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How Hand Therapy Can Help After Hand Injury

A Helping Hand: How Hand Therapy Can Help You Recover After A Hand Injury

by Allison Sweeney, OTR/LLeave a Comment

The hand is an essential component in almost every aspect of our daily lives. Hands are required in common tasks like driving, cooking, dressing, eating, and grooming. Hand injuries are amongst the most common injuries in the US. In fact, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hand is the second most common body part to be injured at work. Participation in hand therapy following a hand injury is proven to help patients recover. According to recent studies, patients who attended hand therapy following a wrist fracture achieved significantly greater increases in wrist range of motion and grip strength after six weeks compared to patients who received no therapy. In this blog we will be discussing the importance of participation in hand therapy following a hand injury or surgery.

What is Hand Therapy?

Hand therapy is a specialized realm of physical rehabilitation for patients with upper extremity injuries or conditions. Hand therapy may be performed by an occupational therapist (OT), physical therapist (PT), or a certified hand therapist (CHT). Hand therapy uses a number of therapeutic interventions, guided by the therapist’s clinical judgment and patient goals, to help return a person to their highest level of function.

When Should You Seek Out Hand Therapy?

People suffering from an injury or condition that impacts the function of the hand, wrist, elbow, or shoulder would benefit from hand therapy. Oftentimes, following an injury, people experience pain, stiffness, swelling and weakness, which impacts their ability to complete everyday tasks. Participation in hand therapy following an injury provides patients with a structured and individualized rehabilitation program to promote optimal healing to get you back to your daily routine as soon as possible.

Benefits of Hand Therapy Following Injury or Surgery:

  • Maximizes range of motion: A hand therapist will use their experience and knowledge of injury protocols to safely promote improved range of motion through stretching, soft tissue mobilization and exercises.
  • Improves Strength: Hand therapists have specialized equipment to target the muscles in the hand and wrist, to ensure patients achieve optimal grip, pinch and wrist strength to return to activities like opening jars or carrying groceries.
  • Supports fine motor coordination: After a hand or finger injury, fine motor activities like typing, playing instruments or dealing with money can be a challenge. Hand therapy will address fine motor coordination based on the patient’s goals, through practice and activity modifications.
  • Wound care: Hand therapists are specialized in wound care techniques, including suture removal, burns, scar tissue mobilization and infection control.
  • Splinting: Following some injuries or surgery, the affected body part requires immobilization for protection as healing takes place. Hand therapists are specially trained in splinting techniques. They have the ability to custom fabricate a splint that is molded to the patient to provide the most protection and comfort.

Hand Therapy Can Help!

If you have more questions about how to manage your hand injury, please contact your local Athletico clinic and schedule a free assessment. Free Assessments are available in-clinic and virtually through our Telehealth platform.

Request a Free Assessment

*Per federal guidelines, beneficiaries of plans such as Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, VHA and other federally funded plans are not eligible for free assessments.

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

Watt CF, Taylor NF, Baskus K (2000) Do Colles’ fracture patients benefit from routine referral to physiotherapy following cast removal? Arch Orthop Trauma Surg 120:413–415
Quadlbauer S, Pezzei C, Jurkowitsch J et al (2016) Early rehabilitation of distal radius fractures stabilized by volar locking plate: a prospective randomized pilot study. J Wrist Surg 06:102–112.
Keep facts handy: 5 simple statistics to motivate hand protection | 2017-10-01 | ISHN

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