Recovery after Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery

Carpal Tunnel Release surgery recovery time varies from person to person, as everyone responds to surgery differently. It’s important to rest and take it easy at first, but moving your fingers, hand and wrist as soon as possible will help you recover more quickly.

If you need pain relief during your recovery, painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen or as prescribed. 

One or two days after surgery. The cut on your hand may feel a bit sore. When you’re not using your hand, try and keep it elevated at all times. Try to get your fingers moving and use your hand for light tasks such as holding your glass or a book. You could even try using a computer keyboard, though only gently.

3 to 14 days after surgery : You can now remove the bandage, but you’ll still need to keep the wound dry until the stitches have been taken out. Try building up to activities like brushing your teeth or your hair. Keep doing this while your hand heals. If you’re feeling pain during movement, stop for a while in case you’re doing too much too soon. You need to build up gradually, so use pain as a guide for what you can and can’t do.

From two weeks after surgery : Your stitches will be removed around 10 to 14 days after your operation. You will now be able to get your wound wet, which will make it easier for you to have a bath or shower.

When your stitches are removed, you may notice your scar is:

1. firm

2. tender

3. lumpy

4. pink

It’s normal for your scar to feel tender after the operation, but this usually settles down within a few months. Massaging your scar and the area around it with a simple mositurising cream can help to make it feel less tender. Your scar should begin to look better after around three months.

You may find your grip is weaker than it was before your surgery. So bear in mind that gripping too hard may be painful at first – avoid doing this when you can. Your grip should return to normal between six and 12 weeks after your operation.

You may be able to return to light work after around 12 days, and your full working activities after around 21 days. But obviously this will depend on how quickly you recover from the surgery, and what your job involves.


After carpal tunnel release surgery, there’s no right or wrong time to return to driving. But you should check with your insurance company because some insurers won’t cover you for a number of weeks after surgery.

Before you drive, you should:

1. have fully recovered from the local anaesthetic

2. make sure any pain or discomfort isn’t affecting your concentration or movement

3. make sure any painkillers you’re taking aren’t making you feel tired and drowsy.

4. make sure you can move your hand and wrist well enough to drive safely

Check that you can:

1. sit in the driving seat in a comfortable position

2. grip and control the steering wheel properly

3. perform an emergency stop

When you feel comfortable to start driving again, begin with a short journey. Perhaps try driving to the local shops with a friend or family member.

Returning to work

After your surgery, you may need to take time off from work to recover. Everyone recovers at a different speed, so discuss with Mr.Roy as to how and when you should expect go back to work. Many people find they’re ready to go back to work after around 12 days, but you might feel ready to return to work sooner. This will depend on what type of job you do and how long it takes you to recover from the surgery. Most people are able to go back to their full job after around 21 days. It’s important to be guided by how you feel.

When you return to work, you may need to take things easy at first. For example, you may have to avoid anything that puts too much strain on your hands, such as prolonged typing, using a telephone or lifting heavy items.

Recovery after Carpal Tunnel Release surgery 1
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