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Occupational Therapy and Hand Therapy

  • Hand Therapy

    The hand is an amazing, complex part of the human body, essential for all of our daily self-care, work and everyday activities. Whether writing with a pen, typing on a computer or turning a screwdriver, our hands are important tools in our daily lives. When the hand and upper extremity are unable to function properly due to accidents, disease, repetitive stress and conditions from birth or acquired syndromes, a specialized approach is essential.

    Hand therapy focuses in on rehabilitation of the hand and upper limbs and is the merging of occupational therapy and physical therapy theory and practice. Several of our highly skilled physical and occupational therapists go on to become certified hand therapists and are proficient in the treatment of hand and upper extremity pathologies, from the acute to the chronic.

    Certified hand therapists work directly with the referring physician and the patient to treat the following conditions, but not limited to:

    • Tendon injuries
    • Peripheral nerve injuries
    • Crush injuries
    • Repetitive motion disorder

    Hand Therapy Services

    • Post-operative management of upper extremity
    • Custom orthoses for the upper extremity
    • Joint mobilization
    • Instrument-assisted soft tissue techniques
    • Manual therapy
    • Taping techniques
    • Wound and scar management
    • Edema management
    • Work simulation
    • Range of motion
    • Strengthening
    • Arthritis

    Certified Hand Therapist Criteria

    The process to become a certified hand therapist (CHT) is rigorous. An occupational therapist or physical therapist needs to have a minimum of five years of clinical experience, including more than 4,000 hours of direct practice in hand therapy.

    Therapists must:

    • Successfully pass a national certification exam, administered by the Hand Therapy Certification Commission
    • Re-certify every five years through accredited advanced continuing education.

    Occupational Therapy

    By definition, occupational therapy is a profession that aims to restore or enhance an individual's occupational performance or level of daily function. The term "occupation" does not exclusively refer to paid employment; it encompasses concepts such as personal hygiene, home management, leisure activities, and even sleep. Occupation is highly individualized and includes any activity that an individual performs.

    Occupational therapists use a wide variety of evidence-based management strategies to promote independence and maximize quality of life.

    Treatments may include:

    • ADL (Activities of Daily Living) / Self Care Training
    • Assistive Technology / Adaptive Equipment Training
    • Cognitive Rehabilitation
    • Dexterity Training
    • Ergonomic Evaluations
    • Handwriting Training
    • Home Management Training
    • Orthosis Fabrication
    • Physical Agent Modalities
    • Sensory Reeducation
    • Therapeutic Exercise
    • Vision Therapy

    Most of our occupational therapists choose to specialize in hand therapy as the hand is so closely linked to functional independence. Many are Certified Hand Therapists (see above for additional details).

    Services vary by location.