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Broken Hook of the Hamate Recovery

Injury Recovery

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#1 Big_Berg

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 08:26 PM

Long time reader and first time poster here, I'm planning on documenting my recovery from my golf injury and hopefully my story can help someone else out there should they find themselves in a similar situation one day. Please feel free to ask questions, I will answer whatever I can!

Personal golfing background: Got pretty serious 5-6 years ago at age 27. Started off being a wild, long ball hitter (I was a power lifter and it seemed to come naturally from that), with driver ball speed about 190. I worked hard on improving my game and while I gave up a lot of speed (down to around 170 ball speed now), I was able to grind my handicap down to a 3. I try to play 9 holes 2-3 times a week and in March of this year built myself a simulator shed in my backyard with a Skytrak unit where I practice all the time now. I play right handed.

Injury onset: During the first couple of months of this season, I noticed that the first couple of swings every round/practice session would be a tiny bit painful near the pinkie side of my left hand and wrist. It would go away quickly so I didn't really pay too much attention. I am thinking now that this might have been related to the injury, maybe a teeny fracture or something.

In June, I was playing a round and it was feeling more painful than usual but I was pushing through. On one particular 9-iron swing, the pain basically went through the roof. There was nothing of note about the swing (not fat, no roots, no weird contact...), but I knew something was wrong. The pain was all down the pinkie side of my left (leading) hand, from wrist to finger and in towards my ring finger as well. I, probably stupidly, pushed through the rest of the round even though it was excruciatingly painful, but it was a cash match!

Remained somewhat painful for a few days and I took a week or so off to see if whatever happened would go away by itself. On the very first swing after that week, the pain went right back to 100% so I knew it was time to see the doctor.

First diagnosis: I went to see my orthopedist with whom I have quite a history. They did my ACL/MCL/Meniscus repair as well as a labral repair in my shoulder, both of which went really well. They examined me and thought it was tendinitis, prescribed an anti-inflammatory and sent me home. This diagnosis made sense to me, I have suffered from this before when I was playing rugby and it was really only painful when I was doing certain motions and actions. Needless to say, even with the anti-inflammatories and a break from golf, the problem did not resolve.

Second diagnosis: When I returned to my doctor, he recommended I see the hand surgeon. The surgeon was great and his first instinct was broken hook of the hamate. However, the traditional test (pressing on a specific spot in the palm) wasn't painful for me and the X-ray didn't show anything, so he thought it might be severe tendinitis. He gave me a cortisone shot and told me to give it two weeks to see if there was improvement. Unfortunately, there was none.

Third diagnosis: At this point I was able to tell my doctor that it seemed like the pain was focused around the pinkie side of my left wrist. My doctor gave me the hook of the hamate test again and, when it didn't bother me, suspected it might be a TFCC tear (the cartilage in your wrist). He ordered an MRI to see if this was the case, though this took a crazy long time to get approved by my insurance (it was denied and had to be appealed).

I want to mention that I was convinced it was the TFCC as well. I ordered a Bullseye brace which is made specifically for that injury and it seemed to help quite a bit. Not to mention I have a buddy who does long-drive who actually did tear his TFCC and it sounded very similar. I wore the brace and, although it was painful, continued to play.

Final diagnosis: The MRI finally got approved and the results, as you could probably guess from the thread title, was a broken hook of the hamate! Because I was still experiencing pain, I asked my doctor if he could fix it surgically (especially since it had been going on for months at this point). He agreed and we got it on the calendar for December 4.

Surgery day! Had my surgery this morning and have been resting today. I am told that the recovery time estimate is 6-8 weeks. However, my doctor said the best two things to me: 1) I can't mess anything up by returning too early and 2) recovery time is basically based on pain. I am pretty ambitious with pushing myself back to function, especially since I've basically been told that it is OK to do so.

My doctor said that it looks like the surgery went well, preliminary motor function tests looked like no nerve damage and the pain is manageable right now.

The MAIN reason I am creating this post, and all of the posts to come during my recovery, is to offer some insight and, hopefully, reassurance to anyone who is going through this, considering going through the surgery, or has recently suffered this injury. Especially because, as I mentioned, I expect to return as aggressively and quickly as possible and I wanted to try and give others looking for a "best-case-scenario" timeline for returning to golf. I will try to give weekly updates as well as noting when certain return-to-golf milestones are hit (putting, chipping, full swings, etc).

So there it all is, long introduction I know, but just wanted to give all of the information!


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#2 Man_O_War

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 08:40 PM

not sure where you live, but i would use the whole winter to rest... golf will wait...because we pay to play :). wish you  a full recovery
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#3 Rohlio

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 08:54 PM

<---- Physical therapist

Will be following along to understand your progression. If you need any input feel free to reach out.

BTW what kind of hitting surface in your sim at home... I have had a few patients create this injury and the type of mat combined with their left hand grip seemed consistent between them.

Edited by Rohlio, 04 December 2018 - 08:56 PM.


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#4 Big_Berg

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 09:35 PM

Haha thanks man_o_war, we do indeed. Definitely going to keep checking with my doc as I get back into it but he said all that needs to heal is the actual incision, no repairs or anything, so I couldn't undo his good work. Hopefully that message stays the same, time will tell!

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#5 Big_Berg

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 09:40 PM

Rohlio that's a good thought, I happen to be using a high quality mat with lots of padding. In years past I would go to indoor golf places with far harder hitting surfaces. I really hope that's not what did it but can't rule it out entirely. I did have a few older golfing buddies in that said the combination of my mat and the fact that it is a Plywood floor actually felt better on their wrists than other places they have tried, but that is all anecdotal.

