What is hand therapy?
Hand Therapy is a type of rehabilitation performed by an occupational or physical therapist on patients with conditions affecting the hands and upper extremities. Such therapy is performed by a provider with a high degree of specialization that requires continuing education and, often, advanced certification. This enables the hand therapist to work with patients to hasten their return to a productive lifestyle. Treatment modalities such as orthosis/splints, soft braces and education are some of the common treatment tool that an occupational therapist or physical therapist will use during treatment.
Who is a candidate for hand therapy?
Patients who are candidates for hand therapy may have been affected by an accident or trauma leaving them with wounds, scars, burns, injured tendons or nerves, fractures, or even amputations of the fingers, hands, or arms. Others include patients who suffer from the effects of conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow, as well as from such chronic problems as arthritis or a neurologic condition (i.e., stroke).
What does hand therapy provide?
- Preventative, Non-operative or conservative treatment
- Management of acute or chronic pain
- Desensitization following nerve injury or trauma
- Sensory re-education after nerve injury
- Design and implementation of home exercise programs to increase motion, dexterity, and/or strength
- Splint fabrication for prevention or correction of injury
- Training in the performance of daily life skills through adapted methods and equipment
- Conditioning prior to returning to work