What is the Hand Therapy?
Hand therapy specializes on the rehabilitation for conditions in the upper extremity (shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand). Our hands are utilized as “tools” for a variety of different activities throughout the day.
The hand and forearm are composed of a pulley-like system that allows for intricate motion involved in fine motor activities (i.e. writing, typing, fastening, etc). The complexity of the hand anatomy makes injuries more susceptible. The common injuries include nerve compression, tendonitis, fractures, and arthritis.
Upper extremity conditions can affect populations across the lifespan from pediatrics to geriatrics. Upper extremity injuries can be debilitating and may keep an individual from engaging in meaningful activities or “occupations,” whether it be play for a child or a simple, everyday activity such as combing your hair.
Therapists can provide education on activity modifications and adaptive equipment to promote independence and assist with activities of daily living. Hand therapists may also recommend and create a custom orthotic to promote functional positioning, progress range of motion, and protect joints in the hand/wrist.
What Can You Expect from Hand Therapy?
At your first visit, a comprehensive evaluation will be performed to determine the source of pain or functional impairment. In the initial evaluation, the therapist will assess which activities are difficult during your typical day. Range of motion, strength, and pain will be assessed. An individualized plan of care will be established to restore typical motion, strength, and function, and to decrease pain. Treatment may include manual or “hands-on therapy”, a custom home exercise program, and modalities when appropriate.
To find a clinic that offers hand therapy, visit www.aptclinics.com/services.
Content provided by Dr. Andrea Rhodes, OTD, OTR/L