Edited by Big_Berg, 04 December 2018 - 09:41 PM.


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#6 Rohlio

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 09:51 PM

View PostBig_Berg, on 04 December 2018 - 09:40 PM, said:

Rohlio that's a good thought, I happen to be using a high quality mat with lots of padding. In years past I would go to indoor golf places with far harder hitting surfaces. I really hope that's not what did it but can't rule it out entirely. I did have a few older golfing buddies in that said the combination of my mat and the fact that it is a Plywood floor actually felt better on their wrists than other places they have tried, but that is all anecdotal.

What kind of mat exactly? My hypothesis is that it is not the firmness of the surface but the rapid eccentric load from the club head decelerating on a tight woven dense mat that is causing a lot of the connective tissue overload issues that I see.

Edited by Rohlio, 04 December 2018 - 09:53 PM.


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#7 Big_Berg

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 10:38 PM

View PostRohlio, on 04 December 2018 - 09:51 PM, said:

View PostBig_Berg, on 04 December 2018 - 09:40 PM, said:

Rohlio that's a good thought, I happen to be using a high quality mat with lots of padding. In years past I would go to indoor golf places with far harder hitting surfaces. I really hope that's not what did it but can't rule it out entirely. I did have a few older golfing buddies in that said the combination of my mat and the fact that it is a Plywood floor actually felt better on their wrists than other places they have tried, but that is all anecdotal.

What kind of mat exactly? My hypothesis is that it is not the firmness of the surface but the rapid eccentric load from the club head decelerating on a tight woven dense mat that is causing a lot of the connective tissue overload issues that I see.
Ah I see. I will check what exactly the type is and I'll get back to you.

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#8 Big_Berg

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 06:12 PM

View PostRohlio, on 04 December 2018 - 09:51 PM, said:

View PostBig_Berg, on 04 December 2018 - 09:40 PM, said:

Rohlio that's a good thought, I happen to be using a high quality mat with lots of padding. In years past I would go to indoor golf places with far harder hitting surfaces. I really hope that's not what did it but can't rule it out entirely. I did have a few older golfing buddies in that said the combination of my mat and the fact that it is a Plywood floor actually felt better on their wrists than other places they have tried, but that is all anecdotal.

What kind of mat exactly? My hypothesis is that it is not the firmness of the surface but the rapid eccentric load from the club head decelerating on a tight woven dense mat that is causing a lot of the connective tissue overload issues that I see.

The mat is made by Dura-pro, tuff turf.

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#9 Big_Berg

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:07 PM

Day 2 post-surgery: Things are feeling pretty good! Obviously the incision is still painful (as any deep cut on your palm would be!), but my fingers are all moving normally without additional pain and it is not really sore to the touch. Most uncomfortable thing, frankly, is feeling the bandage/gauze catching on the stitches. I am feeling very positive about this recovery and while it is still extremely early, I am feeling super optimistic that this downtime won't be too bad!

I will upload a photo of the hand once I figure out how to do it!

Edited by Big_Berg, 06 December 2018 - 10:08 PM.


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#10 Big_Berg

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:10 PM

Picture taken 48 hours post-op

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#11 Big_Berg

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 10:13 PM

8 days post-op: Had my post-op appointment today. The last week has been very manageable, pain- and function-wise. I was able to hang shelving and mount some swings for the kids without much trouble. There is still some soreness for sure and certain motions, . The doc said everything looks good, stitches came out, and he said starting tomorrow I don't need to wear a bandage on it anymore. He also told me that everything should be totally fine from this point forward and that I can do whatever I want as pain allows. I told him my plan to return pretty aggressively (but not too crazy) and he was totally good with it. I tried a little putting when I got home and there was zero pain and everything felt normal. Might actually try some very soft chipping tomorrow. I got some Floppy Balls so I could try a little bit in the house. Will report when I give it a go. Will also post a progress pic tomorrow for those interested in seeing how everything is healing.

Still hopeful that this is going to be a pretty speedy return to full form!

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#12 Albatross85

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 08:14 AM

Pure745 (the most famous poster on these forums) had this surgery recently and has recovered i believe. I would send him a PM if you have questions.
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#13 Big_Berg

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 08:42 PM

View PostAlbatross85, on 13 December 2018 - 08:14 AM, said:

Pure745 (the most famous poster on these forums) had this surgery recently and has recovered i believe. I would send him a PM if you have questions.

Thanks man, appreciate it!

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#14 Big_Berg

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 08:47 PM

Day 9: Tried some indoor chipping tonight, absolutely zero pain! It feels weird because the incision is like this raised ridge of scab and that part is just sitting on the club grip, but aside from that it felt totally normal. Grip strength is mostly fine, a tiny bit weak in my pinkie and ring finger but not to the point where I notice it while chipping. I think I'm going to basically wait until the incision is definitely sealed shut and try out some 3/4 wedges, most likely this weekend or early next week. Progressing faster than I would have dreamed! Also helps to have an awesome surgeon.

Here is the pic from today:

noname (2).jpg

Edited by Big_Berg, 13 December 2018 - 08:50 PM.


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#15 Big_Berg

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Posted Yesterday, 03:53 PM

Day 9: Took some half wedge swings last night, no pain unless I bladed one. It happened the first time because I was more thinking about hitting the ground too hard. The day before I tried a very slow full practice swing and certain positions throughout were still sore from holding the weight of the club. However, today there was no pain doing that. I'll keep posting each time there is a new development. Might be too much info so I apologize if this is boring, just trying to reassure anyone that finds themselves in this situation!


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#16 carrera

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Posted Yesterday, 05:22 PM

Thanks for the recap - that is a quick recovery.

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