This is the sixth week since I had hand surgery and it’s a transitional week in my rehab process.
For the first six weeks I’ve been using a working splint, also called an outrigger, on my operative arm.
In nautical terms, an outrigger is a part of a boat’s rigging which is rigid and extends beyond the side or gunwale of a boat and is used to stabilize the main hull. Like its nautical counterpart, my outrigger splint was a rigid rigging that extended above my forearm and was used to support my MCP joints. It consisted of a custom made splint that was molded to the shape of my hand and forearm. The outrigger contraption was attached on top of the splint. It had a rigid metal frame that ran parallel to the row of my MCP joints. Four lines that resembled fishing lines ran through this frame – one line for each finger (the thumb was excluded). The short end of each line is connected to a small loop of suede into which I’d insert each finger. The long end of each line was attached to a spring which was in turn attached with velcro to the splint body. I haven’t decided whether it looked more like a bionic arm or a Borg implant.
In the resting position, the lines kept my fingers in an extended position. This helped to attain the position I eventually want my fingers to attain as a result of the surgery.
In nautical terminology we have words like port and starboard. In medical terminology we have words like flexion and extension. Flexion refers to the movement made by bending the fingers down as if making a fist (joint angle decreases). Extension refers to the movement by extending the fingers to the open hand position (joint angle increases). One position is useful if one has to greet a friend, the other if one has to punch an enemy. Two important life skills to have.
The exercises I did for the first six weeks were to flex my hand against the tension in the strings as they expanded, then let the springs as they compressed pull my fingers back into the extended position.
At six weeks I am no longer using the outrigger and I’ve handed it in (pun just slipped out there). I still have a resting splint (night splint) that I’m using but I’ll be tapering off its use. I have a new set of hand exercises to do for which I don’t use a splint. I’m on a new leg (that slipped out too) of this healing journey.
- Doctor’s Orders (orestn.wordpress.com)
- Chain of Events (orestn.wordpress.com)
- Casting a Fracture (doomandbloom.net)
- Septorhinoplasty Day 15 – SPLINTS REMOVAL DAY (littlepandaboy.wordpress.com)