Hand Therapy

Hand Therapy is rehabilitation performed on patients with complex conditions, injuries and surgeries affecting the hands, wrists and elbows. This type of therapy is performed by a therapist with advanced specialization that requires continuing education and advanced certification. This professional is known as a Certified Hand Therapist, known by the CHT after his/her name.

Who needs hand therapy?

The hand is a complicated structure. Therefore, hand injuries can be challenging to treat. Patients who have been operated on by a hand surgeon usually require treatment from a hand therapist. Injuries to tendons, nerves, fractures of the bones of the hand, amputations of the fingers, ands or arms, burns, scars and overuse injuries may need treatment from a hand therapist. Hand therapists make custom splints to aid in the healing process.

What does hand therapy provide?

Preventative, non-operative or conservative treatment:
  • Management of pain, both acute and chronic
  • Desensitization following nerve injury or trauma
  • Sensory re-education after nerve injury
  • Design and implementation of home exercise programs to increase motion, dexterity, and/or strength
  • Splint fabrication for prevention or correction of injury
  • 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 sutured 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
  • The following are common injuries seen for specialized hand therapy:

    Overuse / Repetitive Injuries:
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Tendonitis
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Trigger Finger
  • Chronic Hand Conditions:
  • Arthritis: Rheumatoid or Osteoarthritis
  • Dupuytren's Contracture
  • DeQuervain's Disease
  • Raynaud's Syndrome
  • Writer's Cramp
  • Musician Injuries
  • Acute or Traumatic Hand Injuries:
  • Amputation
  • Fractures
  • Ligament Injuries
  • Radial and Ulnar Nerve Palsy
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
  • Replantation
  • Tendon or Nerve Lacerations
  • Upper extremity Sports Injuries