The most flexible joint in the hand is the thumb joint, which allows for various essential movements such as grasping objects. However, over time, this joint may become vulnerable to wear and tear, which can cause conditions such as arthritis and joint deterioration. When nonsurgical methods are not viable to relieve symptoms of thumb disability or pain an arthroplasty, also known as a joint replacement, which involves the replacement of the affected joint to reinstate its functionality, may be the best option to alleviate the discomfort.
Full post-op recovery from a thumb joint replacement surgery can take months, depending on the surgical procedure used. The thumb is immediately padded after surgery, and a splint is applied to ensure proper mobilization. This positioning helps to optimize the recovery since it supports the natural healing process. Your surgeon will recommend pain medications to help relieve uncomfortable symptoms, as there is usually some discomfort and swelling involved. In addition to taking any prescribed medication, keeping your hand raised during your recovery will discourage swelling.
Your surgeon will plan a check-up within five to seven days post-surgery and remove the stitches after 10-14 days post-surgery. Your surgeon and physical therapist will guide your restoration program by closely monitoring your hand to help minimize stress, regain strength, and improve motor skills of the thumb joint.
For the surgical procedure to be a success, it will require skilled rehabilitation from a physical therapist to avoid cases of re-injury and the possibility of undoing the restoration made during surgery. The primary physical rehabilitation aims to reduce and control pain and swelling. Interventions such as massage, heat therapy, and other treatments help to lessen the pain and muscle cramps. The following stage involves gentle targeted exercises with the thumb to improve the overall stability of the thumb joint, strengthen it, and enhance the range of motions.
Rehabilitation with your therapist also addresses restoring fine motor skills, including thumb and forefinger gripping. Therapists guide in safe task execution, emphasizing proper techniques to minimize stress on the thumb joint. Caution against overexertion is paramount to prevent injuries and future potential complications.
For individuals suffering from thumb pain, choosing a certified, experienced, and skilled surgeon is essential for treating and managing your pain in an effective and safe way. Certified Dr. Randi A. Galli, MD, FACS, Dr. Ricardo Avena, MD, FACS, and Dr. Ryan C. Stehr, MD, FACS, at the Regional Hand Center will provide you with quality care, keenly listen to your concerns, assess your pain, and suggest a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for your thumb.
To learn more about arthroplasty, schedule a consultation now for further information. To get in touch with a member of our time, contact our Fresno and Visalia, CA offices at (559) 322-HAND or via our online contact form.Back to All Blogs