Hand Therapy is a type of rehabilitation performed by an occupational or physical therapist on patients with conditions affecting the hands and upper extremities. This kind of therapy is performed by a provider with a high degree of specialization that requires continuing education and often, advanced certification. A certified hand therapist is enabled to work with patients to quicken their return to a productive lifestyle.
Who is a candidate for Hand Therapy?
Candidates for hand therapy are patients who 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 tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome. Chronic problems resulting from arthritis or a neurologic condition such as a stroke may also require hand therapy.
Preventative, non-operative or conservative treatments may include:
Desensitization following nerve injury or trauma
Management of acute or chronic pain
Sensory re-education after nerve injury
Splint fabrication for prevention or correction of injury
Design and implementation of home exercise programs to increase motion,
dexterity, and/or strength
Training in the performance of daily life skills through adapted methods and equipment
Conditioning prior to returning to work
Postoperative rehabilitation may additionally include:
Management of open or sultured wounds (prevention of infection and assistance in healing)
Control of hypertrophic (raised and/or swollen) or hypersensitive scars
Reduction of swelling
Fabrication of orthoses to protect surgery or increase movement
Instruction in home exercise program
Improvement of motion
There are various industries establishing preventive programs for workers with upper extremity symptoms that your hand therapist may consult with. Hand therapists often recommend modifications of workstations and alternative work methods in order to ensure healthy work-styles of all employees.
For more information about hand therapy, and the simple, safe, and effective treatments that are available, schedule an appointment with Dr. Sagini's office by calling 239-337-2003.