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Swollen fingers and pain after carpal tunnel surgery, whats normal?

(31 Posts)
ClumsyCow Mon 14-Aug-17 09:03:35

I had my right dominant hand done last Tuesday, i seem to be in an unusual amount of pain and my fingers are still numb at the tips and thumb and fingers swollen with occasional pins and needles in hand. Is this normal? After the procedure, i was numb for about 24 hours due to the nerve block/anaesthetic, then when i woke up on the Wednesday, OMG the pain, it was horrendous, i have been taking the cocodamol 30/500 that the hospital gave me. The pain has lessened from then but is still quite bad. I cannot take ibuprofen. Every so often i get a horrid tightening, pulling pain sensation in my palm and wrist area. There is a large bruise forming in my palm. The wound was checked at 48 hours and al was fine. I dont have bandage , just a large plaster on the stiches , the wound is also longer than Dr said it would be, around 4cm long.
I am due stiches out on Fridayshock

Just wondering if all this is normal, or maybe i am just extra bruised?

Excuse typos, left handed typinggrin

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ClumsyCow Mon 14-Aug-17 09:08:03

Or maybe i am just being a big wuss!grin

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BumWad Mon 14-Aug-17 13:38:55

Eeeek I may be going fo surgery soon so marking place

ClumsyCow Tue 15-Aug-17 08:34:19


i am going to try and take more painkilers today and see if that helps. the pain actullly brings me out in cold sweats and have not slept so good, been a few tears. fingers still swollen and palm area is really burning today. think i am just feeling sorry for myself.

BUM, dont let my experience put you off, i may be an unusual case! i am supposed to be having other hand done at some point, but am going to ask them to take me off the waiting list, cannot face this again.

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redannie118 Tue 15-Aug-17 11:01:28

I have had both hands done and never experienced anything more than a dull ache in the palm and wrist(no finger pain/pins and needles at all) it did hurt like the very devil if you knocked the scar after-but thats all-and i didnt need any painkillers at all !! That doesnt sound normal op and i would get it checked out asap.

ClumsyCow Wed 16-Aug-17 09:56:39

thanks for your reply. yesterday was a better day in that i kept topped up with painkillers (my poor liver!) but once they start wearing off,boy can i tell! still getting that painful, tight contracting thing in palm and wrist, its very odd and fingers and thumb still swollen and pale. i was told that i should be able to make a fist by Friday, i tried this morning but the pain and stiffness prevent it so no chance of that happening. my hand feels like it has been plunged in nettles, stinging, tingling and burning

anyway, i am having stitches out on Friday so i will see what it looks like and if i need to contact anyone about it, my clinic apt is not till October.

wish i had not had it doneangry

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BumWad Wed 16-Aug-17 23:22:39

How are you getting on?

SunnySkiesSleepsintheMorning Wed 16-Aug-17 23:47:34

Is the bandage tight, I wonder? FWIW, I found it really painful initially for about a week and then the pain went away and I was so glad I had the op. They told me it wouldn't be painful, just "uncomfortable". Fuckers! It hurt like hell for a while but it cured the problem.

All that said, I do think you need someone to cast an eye on your hand.

ClumsyCow Thu 17-Aug-17 08:43:32

hi, i dont have a bandage on, just a plaster over the wound. my fingers are still swollen and pain the same really. i just expected some reduction in pain by now, its day 10 tomorrow and stitches out , which i am dreading, it is so painful to touch the hand! will dose up on painkilers before i go. i dont think there is infection, the plaster is still clean , although its been on a week, i darent look under it! i was told to leave it on and keep dry.

feels more like nerve pain to me, burning and stingin and weird muscle spasms. my thumb wont move properly, its very tight in the palm area. woke up today and my palm feels like its had acid rubbed over it.

thing is, i wouldnt know who to contact about it really, hospital apt is in October, GP maybe but its hard to get apointment and they would prob say i need to see hospital so will just have to wait, i guess

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Showandtell Thu 17-Aug-17 08:45:14

I had this surgery 30 years ago and don't remember it being at all painful. It sounds as though you have huge amounts of internal swelling which would be agonising.

ipswichwitch Thu 17-Aug-17 09:15:20

I've had both hands done and didn't get anything that bad. Quite a lot of swelling - my fingers looked like sausages! And if I knocked the scar that hurt like blazes.
I'd get it checked out - ring the ward and ask if someone can see it, or call whoever is due to take the stitches out. I had mine out on the first hand at 10 days and it opened up, so I had steri strips for about a week - was probably due to the swelling. The other hand had stitches in for 2 weeks and was fine.

CMOTDibbler Thu 17-Aug-17 12:06:00

I think (non medic, but have hand problems) that you should call the orthopaedic department (or whoever the hand surgeon who did your op belongs to, there should be a number to call on your surgery info leaflet) for some advice. That level of pain isn't normal, and you can get nerve pain problems where early intervention makes a big difference to your outcome.

ClumsyCow Fri 18-Aug-17 16:29:56

Thanks everyone for advice. I think today might be a turning point, i feel the pain is easing somewhat, was relatively ok this morning, when i woke up, the burning in my palm had gone, yeeeahh!

I went for stitches out today, nurse said they were tight and i now have steristrips on for 4 days. It is hurting now but i am hoping it settles down somewhat. I am still taking painkillers. No sign of infection and i think fingers arent as puffy, so thats good news. I have attatched pic of my hand before stitches removed, not for the squeamishgrin

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ipswichwitch Fri 18-Aug-17 18:46:56

Those stitches do look a bit tight. Mine weren't and I had 7 (looks like you have 4 there), so maybe that's got something to do with it. Looks clean though.

