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Hand Therapy Is For All Ages: Can Kids Benefit From Hand Therapy?

Hand Therapy Is For All Ages: Can Kids Benefit From Hand Therapy?

by Rose M. Heacock-Smith, MOT, OTR/LLeave a Comment

Being a mom of two toddlers, I know how easily injuries happen in children as they learn to explore their world. While we want to keep our children bubble-wrapped so they never have to experience pain, the Occupational Therapist in me realizes how important it is for their brain development to explore their world. My kids have amazed me at how easy it is to get a finger stuck in a toy or while racing outside to play, the door pinches the hand, or the fall during a sport-like activity leaves my little one clutching his/her arm.

From forehead goose eggs to stubbed toes, children learn cause and effect, spatial awareness, sensory integration, and many more benefits from their injuries. “Hand injuries are among the most common childhood injuries encountered in pediatric emergency departments, with the potential for causing permanent morbidities such as scar contracture or restriction of growth of the hand even when the injuries were trivial events.1

So, what happens when a child sustains an injury? Here are answers to some common questions you’ve likely found yourself wondering about your little one.

Do I Take My Child To The ER/Doctor?

It never hurts to have an injury evaluated, and if your parent intuition is recommending you go to a physician, please go! Maybe the paper cut is still hurting after two days, and because your child was playing at the park, germs got into the micro papercut, allowing an infection to persist, or if you’re not sure if there is a fracture because your child is refusing to use their arm, these are great indicators your child needs to be evaluated by a medical professional.

My Doctor Is Recommending Hand Therapy, What’s The Purpose?

Following a minor or major injury of the fingertip to the shoulder area, hand therapy will likely be recommended as growth plates in a child’s bones need to remain healthy for normal growth of those bones Also, if an injury results in stiffness, weakness, or even deformity due to scarring, hand therapy is the most skilled profession to guide the healing process, leading to the best functional outcome and most natural continued growth and development.

What Can Hand Therapy Help With?

Aside from the previously mentioned benefits, hand therapy can assist with some hand and upper extremity developmental challenges, such as trigger thumb and upper extremity nerve palsies, as well as experiential injuries such as lacerations to tendon/nerve/blood supply, upper extremity crush injuries or bone fractures, and upper extremity tendinitis due to sports overuse or incorrect form. A hand therapist is skilled at respecting the musculoskeletal system and knowing when and how to progress the rehab and treatment of the tendon, nerves, and muscles to resume as normal as possible function following an injury.

Can Hand Therapy Help To Get My Child Back To Playing Sports Sooner?

Absolutely! Depending on the nature of the injury and the doctor’s degree of concern with healing, hand therapists can custom-make an orthosis/splint to allow for improved healing and protect the injury from getting worse when a child is allowed to resume sports; this typically means children can resume sports more quickly.

While we know injuries are going to happen, whether minor or major, hand therapy may be critical to the recovery of hand and upper extremity injuries of all ages. In particular for children as their bodies grow. Call your local Athletico clinic to schedule a free assessment following your child’s injury and be connected with an expert who can help.

Schedule 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.

1. Jeon BJ, Lee JI, Roh SY, Kim JS, Lee DC, Lee KJ. Analysis of 344 Hand Injuries in a Pediatric Population. Arch Plast Surg. 2016 Jan;43(1):71-6. doi: 10.5999/aps.2016.43.1.71. Epub 2016 Jan 15. PMID: 26848449; PMCID: PMC4738132.

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