Hand Therapy

What is a Hand Therapist?

A hand therapist is a nationally registered occupational therapist or physical therapist who, through advanced continuing education, clinical experience, and integration of anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology, and has become skilled in the evaluation and treatment of upper-quadrant conditions resulting from trauma, disease, or congenital or acquired deformity. A hand therapist may also have advanced certification as a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT). A CHT has a minimum of three years and 4,000 hours of clinical experience in hand therapy, successfully passed an examination of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper extremity rehabilitation, and meets mandated criteria to maintain this specialized credential.

Patient Profiles & Diagnosis

A hand therapist provides care for patients with a diversity of upper extremity disorders and injuries, from simple fingertip injuries to replanted extremities. Diagnoses include but are not limited to patients with crush injuries, tendon and/or ligament lacerations/repairs, tendinopathies, peripheral nerve disorders,  fractures/dislocations, infections sports-related syndromes, and more. Hand therapists also treat patients who suffer from chronic problems which affect upper extremity function, such as autoimmune disorders, neurological conditions, pain, diabetes, focal dystonia, congenital anomalies, and psychogenic disorders involving the upper quarter.

Hand Therapists Provide the Highest Standard of Care

A qualified hand therapist evaluates and treats any problem related to the upper extremities. The hand therapist effectively provides postoperative rehabilitation, non-operative or conservative intervention, preventive care, and industrial ergonomic consultation. A variety of techniques and tools may be used in therapeutic intervention, including but not limited to:

  • Activity/exercise regimes custom-designed to increase motion, dexterity, and strength with the goal of improving function
  • Behavior management
  • Compressive therapy
  • Desensitization, sensory re-education, or sensory compensatory techniques
  • Electrical modalities
  • Ergonomic modifications
  • Education on adaptive techniques
    • Education and training in the use of adaptive equipment
  • Industrial consultation
  • Joint protection and energy conservation training
  • Manual therapy
  • Custom orthotic fabrication
    • Post-op surgical protection/immobilization
    • Correction of injury or deformity
    • Conservative management of common upper extremity syndromes
  • Pain management, acute or chronic
  • Patient and family education
  • Prosthetic training
  • Scar tissue management
  • Therapeutic taping
  • Edema management techniques
  • Thermal modalities
  • Wellness education
  • Work conditioning/hardening/retraining
  • Wound management

Advantages of Hand and Upper Extremity Therapy

  • Accurate assessments, immediate care, and effective treatment reduce overall treatment time
  • The continuum of care eliminates the need for multiple medical providers
  • Faster recovery results in decreased medical costs
  • Resulting functional outcomes ensure a faster return to work and a productive lifestyle

Meet Our Certified Hand Therapists

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