Following carpal tunnel surgery, you must follow the advice given to you by your doctor. He or she will give you a comprehensive set of instructions to follow concerning your aftercare and how you can help to improve your healing for a speedy recovery from your surgery.
It can take you a while to fully recover so you mustn’t jump back into your normal activities as soon as you start to feel better. You need to take proper rest post-surgery and getting enough quality sleep will help you to recover more quickly.
You also need to restrict your physical activity, so avoid lifting or moving heavy objects or furniture for at least two weeks after your surgery. You also need to restrict over-using your hands for even seemingly lightweight activities such as housework, washing the windows, vacuuming, using a knife to cut up or chop food, or anything else that needs repeated griping or hand movements, such as typing and moving a computer mouse.
Getting fresh air and exercise
While you are recovering, you can still get plenty of fresh air and exercise that will help to maintain your fitness levels and improve your mood and well-being. Your exercise should include walking outdoors every day, or other exercises that don’t involve using your hands.
While it may be tempting to try a bit of light gardening, make sure you leave any heavier tasks such as lawn mowing, hedge clipping or pruning for at least 4 weeks post-surgery.
Try to keep your bandages dry while in the shower, or while washing up etc. You can protect your hand from getting wet by covering the hand with a plastic bag and taping it closed while using the shower, for example.
You will be given some medication to take following your surgery and you should take it as directed by your doctor. If you experience any negative side-effects from taking your medication, such as an upset stomach, diarrhoea, headaches or other worrying symptoms, do not hesitate to get back in touch with your doctor.
If you find yourself in a lot of pain or a high level of discomfort following your surgery and you suspect that your prescribed medication isn’t working as it should, tell your doctor so they can review your medications and try something different that may be more effective.
How soon can I drive after carpal tunnel surgery?
Be aware that sometimes the pain medication that you are prescribed may make you feel sleepy. This is why you shouldn’t try to drive, be tempted to go back to work or operate any heavy machinery.
In most cases, you won’t be able to drive for up to two weeks after your surgery, especially if you are still taking any medication that is making you feel sleepy. Doing so can put both you and other road users at risk. You may also experience a degree of pain or sensitivity for a few weeks following your surgery, which can impair your ability to safely drive a car.
It will take approximately 10 to 14 days for your wound to heal enough to prevent your stitches from loosening or breaking open. In most cases, people that take appropriate care of themselves following surgery and show normal healing can safely return to driving after two weeks of recovery.