Post-surgery thumb extensor tendon rehab. Post-surgery thumb extensor tendon rehab.

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Thread: Post-surgery thumb extensor tendon rehab.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Default Post-surgery thumb extensor tendon rehab.

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    My son (24 y/o, in otherwise good health) cut thru his left thumb extensor tendon at work and had the surgery to re-connect the parts a few days ago. The medical paperwork simply stated "Left Thumb Extensor Tendon". I gather there is more than one tendon in that area, but after the injury the primary movement axis affected was that he couldn't "thumbs-up" if that helps.

    Nearest related thread I could find on here was: extensor tendon, but it was almost a decade ago.

    Post-surgery recommendations are: 2 weeks in a rigid cast with no movement, that cast replaced by a longer-term model at the meeting with the rehab specialist, and then 12 sessions of rehab over 4 to 6 months at which time restrictions should be lifted.

    Any general recommendations he should be doing during the recovery period to try and make sure this heals properly? Might collagen supplements help?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Olympia, WA
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    2,201

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveJF View Post
    My son (24 y/o, in otherwise good health) cut thru his left thumb extensor tendon at work and had the surgery to re-connect the parts a few days ago. The medical paperwork simply stated "Left Thumb Extensor Tendon". I gather there is more than one tendon in that area, but after the injury the primary movement axis affected was that he couldn't "thumbs-up" if that helps.

    Nearest related thread I could find on here was: extensor tendon, but it was almost a decade ago.

    Post-surgery recommendations are: 2 weeks in a rigid cast with no movement, that cast replaced by a longer-term model at the meeting with the rehab specialist, and then 12 sessions of rehab over 4 to 6 months at which time restrictions should be lifted.

    Any general recommendations he should be doing during the recovery period to try and make sure this heals properly? Might collagen supplements help?

    Thanks.
    Hand tendons are extremely important. Listen to your hand surgeon on this one. Do exactly what they say. Hand rehab is much, much different and far more precarious than regular orthopaedic rehab. In the meantime, have him do anything in the gym he is cleared to do that doesn't involve violating the surgeon's post-operative recommendations. There is plenty of training one armed individuals are able to do, and there are some pretty remarkable videos out there of people who are status post amputation doing awesome stuff in the gym.

  3. #3
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    Jun 2013
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    Thanks Will!

  4. #4
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    Jun 2013
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    STL, MO
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    I went through that a couple years ago. The original repair failed and it had to be repaired a second time by grafting in a chunk of the palmaris longus tendon. My issue was excessive scar tissue forming and actually gluing it to the structure underneath. It sounds like his doctor is a little more progressive than mine who wanted it immobilized for a full 3 months. You don't want to mess up that repair as you only get a couple chances from what I understand (the second one being harvesting the palmaris tendon). The good thing is that gripping things aren't likely to break the extensor tendon once it's somewhat healed. Even an inadvertent flexion of the thumb during the early stages of healing can break the damn thing though, so they limit any activity that might cause that. My doc told me several stories of other patients that instinctively reached/grabbed at things and popped the tendon.

    Had I known I'd be unable to squat for over 6 months at the beginning I would have invested in a SSB so I could at least keep squatting. Deadlifting probably just has to wait a while.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Thanks Sam, that's all good to know. I believe he is to have it immobilized for about 3 months as well.

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