Wrist fractures and other types of injuries sometimes result in surgery. Because upper extremities are such a crucial part of many daily activities, a speedy recovery process is important for getting back to normal life. Knowing what to expect during the recovery process can help you plan for the weeks and months to come.
What to Expect During Wrist Surgery Recovery
Wrist surgery recovery varies from individual to individual and depends on the type of injury, but in general, the recovery timeline includes:
Week one - The first week after surgery you will have a bandage or dressing that should be kept clean and dry. Your doctor will instruct you on proper care and cleaning of the surgical site. You might also have a splint to keep your wrist immobilized. Pain medication is often prescribed for the first few days after surgery to help alleviate any discomfort you will have. Swelling is also an issue immediately after surgery so keep your arm elevated and talk to your doctor about the possibility of cold therapy.
Week two - After a couple weeks you should have a follow-up appointment with your doctor to remove any sutures and check the progress of your recovery. At this time you may receive a removable brace or a cast depending on the complexity of the surgery.
First eight weeks - After the initial two weeks immediately following surgery, you will work with a physical therapist to learn exercises that will help increase range of motion, build strength, improve flexibility, and reduce scarring. If the healing process is going well, your physical therapist will introduce more aggressive therapeutic exercises. In general, you can expect to be able to do most low-impact daily activities in about six weeks.
Week twelve - Depending on the surgery, most people return to normal activity after about three months. You may continue to see improvements in strength and range of motion for up to a year after wrist surgery.
Although the recovery process always takes time, there are a few steps you can take to help accelerate healing. Getting ample rest, stabilizing the affected joint, and using cold and compression therapy will help you recover more quickly.
The Game Ready cold and compression therapy system is designed to deliver deep, consistent cold to the entire wrist area. Our specialized Hand/Wrist Wrap covers more surface area than an ice pack while keeping your hand and wrist in a comfortable position. If you are planning to have wrist surgery, talk to your doctor about how cold and compression therapy can help you recover more quickly or find a provider near you.
What steps do you plan to take for wrist surgery recovery?