Hand Therapy: Evaluating and Treating Upper Extremity Injuries
Hand therapy encompasses the expertise and techniques used to assess and heal injuries and conditions affecting the upper extremity, which includes the shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand. It combines the art and science of various therapeutic interventions to restore individuals to their highest level of function.
This specialized field emerged in response to the necessity for professionals equipped with the knowledge and experience to effectively manage the intricate recovery process associated with complex hand and upper extremity injuries.
The Role of a Certified Hand Therapist
A hand therapist is a highly trained occupational or physical therapist who has attained expertise in the treatment of upper extremity conditions resulting from trauma, disease, congenital abnormalities, or acquired deformities. They achieve this through advanced continuing education, extensive clinical experience, and comprehensive integration of anatomical, physiological, and kinesiological knowledge.
Hand therapists may pursue additional certification as a certified hand therapist (CHT). To obtain this credential, therapists must have a minimum of three years of practice, involving at least 4,000 hours of treatment for hand and upper extremity disorders. Furthermore, certified hand therapists must successfully pass a rigorous certification examination to demonstrate their competency.
The Benefits of Hand Therapy
Hand therapists play a vital role in bridging the gap between medical management of upper extremity conditions and successful recovery, enabling individuals to regain normal functionality in their daily lives. They provide a wide range of non-surgical interventions, preventive care, and post-surgical rehabilitation for various upper extremity disorders, ranging from minor fingertip injuries to complex replanted extremities.
Patients with chronic conditions like arthritis or neurological conditions such as stroke can greatly benefit from hand therapy. Hand therapists educate patients on joint protection, energy conservation, and offer recommendations for adaptive equipment or devices to improve their overall function. Employing a variety of techniques and tools, including activity and exercise programs, custom orthotic fabrication, pain and swelling management, and wound and scar care, hand therapists provide comprehensive care tailored to individual needs.
Moreover, hand therapists can serve as consultants in the industrial sector, training employees in adopting healthy work habits that promote hand and upper extremity health.
Certified Hand Therapists
At our facility, we are proud to have a team of certified hand therapists (CHTs) who have undergone extensive training, including more than 4,000 clinical hours, and have obtained board certification from the Hand Therapy Certification Commission. Our CHTs bring advanced knowledge and expertise to provide specialized care for your hand and upper extremity needs.
Conditions Treated with Hand Therapy
Hand therapy is a highly effective approach for treating a wide range of conditions affecting the upper extremities. Our skilled hand therapists are equipped to address various conditions, including:
- Nerve compressions or injuries
- Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
- Strains, sprains, and contusions
- Joint instability
- Chronic pain
- Post-surgical care for any upper extremity surgery
- Injuries including amputation, burns, and lacerations
Hand therapy focuses on addressing impairments such as pain, stiffness, weakness, wounds, and limited dexterity that can hinder the normal use of your extremities.
Comprehensive Treatment Approach
We take a comprehensive approach to hand therapy, tailoring our treatments to your unique needs. Our treatment modalities may include:
Home exercise program and education: We provide you with exercises to perform at home, along with education on proper techniques and self-care strategies.
Functional activities: We design activities that target your specific needs and goals, helping you regain functionality in daily tasks.
Exercise: We incorporate targeted exercises to improve strength, range of motion, and coordination in your hand and upper extremity.
Manual interventions: Our hand therapists employ manual techniques to promote healing, reduce pain, and enhance mobility.
Neuromuscular re-education: We use specialized techniques to retrain the nerves and muscles, improving coordination and control.
Wound care: For wounds and surgical incisions, we provide appropriate care to facilitate healing and prevent complications.
Desensitization: We employ techniques to help desensitize hypersensitive areas and improve tolerance to touch and pressure.
Work simulation: If work-related activities are a concern, we simulate work tasks to help you regain the necessary skills and strength.
Dexterity training: We focus on improving fine motor skills and hand coordination through targeted exercises and activities.
Pain neuroscience education: We provide education on pain management strategies, helping you understand and control your pain levels.
Splinting: When necessary, we custom-design and provide splints to support and protect your hand during the healing process.
Progression of the surgical protocol: We work closely with your doctor to ensure a gradual and appropriate progression of your post-surgical rehabilitation.
What Does It Mean To Be Saebo Certified?
Gabbert Clinic proudly features a team of Saebo Certified, certified hand therapists. This prestigious certification highlights our commitment to offering specialized care for those recovering from neurological injuries like strokes or brain injuries. By being Saebo Certified, our therapists are trained experts in the use of Saebo’s groundbreaking rehabilitation products, specifically designed to aid neurological recovery. This expertise allows us to incorporate Saebo’s innovative devices into tailored occupational therapy plans, focusing on enhancing motor recovery and overall quality of life for our clients. With this specialized approach, we ensure that our clients benefit from the most advanced and effective occupational therapy techniques available, all aimed at fostering independence and improving daily living skills in their recovery journey.
Get the Treatment You Need
In summary, hand therapy encompasses the evaluation and treatment of injuries and conditions affecting the upper extremity. Hand therapists, with their advanced training and experience, play a crucial role in facilitating successful recovery and enabling individuals to regain optimal functionality in their daily lives. Their comprehensive approach includes a range of interventions to address various upper extremity disorders, ensuring patients receive the care and support needed for an effective rehabilitation process.
Request An Appointment
Please fill out this form and
we will contact you about scheduling.
“Amy Gabbert was very knowledgeable and provided excellent input and guidance, in helping me with rehabbing my thumb. The exercises, message and ultra sound that she administered has helped immensely. I would recommend her to anyone who has gone through any level of hand trauma due to injury, surgery, etc.”
“Amy is wonderful to work with. She is highly intelligent and knowledgeable. I highly recommend her.”