What is Hand Therapy?
Hand therapy is a specialized area of rehabilitation involved with specifically treating the hand and upper extremity (shoulder-elbow-wrist-hand). A wide range of diagnoses can affect the hand and upper extremity and due to the complexity of this body region, there are knowledgeable therapists that specialize in the rehabilitation of this unique population. At STAR Physical Therapy, there are both Physical Therapists (PT) and Occupational Therapists (OT) with advanced training that treat this specialized area. Some of our therapists (PT and OT) have elected to pursue an advanced certification to become a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT). Therapists using this designation have been out of PT/OT school for a minimum of 3 years, accumulated at least 4,000 hours of treating hand and upper extremity disorders, and have successfully passed a rigorous comprehensive exam. Our therapists provide patients with evidence-based rehabilitation, following a thorough examination, our therapists create a unique rehabilitation plan including a variety of interventions with the primary goal to restore optimal functional use of the upper extremity. Our therapists work closely with our referring physicians to ensure comprehensive individualized care and maximal recovery.
What does a Hand Therapist treat?
- Work-related conditions
- Trauma – fractures, tendon injuries, sprains/strains
- Overuse syndromes – epicondylitis, carpal/cubital tunnel syndromes, tendonitis, trigger finger
- Post-operative conditions – Dupuytren’s release, ganglion excision
- Neurological conditions – stroke, hand weakness
How does a Hand Therapist treat?
- Patient education – customized information regarding workstation ergonomics, activity modification/joint protection along with comprehensive details regarding specific diagnoses
- Custom orthoses (splinting)
- Manual therapy – instrument-aided soft tissue manipulation (IASTYM), joint mobilization, various massage techniques
- Therapeutic exercises – range of motion, stretching, strengthening
- Therapeutic activities – specific functional tasks related to the patient/diagnosis
- Neuromuscular re-education – activities related to desensitization, proprioception, coordination, and normalizing movement patterns by addressing neuromuscular control
- Modalities – heat/paraffin, ice, ultrasound, electric stimulation, Dry Needling (available in most clinics)
- Wound care, edema, and scar management