I’ve broken a thumb extensor tendon, the one that allows a thumbs up sign. This doesn’t restrict climbing directly but I expect it to be a problem when for example fumbling with a bunch of wires on a thin crux, or handling gear in general. The solution advised is tendon transfer surgery; redirecting one of the two index finger extensor tendons to my thumb.
Has anyone had this done and can comment on recovery time and usability afterwards from a climbing point of view? Thanks
Hi Kevin, I snapped my tendon about 5 years ago (in a changing room). I thought my climbing days might be over, but after a wait of a few months I had that same op and eventually got back to climbing weekly at pretty much the previous level.
Surgeon was ok that I resumed climbing before the op, as best I could.
After the op I had my hand strapped in a lightweight plastic "back slab" for several weeks. 6 weeks slow rehabilitation before I could even drive my car. I don't remember how many more weeks before I climbed again, but it wasn't until after lots of small thumb and finger exercises, with regular appointments at a hand physiotherapist. Then the surgeon gave me the ok and no issues with the tendon - but of course strength and fitness took a while.
Hope it goes well with you. If you are patient and follow routine from a specialist physio then my experience is that you will get back to what you love.
I don't remember all the timings but I think I was 6 weeks in the splint. The physio had me doing very small movements of thumb and finger to mobilise them. The splint was partly just to stop me accidentally grabbing/lifting anything.
Then a few more weeks able to drive myself to work and hospital appointments and doing exercises with progressive strength/weight