Exercising after wrist surgery
For several months I had been feeling pain in my right wrist during yoga before I finally went to a specialist. It turned out that I had a ganglion cyst in my wrist. He aspirated it, and after an extremely painful 24 hours, the pain was gone and I could practice yoga pain-free. Fast forward six months later when the pain was back full force. It was especially painful when I would bend my hand back so it was 90 degrees to my forearm, as one would do in a plank pose. The pain didn’t just affect my yoga practice, but it also hurt doing particular chores at home or experiments at work. Finally my doctor and I decided I would have the cyst surgically removed.
The surgery occurred on July 31, 2014. It was my first surgery aside from having my wisdom teeth removed. I was nervous, but it went very well and was performed very quickly. This doctor is the best in the area and this surgery is routinely performed. It is no big deal to most people, but that didn’t make me less worried. I went through several weeks of occupational therapy and even made some new friends!
I was told by my doctor that I could continue to work-out just without putting pressure on my wrist and without lifting anything heavy. That meant that any weight training was off the table for now. I started doing PiYo, which is a fusion of yoga and Pilates. Instead of doing regular plank poses, I would hold forearm plank pose. Instead of push-ups, I did forearm planks. Instead of down dog, I did my best dolphin pose. I admit that I have always hated dolphin pose, because it required upper body strength that I didn’t have. But it got easier! I had some pretty killer shoulder and ab muscles by the time my recovery was finished! Most importantly, I didn’t let the fact that I couldn’t use my wrist be an excuse for not working out. I listened to my doctor, and I found other ways that I could work-out without compromising my health.
After being cleared to do regular work-outs, I started trying to do more regular plank poses. My wrist was definitely sore, but I kept at it. Fast forward to do today when I went in for a follow-up because I was worried that my wrist still hurt and still didn’t have quite the range of motion of my left wrist. I was braced for the worst, but the doctor said my wrist is healing nicely and I just need to keep working out on it. I mentioned that I had been putting padding below the heal of my hand to decrease the angle and alleviate the pain, but he told me that I need to start doing more regular push-ups without the added padding to force my wrist to be more flexible.
So there you have it, more push-ups and working on my flexibility! If I had waited until I never felt pain to start working out, I would still be waiting. I am so glad that I found ways to modify and did not give up on my health!
As an added note: I want to specify that I followed my doctor’s instructions. Each injury is unique and personal, and you should not try to exercise without the consent from your doctor. I spoke directly with my doctor about modifications that I could do and only started lifting weights again after he gave me a thumbs up.