Two weeks ago, I had surgery to repair a torn tendon on the back of my hand. I've been given a home program of exercises by the hand therapist. But I work nights and I'm just too tired most days to do them. My hand seems to be coming along okay. Do I really need to keep doing these?
You may need to consult with both the hand therapist and your surgeon. It's possible the hand therapist can give you a modified program that is easy enough and simple enough to do quickly but still get the desired results. Perhaps this is something you can even do during your breaks at work.
Talking with the surgeon may help you identify the specific purpose and usefulness of the exercises. In many cases, movement is needed to keep the tendons from getting all bound down by scar tissue, adhesions, and fibrous attachments. For smooth motion and function, it really is necessary to have the tendons slide and glide smoothly through the tendon sheath that wraps around the outside of the tendon.
When a patient is able to complete an exercise program, it is referred to as patient compliance. Noncompliance can compromise your final outcome. Studies show that practice does indeed make perfect -- well, at least doing the exercises regularly improves your ability to do them correctly and thereby gain the value they add to your recovery.
Eelkje Talsma, MSc, et al. The Effect of Mobilization on Repaired Extensor Tendon Injuries of the Hand: A Systematic Review. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. December 2008. Vol. 89. No. 12. Pp. 2366-2372.
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