Before I was a librarian at a small church school, I was a real honest to God therapist. Mostly I worked in Nursing homes with elderly people, but I saw a wide variety of patients with different ailments. I was an Occupational Therapists, which meant I dealt with "the things that a person does during the day to occupy their time." These things include feeding oneself, dressing oneself, cleaning and grooming, ones actual work and ones hobbies. It also includes recovery from injury and the proper exercises and activities to help aid healing.
However, let me add that since I no longer practise, I can only give suggestions when someone needs help. I can't actually do therapy without putting myself at risk of litigation. In other words, I could be sued.
So, my dear friend David, the following are only suggestions.
Since your doctor has given you the go-ahead to start therapy, he has come to the opinion that you are sufficiently healed to do exercises. The exercises I would have you start with, if I was still practising, would be range of motion exercises.
1. Open your hand and fingers as wide as possible, a slow stretch open and then into a gentle fist. repeat ten times. do this several times through out the day.
2. Lay your hand on a table. one at a time, isolating each individual joint in the fingers, let the joint bend over the edge of the table. Pay attention to the pain level. Remember, this is only a gentle stretch to limber up the stiff fingers joints that haven't been moving correctly.
Do this 5 times with each joint of the affected fingers. 3 times a day.
3. One at a time touch the tip of each finger to the tip of your thumb. Do this 5 to 10 times. This is an easy thing to do when relaxing watching tv.
4. Get yourself a basin or large bowl, fill it with dried split peas. (No, you are not making soup.) Run your hand through the peas, squeeze them, let them trickle out between your fingers. This is a good one for helping the nerve fibers to regrow. It stimulates the sensory nerves in the hand. Also the coolness of the peas are soothing to aching muscles.
5. Buy some playdough or make some of that flour,salt, water playdough that our Moms used to make for us to play with. Take a ball of it and roll it out like a snake. Pinch the snake all along it's length. Roll it up and repeat. Start with the index finger and then each finger in turn. Just squeezing the playdough is good also, for gentle strengthening.
6. Play cards. A simple game like "Go Fish." Work up to harder games as your fingers get used to manipulating the cards. Playing cards uses all of your fingers. It helps to increase your dexterity.
Well, my friend, that is about all for now. I will ponder whatelse you can do and of course, will pray for your full recovery. Love you.