Hand therapy is a specialization for the treatment and rehabilitation of upper body surgeries, injuries or disorders.
Therapy is provided by an occupational or physical therapist who helps a patient regain maximum use of his or her hand after surgery, or the onset of disease. Hand therapists teach exercises, apply modalities and create custom splints to help the hand heal and to protect it from additional injury.
Who can benefit from hand therapy:
- Bone fracture in the hand or arm
- Crush injury
- Arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.)
- Tendon lacerations
- Repetitive motion injury (RMI) - such as carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger (when tendons in the finger joints swell due to overuse, “locking” the finger into a fixed position) or synovitis (inflammation of the joint lining, or membrane)
- Nerve Injuries – including brachial plexus lesions (an area of abnormal tissue in the brachial plexus, the network of nerves that sends signals from the spine to the arm and hand); radial, median and ulnar nerve injuries (the nerves that supply the arm, forearm and hand).
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)/Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) - a chronic and painful condition that usually affects an arm or leg. Signs and symptoms include intense burning or aching pain along with swelling, abnormal sweating and hypersensitivity of the area.
- Dupuytren's Contracture - a condition in which there is a thickening and shortening of the thick band of tissue in the palm of the hand and fingers. Over time, the tissue contracts and the fingers become curled inward.