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How long does it take to be on sick leave after a rhizarthrosis operation?

Osteoarthritis of the thumb saddle joint is particularly common in older women. Whether an operation is necessary for a rhizarthrosis (thumb arthrosis) depends on the stage of the osteoarthritis and the circumstances of the person concerned: How severely are fine motor skills, flexibility, stability and strength in the hand (or both hands) restricted? How stressful is the pain? And is the patient still able to work or cope with everyday life?

The operation itself - be it a joint plastic surgery or an operation according to Epping - does not bring a quick, but a sustainable solution. The most common surgical method is the Epping plastic. Here the trapezoidal bone is removed and the stability of the thumb strip is achieved with a tendon beam. There are now studies that show that removing the trapezoidal bone (trapezectomy) delivers equally good results, but is a less laborious operation.

Four months and longer it may take a while before a heavier load becomes possible again. Carrying or turning work, involuntary support or constant use of a PC keyboard overwhelms the affected hand.

The sick leave must be adapted to these conditions - patience is required from employer and employee, depending on how intensively the patient has to use his hands professionally. The thumb saddle joint is one of the joints that are constantly stressed with almost every "movement". Accordingly, you may be unable to work for a long time.

In the vast majority of cases of rhizarthrosis, it comes to a standstill long before the patient can no longer use their hands. Surgical intervention is recommended in around a quarter of all cases because conservative measures are not enough.

Usually osteoarthritis symptoms can be relieved with this

  • Ointments that have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects
  • Medication
  • Cortisone injections into the joint
  • Hot or cold applications depending on the acute condition of the osteoarthritis
  • Immobilization, possibly with the help of a splint

When the complex structures of the hand with their many joints and joint capsules, ligaments, tendons and bones are interfered with, the healing process takes a long time. Accidents that damage this system require a lot of patience. The situation is similar after operations, for example the Epping plastic or trapezectomy, with the help of which osteoarthritis-damaged thumb joints are made mobile and stable again.

After thumb osteoarthritis surgery

On the first day after the operation, a dressing is changed and the drainage removed. Immediately after the procedure, the thumb is attached to the wrist five weeks long immobilized with a special splint. At the same time, the patient must begin finger exercises (stretching, stretching, fist formation) from the first day in order to maintain blood circulation, muscles and general mobility. After 12 to 14 days, the sutures are pulled.

After about five weeks, the patient can do without the splint and receives physiotherapy treatment and lymphatic drainage. Until the resilience of the thumb saddle joint is fully restored, the patient must four to six months take into account. How long the patient is on sick leave in his job depends on the type of activity performed. Most of the patients are very satisfied with the result of the operation.