ClumsyCow Mon 21-Aug-17 10:40:00

ha, spoke too soon, the burning pain is back and the horrid cramping type pains, its been terrible all weekend, still living off co-codamol and thumb and first 2 fingers are stilll numb. i cannot do anything at all with my hand and even touching it sends the hideous pains off. cannot get in a comfortable position to sleep. also have a low level tingling in hand. i would have thought it would be a bit less painful by now, its 2 weeks tomorrow.

i have actually contacted the hospital this morning for some advice and they have arranged for me to go up this afternoon to be seen. thank god

hope they dont think that i am making a fuss about nothing, but these last 2 weeks have been truely horrendous. i have had 2 major abdo surgeries and this is far worse pain-wise

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ClumsyCow Mon 21-Aug-17 20:03:25

So, lovely surgeon saw me straight away. Thinks i have developed complex regional pain syndrome.

Had time for a quick google when i got home, wish i hadnt, kinda scared shitting myself right nowconfused

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CMOTDibbler Sun 27-Aug-17 13:35:22

Have they sent you for physio intervention for the CRPS? I have it (following a devastating hand injury), and early intervention and doing the recommended interventions religiously I think did help a lot.
I'd recommend NOT joining/looking at anything on the internet about CRPS as it can be really depressing and not what you need

ClumsyCow Mon 28-Aug-17 09:30:37

yes, i have physio tomorrow morning, not sure what to expect, or if I will have to go again or if it is just a one-off

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CMOTDibbler Mon 28-Aug-17 13:05:19

You really need to have ongoing physio to help you retrain your brain and nervous system back to normality. But you have to work hard at it too

LivingInMidnight Mon 28-Aug-17 22:27:40

I had surgery last year. I'm still a bit confused about it because I only had internal stitches (with 6 inches of suture coming out of my hand) and then steristrips over the wound, which I wasn't expecting and only found after removing the enormous bandage 48 hours after surgery. I also was in a lot of pain for the 2.5 weeks the stitches were in for, and then things slowly started getting better. My hand is still very clumsy and still hurts a bit. Was off work for 6 weeks. The surgeon had to remove the stitches. I'm still kicking myself that I didn't ask why I had them.

I felt like everyone else's surgery went loads better, so I'm just telling you this so you know it's not just you!

LivingInMidnight Mon 28-Aug-17 22:27:57

Oh and good luck with the physio!

user1499786242 Mon 28-Aug-17 22:39:22

Oh gosh OP
I am so sorry this is happening to you!
I had an operation 6 years ago that has left me with pain! (Different part of the body to you)
It's an awful experience to go through
I really hope the early prevention helps and you feel better soon?

Misspeach2 Fri 27-Oct-17 06:21:26

How are things going now you are futher along in your recovery? Much better I hope.confused
I just had my surgery this morning ( Aussie time) 27.10.17. Thanks for the warning about when the hospital drugs ware off. ( I was hoping it might not happen with this type of surgery iv had a fair taste of that post op OMG whats happening pain but have still been in hospital so they took care of it with the heavy duty drugs through my drip).
So from what iv read on other sites (googling way more than I should shock)) things progress differently for everyone. I just hope these damm anoying pins&needles rather have pain that I can control with medication than this horrible sensation.....this is why had the surgery I have feeling in my hand and stop being such a mess maker cause I drop everything.
Anyway fingers crossed if I could,,! haha You all better and I wil be soon.
Please share any tips if you do happen to see this.
Best wishes from down under.

Misspeach2 Fri 27-Oct-17 06:30:47

Oh goodness,
Hello everyone else.bear
I just realized there are more people posting.

Hope you are all doing well.

ClumsyCow Fri 27-Oct-17 11:30:05

Hi, thanks for bumping up this thread, I have kept meaning to come back and update it!

Anyway, wonderful news, I am improving, and the consultant and physios do not think it is CRPS anymore! smile Marvellous news.

BUT, I am now just over 11 weeks post-op and it has been and continues to be a very long, hard slog! I am still under physio and have loads of exercises and desensitisation exercises to do at home, its kinda taken over my life! Hand is still somewhat painful and swollen but pain is better than it was! The colour is better too and nails have started growing again, although the skin feels different to the other hand. I dont think the swelling has improved though. Physios told me it will probably take the better part of a year to be "normal".

I am able to use the hand now and this past couple of weeks have really come on, I am now cleaning my teeth with that hand and using it for most things, but not any heavy lifting or housework. I can carefully open certain doors and drawers with it too. I have to still wear a compression glove at night. Also my middle finger tendons are sticking too, probably with the swelling and when I wake up, the hand and fingers are very stiff. All around the scar is very hypersensitive, especially to air and water, feels like acid!

I am hopeful that it will continue to improve, but it has been a horrid time and I am not having the other hand done, I cannot risk it. I will just be happy to get this one right again! Most surgeries go fine but I must be the small minority that has problems.

MissPeach, hope you doing ok. My tips would be: make sure you keep topped up with regular painkillers and try to keep the hand mobile, try to wriggle fingers and make a fist ( I still cannot make a proper fist due to the swelling) regularly throughout the day, otherwise it becomes stiff. Once your wound has closed, massage it with cream and rub it over any texture you can find as much as you can, I am still doing this.

Anyway, hope this info helps other people in the same situation. I am actually having days now when I dont think about my hand too much and am starting to think ahead now, but I wont lie, it has been a nightmare for me.

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