Nerve Injuries and Repairs
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The three main nerves of your upper limb (median, ulnar and radial) are responsible for carrying messages (or signals) between our brain and our hands. Nerves are responsible for allowing us to feel and touch objects and nerves provide power to our muscles to help us to move our hands/fingers.
Nerves can be injured in a number of ways, such as a crush injury or laceration to the finger or wrist. In most cases nerve injuries will require surgical repair to try to improve sensation and promote the return of muscle strength and movement.
If your nerve has undergone surgical repair, your rehabilitation plan may involve a splint to protect the repaired nerve. When appropriate, you may be given a home exercise programme, as well as advice relevant for wounds and scar care, and sensory re-education for the healing nerve.
It is important to note that after a nerve is damaged or repaired, it takes long time for it to transmit signals to the skin and muscles again. In the initial months post injury, it is normal to experience numbness and reduced movement in your affected hand.
As the nerve recovers, feeling and movement will slowly start to come back. Nerves regenerate at ~1 milimetre per day, which means that full recovery can take a number of months and sometimes years, and in some cases may never come back completely.
*BEFORE COMMENCING ANY OF THE FOLLOWING ADVICE OR EXERCISES, PLEASE DISCUSS WITH YOUR HAND THERAPIST TO CONFIRM IF IT IS APPROPRIATE FOR YOUR INJURY/OPERATION*
Handouts for Peripheral nerve repair in the hand and arm: