Pain and Tenderness after Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Paresthesias and scar tenderness are common in the subacute recovery phase following carpal tunnel release. A flare or aggravation of symptoms is common in the period of two to six weeks after surgery. Several different situations may contribute, including the following, listed roughly in most-to-least common: Clearly, treatment must be individualized, but a good start is to reassure the patient that most problems in this situation are temporary, and to continue to educate the patient about the nature of carpal tunnel syndrome. Nerve gliding exercises and patient self-help oriented desensitization exercises are appropriate for most patients. Burning pain, worsening pain, avoidance, even without objective signs of reflex sympathetic dystropy may be helped with a supervised stress loading program. Questions regarding worsening complaints of numbness, pain, stiffness or swelling should be discussed with the surgeon at the earliest opportunity.

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