Hand therapy is typically performed as rehabilitation from surgery or injury. Either an occupational or physical therapist will assist with that rehabilitation, depending on the specific injury or surgery. Hand injuries can include burns, tendon tears, nerve injuries, wounds, fractures, and amputations of one or more fingers. Overuse injuries such as carpal tunnel and tendonitis are other common reasons patients begin hand therapy. The goal of hand therapy is to help patients regain use of their hand and return to their typical day to day activities as quickly as possible while preventing reinjury of the area.
Hand therapy can often be used as an alternative to surgery for overuse injuries and less severe acute injuries. Considering most people like to avoid surgery whenever they can, that’s great news to patients! If you’ve suffered from pain in your hand or wrist for a long period of time with no relief in sight, hand therapy may be the missing piece. Nerve problems that result in hand sensitivity can easily be treated with hand therapy, and your therapist will even teach you how to perform exercises at home to relieve the pain in the future. The movement and strength of your hand and wrist will be targeted with specific exercises and tools used by the hand therapists. If needed, they can even design customized braces or splints while an injury heals.
If you’ve suffered an amputation or a severe injury that will never regain normal mobility and strength, many occupational therapists will help design tools you can use to make daily activities easier. If a more severe injury does require surgery, hand therapists will guide the patient through the healing process to prevent reinjury and infection. Hand therapy after surgery often focuses on reducing the amount of scar tissue build up around tendons and joints that could hinder mobility as you recover. Once your injury has healed enough to return to work or school, a hand therapist can speak with your employer or educator to set guidelines and restrictions as you continue to recover.
Whether you’ve suffered a recent injury or have had chronic hand pain for years, hand therapy should be your next step! Our expert team of physical and occupation therapists will work together to create a personalized treatment plan that’s right for you. Our goal is to help you regain your independence in daily activities long-term, not just to treat the pain right now!