Hand therapy is a specialized area of occupational therapy. It focuses on treating orthopedic upper-extremity issues to optimize the functional use of the arm and hand. Typical conditions that affect the hand are lacerations, amputations, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, fractures and rheumatoid arthritis. In general, hand therapy focuses on the biomechanical issues of upper-extremity conditions. It’s a patient-centered approach that addresses the needs of the patient, such as being able to lift things, open a jar, or button a shirt.
Hand therapy interventions by an occupational therapist may include therapeutic exercises, mirror therapy, orthosis design, pain management, manual therapy, taping, ergonomics and compression therapy. Activities for a hand injury with an occupational therapist may include working with putty, using a gripper and using dumbbells.
The benefits of hand therapy are many:
- Preventative, non-operative or conservative treatment
- Management of acute or chronic pain
- Desensitization following nerve injury or trauma
- Sensory re-education after nerve injury
- Design and implementation of home exercise programs to increase motion, dexterity, and/or strength
- Customized splint fabrication for prevention or correction of injury
- Training in the performance of daily life skills through adapted methods and equipment
- Conditioning prior to returning to work
Overall, occupational therapy goes beyond addressing injuries. It includes the whole person’s functional needs and implements activities to promote psychological well-being. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), in addition to dealing with an individual’s physical well-being, Occupational Therapy practitioners address psychological, social and environmental factors that may hinder an individual’s functioning in different ways. For example, occupational therapy for a young patient may include using a special tool to make cupcakes at home. If an adaptation to a utensil needs to be fashioned, an occupational therapist will do it. This unique approach makes occupational therapy a vital part of health care for patients. People just feel better emotionally when they can engage in everyday activities and their hobbies.
Do you have an injury or medical condition that is causing pain and limiting your daily activities? Would you like to learn more about how occupational therapy and physical therapy can help you eliminate your pain and improve performance? We’ll educate you and be happy to set up a one-on-one consultation. Give DynamX Physical Therapy a call today at San Marino, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Buena Park, CA. Our certified and caring therapists are committed to helping you get on the road to recovery. Feel better and get back to your life with occupational therapy and physical therapy.