Left Hand Knuckle Replacement

Hello everyone,

I thought I would drop in and let you know that on Monday, 7th July 2016, I had the knuckles replaced on my left hand.

I was awake for the duration of the operation which took 2 hours 20 minutes. Normally it takes 90 minutes and as a consequence of the length of time taken, the tourniquet on my arm became more and more painful. The pressure on it was released slightly just before the implants were inserted so I was able to bear the last part of the operation .....just, with silent tears filling my ears! :cry:

I am now in plaster and will have this removed this Thursday on 14th July. Then I will have a splint made for me which, I understand, I will have to wear for a further four weeks.

My pain control is good and I'm taking oral morphine in liquid form along with paracetamol and naproxen.

As I can only use my left hand to feed myself, due to my right elbow being fused, I am suffering the frustration of having to be fed, my teeth cleaned, hair brushed, nose wiped etc, etc. My first morning at home from hospital I did burst into angry, frustrated tears only to realise, mid-flow, that I was unable to dry my soggy face! (That will teach me to be a drama queen!) Mr Legs is also reaching the end of his tether and we both are looking forward to Thursday. :D

Anyway, this is for those who may be faced with the same operation sometime in the future.

Love, Legs x

31 Replies

  • I hope you feel better soon. How long were you in hospital?

  • Thank you Cathy, I've just got over a bad reaction to the morphine! Shan't take that again in a hurry! I was in hospital for one night to keep my arm elevated ....that was a shock because I thought I was going straight home after the surgery! Ha-ha!

    Love, Legs x

  • Hope things get better soon, reading this is quite sobering for me. Feeling sorry for myself as my steroid injection is wearing off, but your problems put mine into perspective. Keep your chin up ( while its wiped) I truly wish you well soon xxx

  • Thank you Cagsie, just eaten cheese crackers just using my mouth with my plate resting on a raised wire stand! Where there's a will .....etc .....or a hungry woman!

    Sorry you jab is wearing off though they are marvellous while they last.

    Love, Legs x

  • I wish you a speedy recovery

  • Thank you Junebee I already feel much brighter, though good wishes always help!

    Love, Legs x

  • Hi Linda , why they fuse your elbow? A was no other solution? This is very worrying, do you use biologic or any other medicine for your RA prior your operation or you never use anything? good luck and feel better

    Thanks Aurelia

  • Hello Aurelia, my right elbow fused itself 30 years ago as my RA is very aggressive it happened very quickly! I've used whatever meds they've offered and at the moment I'm on Enbrel (biologic) and it's the best thing I've ever taken!

    And thanks I do feel much better today.

    Love, Legs x

  • The indignity of having a rant and a good cry then having to say Please could you wipe my tears.!!! But it is done Linda Legs, OK not good for a few weeks but after that you will surely feel an improvement.

    I wish you a speedy recovery,


  • Thank you Smithfield. I feel much better as tomorrow approaches and the prospect of losing the plaster and swapping to a splint is firmly on the horizon. The plastercast seems so heavy and aggravates the only elbow I have left! Let's hope it goes in the morning.

    Love, Legs x

  • Hope so too.

    We really appreciate how much we use our joints when they are out of action.

    Hoping the splint is a bit easier and I guess it will not be so hot and sticky as a plaster.


  • Hi Lindalegs,

    I know how you feel, I have had the metacarpal joints replaced on both hands. Its the silly little things that are the most frustrating, like not being able to brush your teeth or wash your underarm!!

    I wish you a very speedy recovery.

  • Thank you NanaFifi ......I'm NannaLegs! Tell me about it ...at least I can wipe my own bottom! Ha-ha

    Love, Legs x

  • Hope you get through this, and the results are good. Don't blame you for having a weep, you've gone through a lot, sounds as if you've been pretty amazing!! Good luck, hope you get better as soon as possible. M xx

  • Thank you M ......nothing to do with 007 are you? It'll all be worth it in the end I'm sure.

    Love, Legs x

  • Unfortunately no.....Mavis x

  • Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I'm sure it's also a pain to be typing with just one hand! I hope that the recovery goes smoothly for you. Let us know what it's like to live with a knuckle-replaced hand once you've had a chance to test it out! :) Gentle hugs to you. Enjoy the assistance while you've got it and consider yourself a pampered queen rather than unable! :)

  • You're welcome Karen. I am typing one handed but I've put 'sticky keys' on for capitals etc. I've also discovered 'Siri' on my phone which allows me to dictate my text. I love technology!

    I thought I'd put up this thread to help others so will give a progress report.

    Love, Queen Legs x

  • That's great! I use Dragon Naturally Speaking on my computer when my fingers/wrists are sore but I'm not a pro and still find it to be too frustrating to use all the time. You are a trooper! :) *hugs*

  • Thanks ......how do you get emoticons on here? x

  • Old fashioned way, typing : and ) together to get :) Cheers!

  • :) doesn't look like it worked for me .... unless it happens when I press 'submit' Here goes ...

  • :) :)

  • Hi LindaLegs,

    Just bear with it temporary, I believe you will be better after a few more weeks.

  • Yes, Amy_Lee, thank you, I know I will, anything's better than they were before!

    Love, Legs x

  • Having recently had two knees replaced I'd say to take things easy. I've been impatient but found that doing things gradually is best. And get plenty of healing rest! Think summer afternoon siestas.

  • Oh Cathie I do wish you well and thank you. I had both my knees done at the same time in 2000 and then my right one redone in 2011 .....I'd worn it out! I do know what you're going through. I love my knees so I'm sure I'll love my new hand when I see it!

    Love, Legs x

  • That's kind of you. I hope your hand improves too. And the pain leaves you.

  • Ditto x

  • I had my knuckles replaced in my right hand a few years ago. Luckily i was not awake at the time and insisted being put out. I now have silastic joints and really need the other hand done. The physio was worse than the operation itself. You were very brave to stay awake, did you not hear or see anything ?

  • Yes, CloudTree I could hear the drills and hammers but it just sounded like Mr Legs doing his DIY in the other room as I couldn't feel my hand! Ha-ha. I had to be awake because the RA in my neck doesn't allow me to be intubated. I asked for, and got lots of sedation ...I think the tourniquet pain kept waking me up from dozing.

    Your arm is screened off by green sheeting so you see nothing ...though my surgeon dropped the screen at the end to show me his 'handiwork'! Being awake is good and I would opt for it now anyway even if I had a choice :)

    Love, Legs x

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