Injury, surgery, and deformity in the hand can make living everyday life difficult and frustrating. That is why patients suffering from the limitations and pain caused by problems with their hands deserve specialized treatment from a qualified therapist. Here is a look at 5 of the most important aspects of hand therapy to consider.
Hand therapy is a specialized field
Hand therapy is occupational and physical therapy focused exclusively on the hand and arm. As a specialized field of therapy, it is typically practiced by therapists who have achieved extended experience and/or training.
A physical or occupational therapist who provides hand therapy has typically achieved any or all of the following:
- Several years of clinical experience in hand-focused therapy
- Continuing education, particularly in areas such as anatomy and physiology
- Certification through the Hand Therapy Certification Commission
Hand therapy addresses a wide array of issues
Hand therapy does not only address injury to the hand. Instead, this type of rehabilitation assists patients who suffer from a wide array of conditions that impact the functioning of their hands and arms, including injury, amputation, illness, post-operative rehabilitation, and even preventative care.
Patients who experience injury of any kind to their hands or fingers can benefit from specialized hand therapy. Injuries can include the following:
- Trauma to the hand or arm
- Crush injuries
- Nerve damage
Hand therapy in these cases focuses on helping the patient to regain the function of their hands in order to more easily accomplish the daily tasks that are most important to them.
Patients who have lost one or more fingers, or even a hand or an arm due to amputation (Either accidental or surgical) will need to learn how to adapt to their changed hand(s). Rehabilitation with a qualified therapist can assist patients with any of the following:
- Wound healing
- Flexibility and strength
- Fine motor skills
- Hand functionality
- Prosthetic fitting and use
Many illnesses can impact the functionality of the hand, including rheumatoid arthritis, neurological conditions, diabetes, and even tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.
A hand therapist can assist patients with preserving or reclaiming functionality of the hand with exercise and at-home regimens that help them to overcome the effects of these illnesses.
After surgery of the hand, patients may require specialized therapy to prevent loss of function in the hand and to ensure appropriate healing.
Hand therapists can work with patients who are facing illness or surgery to prevent the loss of function in the hand and to ensure the strength of the hand or arm.
Hand therapy provides functionality for daily life
Sometimes, patients think of hand therapy as a specialized luxury for individuals who need their hands to make their living, such as musicians or surgeons.
The reality, however, is that the goal of hand therapy and rehabilitation is to help patients more easily accomplish the daily tasks that are most important to them by giving them greater functionality in their hand or arm.
That is why your physical therapist here at In Touch NYC will take the time to find out what is most critical to your daily life and to your overall happiness and sense of fulfillment. Then they will focus on using the rehabilitation process to help you achieve those goals.
Hand therapy utilizes a wide array of treatment approaches
Hand therapy and rehabilitation is a specialized field, but it uses a wide array of treatment approaches to allow for rehabilitation customized to the patient’s needs.
Here is just a sampling of the approaches a hand therapist can take to restore functionality, reduce pain and help patients to overcome any limitations in their hand and/or arm:
- Range of motion exercises
- Strengthening activities
- Adaptive practices and tools
- Heat and/or cold therapy
- Soft tissue procedures
- Nerve desensitization
- Scar management
Hand therapy is a tailored process
Hand therapy is a specialized field and, with the right therapist, is a customized process that is tailored to the patient’s needs and goals. That is why you can expect your first consultation to focus not only on your condition but also on your needs, goals, and desires.
Once you have your consultation, your hand therapist will establish a schedule for your therapy that could be frequently (e.g. Three times a week) or less often (e.g. Once a week). As you improve and reach your goals, your therapy appointments may be spaced further apart. A home exercise routine will also be tailored to your specific needs so that you can begin enjoying a healthier hand and a more fulfilling life.
Here at In Touch NYC Physical Therapy, our compassionate and skilled therapists are prepared to offer you the tailored treatment plans you need to get on the path to health. If you require hand therapy, or any other type of physical therapy, consider In Touch for the convenient and attentive therapy you need to thrive.