Why see a hand therapist?
Hand therapists are occupational therapists and physiotherapists who specialise in the treatment of upper limb (shoulder to hand) conditions. The term ‘hand therapist’ is a kind of shorthand term for these specialist occupational and physiotherapists.
Hand therapists have a high degree of specialisation involving continuing education, independent study and clinical experience specific to the upper limb. They recognise and treat a variety of chronic and acute hand injuries and conditions, and offer both pre-operative and post-operative therapy for surgical patients. Their knowledge of the hand is thorough and specific. They work closely with patients to reduce pain and stiffness and increase function and mobility in order to ensure a speedy return to daily activities.
You may benefit from hand therapy if:
- you have sustained a burn or cut to your hand or wrist which has left you with stiffness, weakness and/or pain
- you have injured tendons or nerves in your hand or wrist
- you have suffered a fracture or break in your hand or wrist
- have a chronic hand condition such as carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis or tennis elbow
- are experiencing pain, weakness or stiffness in your hand or wrist when performing, or following the performance of, certain activities
- have recently undergone surgery for a hand injury or condition
Hand Therapy at the Hand Centre
At the Hand Centre, you’ll find Certified Hand Therapists as well as occupational therapists and physiotherapists trained in the treatment of the upper limb (shoulder to hand). Our hand therapy specialists practice hand therapy exclusively. Their services include:
- preventative and conservative (non-surgical) treatment of acute and chronic hand conditions
- pain management
- wound and scar management
- swelling reduction
- desensitization and sensory re-education following nerve injury
- splint fabrication for prevention or treatment of an injury or condition
- design of exercise programs to increase hand motion, dexterity and strength
- advice and training in the performance of daily activities to minimize impact and/or recurrence of an injury or condition
Hand therapy is frequently combined with surgery in the treatment of injuries; indeed, it is often essential to ensure a successful outcome. For this reason, our surgeons and hand therapists work collaboratively to ensure that you receive the most appropriate treatment. Your hand therapist will liaise with your surgeon and will work with you to determine specific goals and promote your speedy recovery.
The type, frequency and duration of your therapy will vary depending on the nature of your injury or condition. Your hand therapist will discuss the options with you at your initial appointment.
Hand therapy is a specialist field involving a highly complex piece of anatomy. It requires continuing education to maintain the skills necessary to treat relevant conditions and injuries effectively. Our therapists are actively involved in education and research, and regularly engage with their colleagues and peers, to ensure we maintain these skills.