Carpal Tunnel Management & Surgery

Activity: Highly repetitive or forceful activities should be avoided. Most activities are harmless with moderation. If you have a wound, please check the “wound care” hand-out for special instructions.

Medication: Anti-inflammatory medication may be used as part of the treatment. It will only work if taken on a regular basis, daily, for a few weeks. Injections are used occasionally.

Gloves/splints: You may be provided with an Elastic Glove and splint (Rigid Wrist Support). You have three ways of using these: either one alone, or both together. You will find out what works best for you by experimenting; try one way each night, until you can decide what gives you the most relief. These are usually necessary only when sleeping. You may also find them useful during any activity that normally aggravates your symptoms. If you cannot tolerate the elastic glove while sleeping, try it for a couple of hours before going to bed, and another couple of hours when you wake up. A splint is worn at night for about one month after surgery.

Exercises: You must do the Tendon Gliding Exercises at least twice daily. Work and other exercise do not take the place of the Tendon Gliding Exercises, which have been specifically designed for hand problems.

Scar: After surgery, your scar and palm will be sore for a few weeks. This is usually worst around six weeks after surgery because the scar is thickest at that time. We will show you how to deal with this if necessary.

Recovery: Speed of recovery depends on how long you have had the carpal tunnel problem and how severe it is. Some relief may be seen immediately, but a nerve will often take 18 to 24 months to recover to its full potential. A severely damaged nerve may never recover fully. After surgery, you can use your hand for everyday activities while in the bandages. You may not need any more bandages after the first post-operative visit. Your sutures are removed two weeks after surgery; until then, you must keep them dry and clean (showers and hand washing are allowed). Blot your sutures to dry them; do not rub them.