What Is Hand Therapy?
The American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT) defines hand therapy as “the art and science of rehabilitation of the upper extremity of the human body, which includes the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder girdle.”
Hand therapists are occupational therapists or physical therapists who, through extra training and experience, have specialized knowledge of upper extremity function. A Certified Hand Therapist has a minimum of five years of clinical experience, successfully passed and examination of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper extremity rehabilitation and meets mandated criteria to maintain this specialized credential. Using targeted assessment and treatment, hand therapists work with their patients to prevent injury or impairment, restore functional activity, and enhance participation in daily life.
How can hand therapy help me?
A qualified hand therapist can evaluate and treat any problem relative to the upper extremities. The hand therapist can effectively treat and rehabilitate the patient through postoperative rehabilitation, preventative, non-operative, or conservative treatment, or industry consultation.
The therapist works closely with the physician and patient to provide a continuum of care. This often starts within days of the injury or surgery right through to the patient’s return to work and/or a productive lifestyle.
What are some of hand therapy’s main benefits?
Treatments that don’t require an operation
Reducing sensitivity to nerve issues
Relief from pain
Teaching patient how to make splints to help improve stiffness
Expedited timeline for returning to work
Increased ability to perform everyday tasks
Regaining feeling after a nerve injury
Help crafting personalized home exercise programs that will benefit your movement and strength