Do you have pain, stiffness, numbness, swelling or other issues that are affecting the use of your hands and arms? Hand therapy might help! Hand therapists work with patients to increase or restore functional use of their shoulder, arm, wrist and hand in a pain-free manner.
Valley’s Hand Therapy Clinic provides comprehensive and coordinated programs for patients with any type of hand or arm injury. Our hand therapists work with patients to regain strength, sensation, range of motion and dexterity to help make the most of the ability to carry out daily life activities.
Who might benefit from hand therapy?
Any person who is having loss of function in their hands and arms might benefit from hand therapy. Patients with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, hand tremors, numbness and tingling, tendon repair, amputations, coordination issues, and hand fractures are just some of the diagnoses seen often in the clinic. Hand therapy can help lessen permanent loss of function.
What treatments are used during hand therapy? Is it a long term commitment?
A hand therapy appointment may include exercises, education, orthotics (such as splints), and tools to help make tasks easier. Hand therapists teach techniques to use at home, so patients can continue to make progress on their own. Once a patient has the skills and tools they need for continued success, appointments may no longer be needed.
Do I need a referral?
A referral from your primary care provider or surgeon is often needed for hand therapy. Referrals are made to the Hand Therapy Clinic for a variety of evaluations and therapeutic treatment programs including:
- Self-care, work and leisure assessments
- BTE-Quest work simulation
- Return-to-work activities
- Adaptive equipment needs
- Range of motion and joint mobilization
- Wound and scar management
- Muscle re-education
- Upper extremity strengthening
- Arthritis education
- Work simplification
- Sensory re-education
- Treatment—fluid therapy, paraffin baths, electrical stimulation, hot and cold packs and ultrasound
Hand therapists typically have a Bachelor or Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy, plus additional coursework, 4,000 hours of one-on-one treatment of patients with hand injuries, and a rigorous exam to become certified. There are approximately 7,000 certified hand therapists worldwide, and three work for Valley’s Hand Therapy Clinic!
Valley hand therapist Paul Levin, OTR/L, CHT states: “We are here for the community to increase their functional use of their hands, provide education, and help them continue doing the things that are important and bring meaning to life. If you are having trouble with your arm or hand function, please reach out to your primary care provider and ask for a referral—you may be surprised at all the helpful things you’ll learn during therapy!”