What happens in hand therapy?
The initial assessment for hand therapy lasts about an hour. The therapist will interview you regarding the nature of your injury and any previous hand therapy or medical treatments you may have had. If you have had surgery, x-rays or other testing of the hand it would be helpful to bring those reports with you.
Range of motion, strength and sensation measurements are taken when appropriate. The therapist will have you demonstrate movements of the entire arm and sometimes the entire body, depending upon the diagnosis. We understand that we are working with an entire person, not simply a hand or finger.
Your initial visit will also involve filling out a questionnaire asking how your injury effects your daily activity including work, self-care, sleep, home and family management and fitness pursuits. Occupational therapists focus on functional activities and are experts in figuring out how to use adaptive equipment or techniques to maximize independence.
Some hand injuries require a period of immobilization in a splint or custom orthosis during the healing process. Our Certified Hand Therapist is an expert fabricator of custom arm and hand orthoses. MoveMend carries several prefabricated (over-the-counter) splints for the wrist, hand and fingers. These splints are often used in the treatment of carpal tunnel, tendonitis in the hand and arthritis of the thumb and finger joints. The goal of applying a splint or orthosis is to support the joints and tissues as needed through the phases of healing. Some injuries, such as a broken finger or tendon laceration, require several splints / orthoses through the course of rehabilitation.
Common injuries requiring hand therapy include trigger finger, amputations and lacerations that involve nerves or tendons of the hand. Mallet finger, where the tip joint of the finger can’t actively straighten, requires several months of supportive splinting. On the other hand (no pun intended), treating a sprained finger joint is usually successful in a few short hand therapy sessions with little to no splinting. A finger pulley injury is often managed through a combination
Generalized pain, fatigue and cramping in the hands has become quite common in our world dominated by digital devices and keyboards. Our hand therapist works with many people from the technology industry suffering from these symptoms.
Some sports, such as rock climbing and bouldering, take a heavy toll on the fingers and hands. We make sure that during the rehabilitation process that athletes continue with their sport in a modified fashion as much as possible. Intermittent splinting and taping can often help get people back to top performance faster.
What is a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT)?
A Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) is an occupational therapist or physical therapist who has a minimum of five years of clinical experience, including 4,000 hours or more in direct practice in hand therapy.
In addition, the Certified Hand Therapist has successfully passed a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper quarter rehabilitation. Because of changes in the profession, every CHT is required to demonstrate continued professional development and competency by recertifying every five years. (www.htcc.org)