Hand therapy is an important branch of rehab care medical science. The main target area of hand therapy is the upper extremity, forearm muscles, wrist, thumb, and fingers. They used to resolve problems associated with upper extremity injury, disease, and conditions by offering multiple therapeutic assistance. Hand therapy treatment is non-invasive but helps patients to restore and regain hand functionality and regain range of motion.

Therefore, if you or your family members are having upper extremity problems, then you can contact a nearby hand therapist to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Before talking much, first, we would like to introduce hand therapist

Who is a hand therapist?

We’re familiar with the term Physiotherapy and physiotherapist and often get confused with the hand therapist. However, hand therapy and physiotherapy are different. Hand therapist only resolves ailments associated with hands and upper extremity. Simply we can say a hand therapist could be either a physiotherapist or occupational therapist, depending on his specialization, training, and internship. Hand therapists must have specialization in the upper extremity and hands-on clinical training on hand therapy and upper extremities.

In which prospect a therapist can help you?

The most common question on the internet is, “How Can a Hand therapist help with my pain?”. Hand therapists basically work in their personal clinic, hospital, physiotherapy, and rehab care center and also offer sports medicine facilities. When it comes to more complex sports-related injuries or conditions, finding a sports medicine doctor who specializes in these areas can be crucial. These doctors often work in conjunction with hand therapists to provide comprehensive care. They work closely with orthopedic surgeons to treat chronic pain and post-surgical conditions of the hand. Through in-depth diagnosis and a particular training program, therapists can reduce pain and swelling. Their main objective is to develop strength, improve dexterity, and regain range of motion to accomplish functional and pain-free life.

Apart from rehabilitative care after surgery, hand therapists offer the best treatment for hand osteoarthritis, fracture, sprains fracture & dislocation, nerve and tendon damage, tendonitis, shoulder pain, finger pain, elbow pain, and many more associated diseases and conditions.

What kind of treatment can you expect in hand therapy?

hand therapy treatment
(Image courtesy: Unsplash).

Hand therapy is not just a single treatment, it is the sum of multiple rehabilitative treatments. Generally, hand therapy treatments are non-surgical, non-invasive, post-surgical, speed up recovery treatment, or else preventive measures. When a certified hand therapist checks your hand condition, then after that, he talks with your physician and surgeon for a detailed report and assessments. They make a customized rehabilitative plan that best suits your requirement.

When you visit a hand therapist first time, he usually asks you about your problem, what  abnormalities you’re facing while accomplishing a job with your hand, your pre-existing disease and conditions, and medications, then perform a different test to check your muscle, nerve and joint condition, hand and finger range of motion, wrist flexibility, pain intensity, and grip strength.

Hand therapy treatment includes:

  1. Pain management & repetitive injury avoidance
  2. Restoring the range of motion-related activities
  3. Grip strengthening training session
  4. Join mobility exercise
  5. Nerve desensitization
  6. Soft-tissue procedure
  7. Strength training
  8. Scar management
  9. Iontophoresis.
  10. Training to improve dexterity
  11. Scrapping or tapping
  12. Hot and cold therapy
  13. Mirror therapy techniques

All these treatments offer the best results if a patient completes his hand therapy session dedicatedly. In rehabilitative care, treatment-adherence and engagement till the end are very important. If one doesn’t follow the therapist’s advice rigorously, he may fail to restore his hand functionality. Therefore, he needs to start the session from scratch, which is basically a waste of both money and time. Therefore, to make your therapeutic session super effective, follow medical advice and be consistent with the rehabilitative program.

What types of ailments and injuries does hand therapy treat?

Though all orthopedic hand-related problems can’t be solved through hand therapy, in some cases, you need to take the help of an orthopedic surgeon for further medications and surgeries. But after surgery, hand therapists work with your surgeon to manage post-surgical pain, regain functionality, and restore mobility.

Let’s talk about the ailments that can be resolved by hand therapy:

  1. Carpal tunnel Syndrome, numbness due to pinched nerve
  2. A Ganglion Cyst on the wrist and hand; is basically a benign lump on the tendon
  3. Chronic hand pain due to overwork, figure fatigue due to extensive use of fingers, lack of functionality
  4. Tennis elbow; is basically a problem of the outer elbow, forearm, and wrist pain. Swelling due to repetitive movements, and daily wear and tear.
  5. Repetitive motion disorder in join extremity, tingling, stiffness, tenderness in muscle
  6. Trigger finger, tenderness of fingers, clicking, popping, and stiffness in finger tendon due to overstress in figures.
  7. Hand orthopedic anomalies such as Golfer’s elbow, De Quervain’s, Osteoarthritis and arthritis in the hand, tenosynovitis, Dupuytren’s contracture, upper-extremity burn, and wounds
  8. Hand bone fracture, dislocation, and sprains
  9. Lack of fine motor skills
  10. Amputations in the upper extremity; It is the elimination procedure of a limb due to disease, illness, or injuries.

What should you expect while taking a hand therapy appointment?

A Hand therapist’s main objective is to bring back hands’ natural functionality so that you can lead a quality life. For that, he would measure your grip strength, range of motion of hand and finger, and nerve sensation. After checking your existing condition, he will make therapeutic rehab care that consists of different kinds of hand therapy exercises along with multiple movements.

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