Recovering From Hand Surgery

Recovering From Hand Surgery

Having problems with your hands can make it difficult or impossible to perform the smallest tasks. Fortunately, hand surgery can often repair and restore function to your hands.

There are numerous techniques and procedures that can treat a long list of hand conditions and injuries, ranging from joint and nerve damage to infection and fractures. While each hand surgery addresses different issues and comes with different healing times, there are aspects of the recovery process that they all share.

Dr. Edward R. Dupay, Jr., at Orthopedic Associates of Southwest Florida, leads our team of specialists in comprehensive and cutting-edge orthopedic care. If you have a hand condition, he can provide personalized recommendations on the best treatments and what to expect afterward.

In most cases, you can expect the following while recovering from hand surgery.


First, it’s important to note that it’s normal to have mild to severe pain after having hand surgery. After all, it IS surgery, and even minimally invasive procedures and arthroscopic techniques require a small incision.

While pain is normal, everyone’s experience is different. Rest easy knowing that we take the proper steps to keep you as comfortable as possible, and you should expect your discomfort to fade within a few days of your procedure.

To help manage your postoperative pain, we recommend taking your medication as directed by our surgical team. It’s also crucial to be proactive with your pain control instead of waiting for discomfort to arise before taking your medication. 


Swelling is also common after undergoing hand surgery, so our surgical team usually recommends nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for use after your procedure. 

In addition to medication, you can also reduce your chances of excessive swelling by keeping your hand elevated as much as possible after surgery. Sometimes, we also suggest using ice or a cold compress, but we provide this recommendation on a case-by-case basis.


You will likely have some sort of dressing or bandage applied to your hand, wrist, or forearm after undergoing surgery. However, you could also need an additional form of rigid protection while you heal, like a brace, splint, or cast.

Braces or splints

Braces — sometimes referred to as splints — come in multiple forms, either prefabricated or customized to your body. They cover part of the surgical site, which leaves room for swelling. Braces are also removable, allowing you to shower, air out your wound, and move the hand as directed in your postoperative plan.

Sometimes, you have a splint for a short period following your surgery and then switch to a full cast.


A cast forms a hard, hollow tube around the repair site, like your hand, wrist, or forearm. This rigid form of bracing could be replaced while you recover if you have swelling or you need wound care, X-rays, or suture removal.

Physical therapy after hand surgery

When you have hand surgery, you should expect some restrictions on activities and work. However, you still need physical therapy to optimize your recovery.

Depending on your hand condition and type of surgery, your physical therapy program could include:

This aspect of your recovery is often crucial to regaining optimal hand function after surgery. Therefore, it’s vital to follow your personalized physical therapy program to ensure the best results.

To learn more about hand surgery and the recovery process, contact Orthopedic Associates of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers, Florida, by calling 239-768-2272 today.

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