Top of the page
Carpal tunnel reduces the pressure on a nerve in the wrist. Your doctor cut a ligament that presses on the nerve. This lets the nerve pass freely through the tunnel without being squeezed.
Your hand will hurt and may feel weak with some numbness. This usually goes away in a few days, but it may take several months. Your doctor may remove the large bandage, or the doctor will tell you when and how to remove it yourself. In some cases, you may have a splint. If you have one, you will wear it for about 2 weeks.
Your doctor will take out your stitches in 1 to 2 weeks. Your hand and wrist may feel worse than they used to feel. But the pain should start to go away. It usually takes 3 to 4 months to recover and up to 1 year before hand strength returns. How much strength returns will vary.
The timing of your return to work depends on the type of surgery you had, whether the surgery was on your dominant hand (the hand you use most), and your work activities.
If you had open surgery on your dominant hand and you do repeated actions at work, you may be able to go back to work in 6 to 8 weeks. Repeated motions include typing or assembly-line work. If the surgery was on the other hand and you don't do repeated actions at work, you may be able to return to work in 7 to 14 days.
If you had endoscopic surgery, you may be able to go back to work sooner than with open surgery.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter N388 in the search box to learn more about "Carpal Tunnel Release: What to Expect at Home".
Current as of: November 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
©2006-2023 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.