Hand therapy is a type of rehabilitation procedure performed by physical therapists to treat conditions of the hands, shoulder, arm, wrist and elbow joint. These parts of the upper body are collectively referred to as the upper extremities. The joints play a major role in almost all our daily activities and are, therefore, quite susceptible to injury. Hand therapy aims at restoring normal functioning and strength of these body parts. It is a non-operative process that makes use of specific instruments, exercises and manual manipulations to promote a faster recovery. The procedure is performed by a certified physical therapist who is trained to combine the knowledge of anatomy, kinesiology (study of movement of the body) as well as physiology to treat upper extremity disorders. Hand therapy may be used as a sole treatment option or to help patients recover from an injury/illness.

Orthopedic Conditions That May Require Hand Therapy

  • Wounds or scars in upper extremities
  • Loss of nerve sensation due to neurological problems
  • Tendon injuries
  • Congenital or acquired joint deformities
  • Direct trauma to any part of the upper extremity
  • Pain and swelling
  • Arthritis
  • Fractures
  • Joint
  • Instability
  • Peripheral nerve compression, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Tennis Elbow, etc.

Benefits Of Hand Therapy

  • It assists in a faster and healthier recovery from a surgery
  • Patients can find relief from acute or chronic pain in the upper extremities
  • The therapists aim at enabling patients to get back to work and recreational activities as early as possible
  • They also guide the patient in pain management so that the psychological trauma of injury is reduced
  • It may help to improve range of motion and flexibility of the affected joint
  • Hand therapists provide wound assessment and management to minimize the formation of scar tissue
  • It helps in the fabrication of a custom orthotic or splint to provide complete support to the injured joint and treat any deformities
  • The therapists may recommend specific exercises that can be performed by the patient to maximize the functionality of the upper extremity joints
  • They also guide the patient in proper techniques of using the hand to minimize pain and prevent further injuries
  • The therapy aids in desensitization following a nerve injury or trauma Specialized hand therapy programs may help in improving the patient’s gripping ability and gross motor coordination