What is hand therapy?
Hand therapy is the art and science of evaluating and treating injuries and conditions of the upper extremity (shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand). Hand therapy uses many therapeutic interventions to help restore function.
What is a certified hand therapist?
A hand therapist is an occupational therapist (OT) or physical therapist (PT) who through advanced education and clinical experience with the integration of knowledge in anatomy, physiology and kinesiology, has become proficient in treatment of pathological upper extremity conditions resulting from trauma, disease, congenital or acquired deformity.
To obtain a CHT credential the therapist must practice for a minimum of 3 years, accumulate at least 4000 hours of treatment for hand and UE disorders. They must also pass a rigorous certification exam to demonstrate their competency in the practice.
What services does hand therapy provide?
In hand therapy we provide non-operative interventions, preventative care, and post-operative rehabilitation using a variety of techniques including but not limited to activity and exercise programs, custom orthotic fabrication, scar management as well as management of pain, swelling and wound care.
What conditions does hand therapy help treat?
Some of the common conditions hand therapists treat are:
- Post-operative and/or conservative management of trigger fingers
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Distal radius fracture
- Dupuytren’s disease
- Tendon repairs and transfers
- Digital amputations
- Fractures of the hand
What can I expect during my hand therapy appointment?
The initial appointment is an evaluation which helps determine the treatment plan and to issue a home exercise program.
The following visits if needed consist of assessing your progress and altering the treatment as needed.
- Modalities (heat/ice, Estim/ultrasound)
- Manual techniques (soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization)
- Orthotic adjustments
- Therapeutic exercises and activities
How can I find a hand therapist?
You may need a prescription from a physician before you can visit a hand therapist.