What is an Occupational Therapist Role in Hand Therapy?
Hand Therapy is a form of treatment performed on patients who suffer from conditions affecting their hands and the upper extremities, this treatment is usually carried out by an occupational or physical therapist who specializes in this area.
Hand therapy can be considered as a non-surgical treatment for hand and elbow disorders such as CTS, Tennis Elbow, Radial Styloid Tenosynovitis, and Osteoarthritis (OA) . The therapist will employ methods such as exercise, modalities, and splinting to hasten patient’s returns to a functional and productive lifestyle.
Hand therapy patients can also be affected by accident or trauma leaving them with wounds, burns injured tendons, or nerves, bone fractures, and amputations of fingers and hands. The therapist will progress patients through protocols specific to their needs using modalities, manual techniques, scar management and ROM exercises with the outcome goal to restore function. Therapists role is also to provide adaptive equipment and education to improve function, while healing or gaining independence in their ADL’s due to a chronic condition.
Who is a Hand Therapist?
A hand therapist is a registered occupational or physical therapist that has gone through advanced continuing education, integration of knowledge in anatomy and clinical experience, physiology, and kinesiology, has become skilled in the assessment and treatment of pathological upper extremities conditions caused by accident, trauma, disease, congenital or acquired deformity. Also, they typically have mentored under an individual whether it be a physician or another hand therapist.
Why see a Therapist specializing in Hands in Las Cruces?
- The therapist can assess and cure any problem related to the upper limb.
- The therapist with her experience will design and implement a treatment plan for the patient that has gone through a surgical hand operation.
- The therapist works together with the physician and the patient to provide a variety of care. This care begins within days of the patient’s injury or return from surgery.
- The therapist can recommend ergonomic changes to improve mechanics at the work station and adapt the work activity, which will decrease stress on tendons, nerves, and muscles to ensure a healthy style of work.
- The therapist serves as an intermediary between medical management of upper extremity conditions for successful transitions to a functional independent home life.
- The therapist provides nonsurgical interventions, preventive care, and post-surgical rehabilitation for a wide variety of upper extremity disorders.
- Patients can benefit from hand therapy through recommendations for adaptive devices or equipment to improve their health and daily activity.
- The therapist with her knowledge of the hand and trained in the advanced myoelectric prosthetic devices can personalize the prosthesis for the individual patient.
What an Occupational Therapist in Las Cruces can do for you?
As your therapist specializing in hands, I know the best method to approach your ailment, and prosthetic training can employ different techniques and tools, including exercise, custom orthotic fabrication, management of pain, modalities, scar management and wound care management to facilitate your recovery.
There is a lot of conditions I can treat with different techniques to restore the patient back to his or her normal lifestyle, these ailments include the following:
- Prosthetic rehabilitation
- Osteoarthritis/Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Fractures of Elbow, Forearm, wrists, and digits
- Burns and Scarring
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
- Congenital defects
- Lacerations, Infections, Open Wounds
- Dislocations and Sprains
- Dupuytren’s contracture
- Sprain and Strains of fingers and Joints
- Joint Stiffness
- Pain in the hand/arm
- Repetitive/Cumulative Trauma- Tennis Elbow, Radial Styloid Tenosynovitis
- Tendon Injuries- Flexor and Extensor
- Nerve related injuries, cubital Tunnel, CTS, Radial nerve palsy
I will work with you to create a customized and complete treatment program that will be regularly updated to bring you back to functionality to pursue whatever is your “occupation” in life: work related, homemaker, musician, artist, athlete, golfer, knitter, etc.
Some Specialty Treatments include:
- Custom Orthosis fabrication
- Pre-fabricated orthosis recommendation
- Therapeutic taping
- Manual therapy-joint mobilization techniques
- Motor re-learning
- Customized strength and flexibility programs
- Wound and scar care
- Pain management
- Electrical modalities
- Work site evaluation and ergonomic recommendations
- Joint protection
- Edema management
- Sensory re-education
- ADL/Self Care
- Prosthetic training
- Adaptive Equipment
- MVF- Mirror Visual Feedback
- Protocols to address CRPS
Even if you have sustained a permanent arm or hand injury that has limits the activities you can engage in, or you have constant hand pain. A hand therapist will provide you with the best techniques, education, and equipment that will help give you the tools to lead a more pain free and functional lifestyle.
Hand Therapy Treatment techniques for OA/RA
Some significant benefits of hand therapy are especially notable for treating arthritis, their benefits are:
- Pain Management
- Increases motion, agility, and strength appropriate for athletic hands
- Home Exercise programs
- Customized splinting for rest, re-positioning to address arthritic patterns, and provide stability and improve function.
- Compression Garments
- Adaptive Equipment
- Light strengthening of CMCJ & wrist stabilizers, improving mechanics of the hand with function.
- Joint protection to include mechanics of hand, activity modification, decrease force and tension output, reduce joint loading, avoid sustained position, and balance activity with rest.
If by chance you are in need of hand therapy rehabilitation, don’t settle for just any rehabilitation center — you have a choice. Contact Las Cruces Comprehensive Rehab Today.