about the top hand surgery recovery tips that might help you!
1. Prepare for Surgery Recovery in Advance
Some people don’t think about how they will recover from their surgery until it is already over. However, once you are in the middle of hand surgery recovery, it can be more difficult and frustrating to get ready for the rest of your recovery time. It is often a better idea to learn more about hand surgery recovery in advance and get ready for it.
If you have not received your hand surgery yet, ask your doctor for any advice they can give about how to manage the recovery process. They might be able to recommend certain devices that can provide you with greater convenience or capability while you recover.
You might also want to prepare meals that you can get ready with a minimum of effort. You don’t want to be stuck without good food because you do not have the physical ability to manage complicated preparation processes.
It can also help to figure out in advance how you will manage the various chores around your home. You might want to clean everything before your surgery or make a plan with anyone you live with to take care of chores during your recovery time.
2. Get Plenty of Rest After Hand Surgery
After you receive your hand surgery, one of the most important things to focus on is rest. That applies to your whole body, but it applies double to your surgical site.
Think through anything urgent you might need to handle in the first few days after your surgery. Make plans to take care of such tasks in advance or figure out how you can handle them without the use of your hands.
Some people want to get back to their daily routine as fast as possible after hand surgery. However, your recovery process may suffer from complications if you don’t give your hands the time they need to recover.
3. Keep Your Hand and Wrist Elevated
While you are recovering, focus on keeping your hands elevated as often as possible. You don’t need to make yourself uncomfortable or force yourself to keep your hands elevated at all times, but it is also worth thinking about how you can comfortably elevate your hands. Even before your hand surgery, you might want to experiment with setups that allow you to elevate your hands while you sleep.
Although this might seem difficult at first, it is important to remember that you only need to keep your hands above the level of your heart. This will help reduce inflammation and swelling, making it easier for your hands to heal. The right combination of pillows and blankets might be enough to help you get in a solid 8 hours of hand elevation at night.
You may not be able to keep your hands elevated as often throughout the day, but it is still worth finding opportunities to elevate them when you can.
4. Avoid Hand Stress as You Recover From Surgery
You might not realize just how much you use your hands until after your surgery. However, it is vital that you avoid using your hands as much as possible after surgery. To prepare for this, you might want to try avoiding the use of your hands for a day before your surgery.
Notice any problems that come up and prepare to take care of them after surgery when you will not be able to use your hands. You might even want to practice basic tasks like brushing your teeth and feeding yourself without using your affected hand or hands.
There may be some tasks that you need to use your hands for, but you can still focus on placing as little stress on your hands as possible. Sometimes, simply letting a task take twice as long as usual is enough to get through it without triggering discomfort in your hands.
5. Exercise While Recovering From Surgery
At the same time, using your hands in the right way can help speed up the recovery process. You may receive physical therapy exercises that can help you maintain and improve your hand control during the recovery process. You may find that your hands feel stiff or weak, so using these exercises can help you work toward full function again.
On top of specific exercises, it can also be a good idea to flex and wiggle your fingers to help the blood flow through them. However, as you do this, make sure to rest if your hands start to get tired. You should also avoid flexing your hands and fingers so much that you start to feel uncomfortable.
For the first day or so after surgery, you may need to avoid walking as much as possible. However, after that, regular walking can be another contributor to a speedy recovery. Regular walks can help you keep your blood flowing so that your hands do not end up too swollen.
6. Get Plenty of Protein in Your Diet
Your body will depend on protein and other nutrients to recover from the trauma done to your hands. Plan in advance to have plenty of easy protein you can consume during your hand surgery recovery process. Your muscles and skin are both made of protein and will need lots of it to help you recover as fast as possible.
However, it might also be worth spreading your food consumption out over the course of the whole day. If you eat too much at once, your body might need to devote a lot of resources and energy to digestion. You might also find that you are more susceptible to nausea and bloating as you recover from surgery.
7. Avoid Foods That Interfere With Healing
While you focus on getting enough protein, you may also want to avoid consuming too much salt and sugar. Salt can cause your body to stay swollen longer than necessary. Sugar can also trigger inflammation and slow down your healing process.
8. Stay Hydrated During Hand Surgery Recovery
Some people try to counter swelling by avoiding drinking too much. However, you will want to get plenty of liquids while you recover. When your body is hydrated, it will be easier for it to get rid of excess swelling in inflamed parts of the body.
Your immune system and the healing mechanisms of the body also require lots of liquid to function as well as possible. To help you stay hydrated, you might want to prepare a number of different drinks so that you can enjoy getting the liquids you need for the days and weeks following your surgery.
9. Listen to the Impulses of Your Body
Throughout your recovery process, focus on what your body tells you it wants. If you feel hungry or thirsty or tired or restless, give your body what it needs and you will be able to recover faster.
At the same time, it is important to listen to your body in both the short-term and the long-term. If you do something that causes discomfort or pain later on, notice that and be prepared to go easier in the future.
10. Wear Comfortable Clothing as You Recover
Tight clothing can interfere with free blood flow around your body. Uncomfortable clothing can also increase your stress as you recover. It can also cause itching, which can tempt you to use your hands more than is ideal.
Your doctor might recommend that you use a compression garment while you recover. However, some people find that their compression garments are uncomfortable. If you can find a way to make your compression clothing more comfortable, it will be easier for you to wear it without suffering during the recovery process.
In some cases, wearing a soft t-shirt or tank top under your compression garment can help you avoid itching and discomfort.
11. Give Yourself Massages After Surgery
Massage can help your body get fresh blood to the areas that need it to heal. Consider giving yourself regular massages while you recover to improve comfort. If you only receive surgery on one of your hands, you can use the other to massage anywhere around your body that feels tight or tense.
You might especially want to massage around your surgical site. However, you will need to avoid the immediate vicinity of your surgical wound to avoid exacerbating it and slowing down your recovery process.
On the other hand, massaging a few inches away from your surgical side can help you get the blood flowing to the parts of your body that need it most. Keep in mind that your body needs to provide your surgical site with fresh blood and also to drain away old blood that has been there for a while.
For that reason, you might want to massage both toward your surgical site as well as away from it.
12. Be Ready to Avoid Scratching Itches
You might find that your surgical site and surrounding areas feel itchy while you recover. However, you will want to avoid itching as much as possible. Along with resisting the urge to scratch, you might want to find an anti-itch lotion that can help calm down any discomfort.
13. Take Good Care of Your Surgical Site
Once your wound has finished closing, you will end up with a scar. However, the size and distinctiveness of your scar will depend on how fully your body heals. Once your wound is no longer sensitive, you can start massaging your scar to help it enjoy extra blood flow.
On top of that, you might want to prepare to keep your scar area as moisturized as possible. Consider finding a lotion that you like so that you can apply it to your scar one or more times each day.
It is also worth keeping in mind that your scar will be sensitive to the UV rays of the Sun. Getting too much sunlight on your scar can lead to permanent discoloration.
You might want to find a bandage you can place on your scar when you go outside. Or, you can use sunscreen to provide it with some extra protection.
Speed Up Your Hand Surgery Recovery Time
A lot of people feel discouraged when they realize that their hand surgery recovery time might go on for a while. The good news is that there are a lot of tips you can use to help speed your recovery along. On top of that, many of these tips can help you enjoy a smoother and more pleasant recovery process at the same time.
To learn more about how you can find the right hand surgery and care help for your needs, reach out and get in touch with us here at any time!