A Hand Therapist could be either an occupational or physical therapist, who through advanced study and experience, specializes in treating individuals with conditions affecting the hands and upper extremity. All Orthopedic PT’s are qualified to see patients with hand and arm dysfunctions, however more complicated issues might best be seen by CHT’s, Certified Hand Therapists.
A Certified Hand Therapist has a minimum of five years of clinical experience and has successfully passed an examination of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper extremity rehabilitation. Every CHT is required to demonstrate professional development and competency by re-certifying every five years.
Using specialized skills in assessment, planning and treatment, hand therapists provide therapeutic interventions to prevent dysfunction, restore function, and/or reverse the progression of pathology of the upper limb. The goal of therapy is to enhance an individual’s ability to execute tasks and to participate fully in activities of daily living.
If surgery is needed, a hand therapist can also help with a patient’s recovery. This may include assistance with helping wounds heal, preventing infection, scar management and reducing swelling.
Hand therapy is not limited to your hand. A hand therapist also specializes in treatment for your shoulder, elbow, wrist, and fingers. These treatments can help to relieve arthritis pain, improve your sports abilities, and build strength and dexterity. Exercise equipment used in Hand Therapy include squeeze balls, theraputty, power webs, wrist weights, grippers and more. These will be combined with the modalities typically seen in PT, such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, moist heat and paraffin.
Heidi Hathaway, CHT is employed with Kuss Physical and Aquatic Therapy in Central Square, NY. Call us today for an evaluation and let us help you Get a Grip!! 315-668-0123
My Home Town PT is also a great resource for finding a Certified Hand Therapist near you.