Thursday, January 14, 2010

Casts Removed after Trigger Thumb Surgery

If you have not been following the progress on my daughter's trigger thumb surgery, you may want to read previous posts. Onward.

The last three weeks with my daughter in casts were not as bad as I had anticipated. I was busier taking care of her than I was before, but my daughter adjusted quite well to her limited fine motor skills. She colored and played with her toys as she normally would, making adjustments where necessary. She really missed playing with her Play-Doh. That was one thing we couldn't do with the casts. She tried to do things on her own first before asking for help and rarely got frustrated with it. I think she enjoyed the attention, but she must have started to get tired of it, because by the end of week 2, she was ready to get her casts off.

Yesterday after three weeks in casts, we went to the doctor to have my daughter's casts removed. I suppose I was naive enough to assume that once the casts were off, the whole trigger thumb ordeal would be all over. I assumed this because no one told me different. But when the casts came off and I looked at her thumbs, I could see that it wasn't over. For one, the yuck factor. My daughter and I both winced in disgust at her stitches at the base of her thumbs. Also, my daughter was naturally quite excited to use her thumbs and found that upon moving them, they hurt.

Well, her thumbs hurt because they haven't been used for three weeks and they are still adjusting from surgery. The physician's assistant told us that it might take up to a month (Gasp!) for my daughter to start using her thumbs normally again, adding that if it took longer than that, she would need physical therapy. But he assured me that the need for therapy is rare. He advised us to encourage her to play in the tub or swim and do other things that would help her keep her mind off of her thumbs so that she will start to use as usual.

A day later, my daughter still isn't bending her thumbs, but she told me it is because she can feeling the the ends of the stitches poke her. So, hopefully when the stitches dissolve that will help her feel more comfortable.  (update: the ends of the stitches that stick out can be clipped with nail clippers.)

I must say it is crazy to look at her thumbs now: they are straight!

(BTW, I tried to prepare my daughter for the cast removal and it really didn't matter. She wanted nothing to do with the cast saw no matter what the nice nurse said. There is no pain involved in removing the cast, just a lot of vibration which is scary to a little one.  My sweet girl cried as the cast was cut off. She later remarked that she was very glad her casts were off, but that it was scary.)

To read other posts about my daughter's trigger thumb experience, use the search term "trigger thumb" on my blog's search tool.


  1. My 2 year old just had this surgery on Monday. She has soft bandages on, like your other daughter had. The surgeon told us to try and keep them on until her next appointment next week. How long until the stitches dissolved for your daughters?

    1. Hi Erin!

      My son is 2 years old . He has the Trigger Thumb. Did your then 2 year old find it difficult after the surgery once the cast was one. Basically what was his experience after all he did not understand much back then.

  2. If I remember correctly, it's about 1.5 to 2.5 weeks before they are completely dissolved. We clipped the ends that were sticking out to far with some nail clippers (with the doctor's okay) so that my girls wouldn't be bothered by them.


Thanks for commenting! I love a discussion. If you plan on including a link in your comment, make it appropriate. I will not post comments that include links that I think may be malicious.