After Care

Once you’ve completed your treatment, therapy or surgery, it’s essential to follow certain care and hygiene procedures so that you can heal fully and quickly. A brief summary of these procedures is spelled out below for your convenience. As always, however, follow your physician’s orders.

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Prescription Refills

Prescription refill requests are welcome by phone between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Exceptions apply to some narcotic prescriptions that cannot be refilled over the telephone. Please be aware of how many pain pills you have left so that you can call your doctor during the hours listed above. Prescription refill requests during evening and weekend hours will not be filled.

Injections
Everyone reacts differently following an injection. Some patients feel some minor discomfort, while others experience an increase in pain for the first 48 hours. This is normal. Applying ice to the area, elevating the arm and taking over-the-counter pain relief medication will help ease this discomfort. It can take up to three weeks before you experience the full benefit of the injection. If you develop increasing redness, swelling or pain, or have other concerns, contact Hand Surgery Ltd. immediately.

Cast Care
While wearing a cast, we ask that you make every effort to keep it dry while bathing, swimming or washing dishes. A hard permanent cast is usually changed every two to three weeks. Frequent cast changes can harm a fracture and may increase your expenses. Although it may be tempting, avoid poking sharp objects into the cast to alleviate an itch. This can injure your skin and cause further complications.

Cast Information (PDF)
Cast Information – Español (PDF)

Splint Care
If you have any areas of pressure from your splint, make an appointment with the therapy department to have it adjusted. Be sure to move joints not included in the splint, or they may get stiff. This includes your shoulder: raise your arm overhead, reach across your body and reach behind your lower back. It’s also important to care for your splint:

  • Orthoses – This is a removable custom-fabricated splint. It’s molded from low-temperature plastic material, so it’ll melt in warm water or near a heat source. To clean your splint, gently wipe it down on the inside with rubbing alcohol or mild soap. Do not put it in the washing machine, dryer or dishwasher. 
     
  • Delta Cast – This cast is made of a special material that’s durable yet flexible, so you can remove it yourself. If the physician allows you to remove yours, you can clean it in the washing machine on a gentle, cool water cycle. Allow it to air dry, or tumble dry it on the lowest setting.
     
  • OTC Adjustable Splint – This type of splint is purchased over the counter. It can be fitted for size using adjustable straps. It should be laundered or hand washed in mild detergent, and air-dried. You’ll find more detailed care instructions in the splint packaging.
     
  • Stockinette – This is a cloth liner which is worn to provide protection between the splint and your skin. You’ll be provided with three stockinettes; if you need more, please talk to the therapy department. To clean your stockinettes, wash them in warm, soapy water and let them air dry.

Suture Care
It’s essential to keep your stitches clean, dry and covered with the dressing your doctor recommends until they’re removed. Stitches are usually removed seven to fourteen days after surgery. Your doctor will let you know when he wants you to come in for removal.

Pin Care
Pins are implanted during a surgical procedure to hold a tendon, ligament or bone in place while it heals. Pins can be located underneath the skin or exposed above the skin. An exposed pin should to be kept clean and dry. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions on caring for your pin. Notify Hand Surgery Ltd. immediately if a pin that was buried under the skin becomes newly visible, or if you experience any drainage or redness around a pin.

Infection
The risk of infection following surgery is less than one percent. Nonetheless, we take infection very seriously. Please call Hand Surgery Ltd. immediately if you suspect you have an infection. Signs of infection include sudden swelling or drainage, tight, shiny skin, red streaking and fever.

Medical Records and X-Rays
We’re glad to accommodate your request for a copy of your medical records. Simply download and print the medical records release form below, sign it and submit it to Hand Surgery Ltd. Please allow 7-14 days for a mailed copy. We’re not able to release original digital X-rays, but we can print paper copies or transfer images to a compact disc for a fee.

Medical Records Release Form (PDF)