How to Reduce Swelling in Hands After Surgery

Georgia Hand, Shoulder, and Elbow

Swelling is a normal occurrence after hand surgery and helps with recovery. However, swelling is something that needs to be controlled. This article looks at how swelling can be reduced following hand surgery. We will also look into the causes and symptoms of the swelling.

At Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow, our orthopedic surgeons are providing expert treatment for patients recovering from hand surgery. Feel free to get in contact with us at our location in Marietta or Atlanta, Georgia today!

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What Are the Causes of Swelling in the Hand After Surgery?

Swelling is the body’s natural reaction to trauma, including that caused by surgery. It is part of the normal healing process. The fluid in swelling contains cells that prevent infection and help wounds to heal.

Symptoms of Swelling in the Hand

Swelling in the hand can usually be identified by the following symptoms:

  • Differences in size compared to the non-operated arm or hand
  • Your finger leaves a dented imprint after pushing on the area
  • Pain
  • Decreased mobility
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Redness
  • Shiny skin
  • Decreased wrinkling on hand and fingers

How Long Should Swelling Last After Hand Surgery?

Swelling will usually last for about one week after hand surgery.

How to Reduce Swelling After Hand Surgery

You can reduce hand swelling after surgery by doing the following:

Take Pain Medication

You may be given a prescribed pain medication after surgery. Take care to use it only as needed and stop taking it as soon as you are tolerating the pain better. In addition to a pain medication, you may also take an anti-inflammatory medicine such as naproxen or ibuprofen which can help reduce swelling and alleviate pain. 

Get Some Rest

You will need to take it easy after hand surgery. Anything that elevates your heart rate can increase blood pressure, which leads to increased swelling and discomfort.

Elevate Your Hand

Try to keep your hand elevated above your heart for as much as possible. You should do this for several days after surgery. One way of doing this comfortably is to lie down with our arm resting on some pillows.

Use Ice

An ice pack can be used to bring down swelling and inflammation. You will also experience some pain relief. To benefit from an ice pack, wrap it in a towel so the ice doesn’t make direct contact with the skin. You should also keep the post-operative dressing dry.

Move Your Fingers

Your ability to move your fingers will largely depend on your injury and the type of surgery that you had. Be sure to ask your surgeon if you’re allowed to move your fingers after surgery. Finger movement helps to increase blood flow and drainage, and will thereby minimize swelling.

Common Hand Surgeries

At Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow, our orthopedic surgeons can perform a variety of surgical treatments for hand and wrist conditions. Some of the treatments we offer include the following:

Things You Should Know About Hand Surgeons

If you have a hand or wrist condition that is causing you pain or discomfort, you may be referred to a hand surgeon. If that is the case or you are considering visiting a hand surgeon, keep the following in mind:

A Hand Surgeon Offers More Than Just Surgery

Our hand surgeons at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow offer conservative treatments to treat hand and wrist conditions when possible. Your hand surgeon will choose the best treatment for your symptoms.

Don’t Put Off Getting Treated

Any pain or symptoms that last more than 3 to 4 weeks should be seen by a doctor. If you delay getting treatment, the condition could get worse. Early diagnosis and treatment can help you return to your favorite activities sooner.

Continue with Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is an important part of the recovery process. Following the post-operative instructions regarding home exercises will give you the best chance of keeping the recovery period to a minimum.

Get Proper Wound Care

You will need to keep any wound dressings clean and dry. You can cover your wound dressing with a plastic bag while you shower to achieve this. If you do need to change a dressing that has got wet or dirty, pay a visit to the doctor’s office for a new dressing.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you are looking for a hand surgeon in or around Marietta or Atlanta, Georgia, call Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow. Our hand surgeons are skilled at both conservative and surgical procedures to treat many conditions that affect the hand and wrist. Schedule your appointment today!

Medically reviewed by

Randall Alexander, MD

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Plastic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon