10 Signs You May Need Hand Therapy
What is Hand Therapy?
As described by the American Society of Hand Therapists, “hand therapy is the art and science of evaluating and treating injuries and conditions of the upper extremity” to help our patients return to doing the things they love. A Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) is an occupational (OT) or physical therapist (PT) who has undergone additional training and education in hand and upper extremity rehabilitation. To gain the CHT credential, a hand therapist must have fulfilled the following requirements: work for 3 years as an OT or PT, acquire 4,000 hours of direct practice in hand and upper extremity rehabilitation, and pass a rigorous examination demonstrating their expertise in hand therapy.
You May Benefit From Hand Therapy if:
Sign #1: You have a hand injury.
Hand therapy can be beneficial for many conditions including hand/thumb arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, and lateral or medial epicondylitis (just to name a few). Hand therapists have undergone extensive training and education in various ailments of the upper extremity and understand how to treat them effectively and efficiently.
Sign #2: You have difficulty using your hands in everyday activities.
Our hands allow us to perform our daily occupations. Hand therapy implements numerous therapeutic interventions aimed at promoting return to daily activities such as brushing your teeth, cooking, opening jars, cutting food, writing, or typing.
Sign #3: You have difficulty with fine motor tasks.
Hand therapists are trained in scoring and administering various dexterity assessments. These tests help identify deficits in a patient’s ability to perform functional manipulation of objects, such as buttoning a shirt, collecting change, or tying shoes.
Sign #4: You have hand swelling.
Hand therapists utilize various edema management techniques including manual edema mobilization, fitting and administering compression garments, cryotherapy, and elevation to reduce swelling in the hand and arm.
Sign #5: You have hand stiffness.
Difficulty moving your fingers first thing in the morning and/or at the end of the day is common. A hand therapist is skilled in identifying the cause of hand stiffness and prescribing a personalized therapy program aimed at reducing hand stiffness and improving range of motion through guided exercises like tendon gliding and joint blocking.
Sign #6: You have hand numbness or tingling.
Numbness and tingling in the hand can indicate an underlying nerve injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, or cervical radiculopathy. A hand therapist can help discover the root of the problem and teach nerve gliding exercises to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.
Sign #7: You’re having difficulty returning to work after a hand injury.
A hand injury on the job can cause emotional, financial, and physical distress. From typing and writing, to pushing dollies, carrying boxes, and using power tools and machinery, our hand therapists will perform a comprehensive evaluation to understand your specific job duties. Following this evaluation, your hand therapist will be able to incorporate job specific, work simulating activities into your plan of care, to get you back to work at preinjury level.
Sign #8: You have hand pain.
Pain in the arm or hand can greatly interfere with you doing the things you love. A hand therapist has an arsenal of modalities for pain reduction including transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), therapeutic ultrasound, fluidotherapy, and paraffin wax. These modalities coupled with manual therapy techniques such as soft tissue massage, instrument assisted soft tissue massage, kinesio-taping, and cupping can all assist in reducing pain and returning normalcy to your life.
Sign #9: Your doctor recommended splinting or bracing for your hand.
Immobilization and rest can be crucial for calming down inflammatory conditions such as tendonitis and arthritis, as well as protecting healing structures post operatively. Over the counter braces can be great options but are often ill fitting and uncomfortable. Hand therapists are specially trained in custom orthotic fabrication to ensure optimal healing as well as comfort.
Sign #10: You had hand surgery.
Whether you suffered a digital amputation while wood working, tripped over a sidewalk and broke your wrist, or suffered the dreaded avocado hand injury (flexor tendon laceration) while making dinner, you most likely needed hand surgery. Hand therapists work closely with hand surgeons to ensure the most appropriate post-operative protocol is used, to help you recover quickly, safely, and effectively.
Why Choose Twin Boro for Hand Therapy?
At Twin Boro we take pride in maximizing and improving the function and quality of our patients’ lives. Our highly qualified hand therapists will work with you to decrease your symptoms and get you back to doing the things you love!
We have multiple hand therapy locations throughout New Jersey including:
- Jersey City
- Red Bank
- Toms River
To locate the closest hand therapy clinic near you, visit the Twin Boro Find a Location directory to search by the ZIP code.
Still Unsure if Hand Therapy is Right for You?
Contact us today at (732) 444-3578 for a free screening or consultation with one of our hand therapists. Our clinicians will listen to your concerns, help determine if you are a candidate for hand therapy services and guide you through the scheduling process to make it as seamless as possible!