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Physical Rehabilitation Medicine/My finger's nerve reconstruction and healing


Hello Mr. Neville,
My right hand's second finger, the one next to the smallest finger, was cut by a large knife.  ER stitched it and I had a reconstructive surgery within six days.  The surgeon claimed the nerve would regrow at a rate of one inch per month.  By now, January 27, 2013, it has been a little more than four months.  I noticed about one inch of growth after the first month.  However, no more growth after that.  The surgeon had told me about two months ago that the full growth may take up to one year.  The other day he said he thinks that there will be no new growth and he cannot do anything more for me. I am taking the matter into my own hands now.  I have had no OT beyond just the first few visits immediately after the surgery.  Is there any exercise or stretching I can use specifically for this finger that would stimulate the nerve over time?  If yes, how often?  Any other treatment or visiting physical rehabilitation medicine clinic, which is usually reserved for lower body?

Unfortunately I have bad news.  There really isn't much you can do for it.  It does in fact take up to a year for nerves to heal completely.  The fact of it is that the nerve is so small in the finger that it's not easy to get a good repair on it.  It simply is difficult.

The good news is that if it's your ring finger you probably won't miss the loss of sensation much.  If it were your index finger or thumb I'd be worried.  In the big scheme of things you probably won't notice it much FUNCTIONALLY.  Easier said from my point of view than yours.

Good luck and hang in there.  

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Brian Neville, OTR/L, CWCE


I can answer questions about both conservative and post-operative rehabilitation for UPPER extremity injuries. These include but are not limited to: fractures, tendon repairs, tendon transfers, nerve repairs, lacerations, tenolysis procedures, TFCC injuries, repetitive motion disorders, reconstructive procedures. I have an advanced knowledge of UPPER extremity anatomy and industrial rehabilitation. I have extensive splinting skills for injuries to the upper extremity. Although not a physician or a surgeon I have worked closely with world renowned upper extremity specialists for over 10 years. I can give general information on what some of the most common upper extremity surgeries involve. I can reference those procedures as well. PLEASE DON'T ASK ME QUESTIONS ABOUT ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE NECK, SHOULDER, ARM/HAND. I'M NOT QUALIFIED AND KNOW ABSOLUTELY ZERO ABOUT BACKS/HIPS/KNEES/ANKLES/ETC. THANK YOU!!!


10+ years working closely with orthopedic and hand surgeons and their patients. I have treated patients with small lacerations to major reconstructive procedures. My knowledge base includes both conservative and post-operative rehab protocols and care for upper extremity injuries. I have treated patients all the way from day 1 post-op to return-to-work status.

Kentucky Occupational Therapy Association American Society of Hand Therapy National Nurses in Business Association Roy Matheson and Associates

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Occupational Therapist former Certified Hand Therapist (license currently inactive) Deep Physical Agent Modalities Instructor Certified Work Capacity Evaluator

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