Swollen hand after shoulder joint replacement

Posted by expresso409 @expresso409, Jul 14, 2021

My left shoulder joint was replaced 2 weeks ago. Ever since the surgery my thumb and ‘pointer’ finger feel like electric charges going through, similar to a foot that fell asleep. My hand (and arm) are very swollen. Is this normal?
My doctor’s assistant sees nothing wrong. My skin color on that arm and hand is darker.

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I should have added that I get the electric charges through most of arm when hanging arm down (I.e. pendulum exercise.

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@expresso409

I should have added that I get the electric charges through most of arm when hanging arm down (I.e. pendulum exercise.

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I can't speak about shoulder replacement specifically, but 2 weeks after major ortho surgery is very early days and swelling is to be expected. Yours looks a lot like my hand looked last year for 6-8 weeks after a simple thumb surgery.

You may be able to reduce it some by icing for 20-30 minutes several times a day. Both shoulder and swollen area. Gently massaging the swollen hand and forearm with a stripping motion up the arm can also help move the fluid back toward the trunk of your body where it can be eliminated.

As for the "electric charges" your nerves are letting you know they are irritated and angry. Many were disturbed in the surgery. You will experience these and a number of other sensations over the next weeks and months as they (very slowly) heal and regenerate. They may tingle, feel hot or cold, feel like electric shocks, maybe even feel like something is crawling on you, or water is dripping…

The dark color you see is blood that has accumulated in the tissue from the operation, eventually you may turn several colors before it goes back to normal.

Time, ice and therapy are the great healers! Good luck, and be patient – this was major surgery, and your body needs time.

(Easy for me to say, huh? I haven't had surgery this summer – but I did it twice last year…
Sue

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@sueinmn

I can't speak about shoulder replacement specifically, but 2 weeks after major ortho surgery is very early days and swelling is to be expected. Yours looks a lot like my hand looked last year for 6-8 weeks after a simple thumb surgery.

You may be able to reduce it some by icing for 20-30 minutes several times a day. Both shoulder and swollen area. Gently massaging the swollen hand and forearm with a stripping motion up the arm can also help move the fluid back toward the trunk of your body where it can be eliminated.

As for the "electric charges" your nerves are letting you know they are irritated and angry. Many were disturbed in the surgery. You will experience these and a number of other sensations over the next weeks and months as they (very slowly) heal and regenerate. They may tingle, feel hot or cold, feel like electric shocks, maybe even feel like something is crawling on you, or water is dripping…

The dark color you see is blood that has accumulated in the tissue from the operation, eventually you may turn several colors before it goes back to normal.

Time, ice and therapy are the great healers! Good luck, and be patient – this was major surgery, and your body needs time.

(Easy for me to say, huh? I haven't had surgery this summer – but I did it twice last year…
Sue

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Thank you. I am icing and massaging.
I’ve had 3 previous rotator cuff surgeries, maybe joint replacement is different but this is a first.

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@expresso409

Thank you. I am icing and massaging.
I’ve had 3 previous rotator cuff surgeries, maybe joint replacement is different but this is a first.

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I think it is different. Rotator Cuff surgery is a repair; shoulder replacement is destruction and reconstruction.
I'm so glad you are icing and massaging – that will speed your healing!
Sue

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Almost three years ago I had a reverse shoulder replacement. My little finger and the one next to it are numb. My C8 nerve is pinched at the elbow and I need surgery to have the restriction removed. Then in a sling for three weeks. I can still function as is but it needs to be taken care of. We live on the farm and there seems always something doing that I can not have my left arm not functioning for three weeks. Then Covid hit. Right now we live in the hot area in rising cases. So we do not go far except the store three miles down the road.
The surgery is outpatient but the other half worries about picking up a variant at the Ortho Hospital. They x-ray my elbow and found the restriction but now I just wait for the right time. We live 45 miles from the Hospital. And if things go right we will have a second cutting of hay to bale. Always something to do around here. My elbow seems to be put last. Maybe this winter. Hope this helps and stay safe and well.

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