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Wrist arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to investigate problems in the wrist. Surgeons use wrist arthroscopy to look inside the joints to examine, diagnose and treat a variety of conditions that affect function in and around the wrist. Arthroscopy for the wrist is used for problems such as:
  • Arthritis
  • Acute or chronic injury
  • Damaged tissues e.g. ligaments
  • Damaged cartilage
  • Pain
  • Joint weakness
  • Inflammation
  • Bone problems
Wrist arthroscopy is often used in the assessment, diagnosis and management of wrist pain, removal of loose bodies, capsular release and in the repair of ligament tears. Arthroscopy can also be referred to as keyhole surgery and is appropriate in most cases as the procedure is considerably more accurate than other assessment options such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, computer tomography (CT) scans and physical examinations alone.

Wrist arthroscopy will take place under general anaesthesia. During wrist arthroscopy surgery, the arthroscope is inserted into the wrist joint through a small incision (about 5mm long) in the wrist. The arthroscope is a narrow, pencil sized, fibre optic tube with a light source. A small camera is fixed to the end of the arthroscope which magnifies and transmits pictures of the small structures within the joint back to a TV monitor. Incisions can be made in several places to allow the camera to transmit images from various positions for accurate diagnosis. A variety of small instruments can be attached to the end of the arthroscope to help diagnose as well as treat the problem. In most cases, fluid is infused into the joint to provide more space and allow better visualisation of the wrist during the procedure. After the procedure, the small incisions made are closed using stitches or sutures.

Wrist arthroscopy surgery is essential to provide appropriate knowledge of the wrist problem as well as allowing significant relief of symptoms such as pain and reduced function in the wrist. Also, arthroscopy has a fast recovery time afterwards.

Physiotherapy after wrist arthroscopy is required to maximise the success of the procedure, prevent the likelihood of further problems and to provide the fast recovery of strength and function in your wrist and hand.


Physiotherapy prior to wrist arthroscopy



Before undergoing wrist arthroscopy surgery Physio.co.uk offers a programme that aims to better prepare your wrist for the procedure. The programme involves exercises to help strengthen the muscles of your forearm, wrist and hand as well as improving range of movement. Preparing your wrist will maximise the success of the procedure whilst also helping to speed up your recovery post surgery.


Symptoms after wrist arthroscopy



Once you have undergone your arthroscopic wrist surgery you will initially experience numbness until the anaesthesia wears off after which you will feel slight pain and discomfort in your affected wrist and hand. The amount of pain will depend on the procedure that took place and can be controlled using pain killers. As a result of the fluid that is infused into the joint during the surgery, you will experience considerable swelling which may take over a month to settle. You will be advised to keep your wrist elevated when possible and you’ll be provided with a sling to wear out and about as protection. You may also be provided with a wrist splint to wear at night and as required during the day. Arthroscopic procedures are carried out mainly as a day case procedure and providing there are no complications then it is likely you will be discharged as soon as you’re ready. Physiotherapy will start as soon as possible after the operation. Additionally you will be unable to drive until you have full and painless function in your wrist and hand.


Physiotherapy after wrist arthroscopy



Immediately after your wrist arthroscopy surgery, physiotherapy treatment with Physio.co.uk will focus on reducing pain and swelling in your wrist and hand. Rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) are promoted to control the pain and swelling experienced in early stages of recovery post surgery. Your physiotherapy at this stage will further aim to reduce stiffness, improve the range of movement in your wrist and hand and get it fully mobilised as soon as possible.

Although pain is minimal after wrist arthroscopy surgery, your hand and wrist will be weak, function will be difficult and full recovery may take up to several weeks. Physio.co.uk offers a personal physiotherapy programme that aims to improve strength, range of movement, cardiovascular fitness and function in your wrist, hand, affected and non affected arms. Physio.co.uk will also include activities that are specific to your job, hobby or sport. The type of programme that is provided depends on the initial condition of your wrist and recovery can take between 2 and 8 weeks.

Physiotherapy following wrist arthroscopy includes:
  • Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (RICE)
  • Full / active range of movement exercises for wrist, finger and thumb joints
  • Stretching exercises for muscles of forearm, wrist and hand
  • Progressive isometric (hold) strengthening exercises for muscles of forearm, wrist and hand
  • Progressive isotonic (through range) strengthening exercises for muscles of forearm, wrist and hand
  • Mobilisation exercises
  • Manual therapy
  • Wax therapy
  • Hand grip and pinch activities (putty / sponge)
  • Exercises for unaffected upper limb
In the latter stages of your rehabilitation, physiotherapy with Physio.co.uk will include:
  • Static arm cycle
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Job, hobby and sport specific activities
  • Emphasis on home exercise programme
Success of your recovery and rehabilitation depends on the condition of your wrist and hand prior to the wrist arthroscopy surgery as well as your commitment to the physiotherapy programme provided by Physio.co.uk.


Summary



Wrist arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery that is required to examine, diagnose of treat a number of wrist problems that you may be suffering. Wrist arthroscopy surgery is essential to provide appropriate knowledge of the wrist problem as well as allowing significant relief of symptoms such as pain, stiffness and reduced function in the wrist. Physiotherapy with Physio.co.uk is recommended post wrist arthroscopy to ensure the success of the surgery, decrease the likelihood of any future problems, and help you achieve the return of full or near to full function in your wrist as soon as possible. Physio.co.uk provides a personal physiotherapy programme that will get your back to doing what you love the most whether it is your job, hobby or sport. Call Physio.co.uk now on 0330 088 7800 for more information or to book an appointment please contact us.


Call us on: 0330 088 7800
Phone: 0330 088 7800
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Mobile: 0330 088 7800
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