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Hand Therapy, Are You a Candidate?

Hand Therapy, Are You a Candidate?

Hand Therapy Week

Hand Therapy Week is hosted every year during the first full week of June. The purpose of this week is to highlight the benefits of the specialty and spread awareness to the public so that those who may benefit from hand therapy can learn more about what it entails.

What is hand therapy?

Hand therapy is the art and science of evaluating and treating injuries and conditions of the upper extremity (shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand). Hand therapy uses a number of therapeutic interventions such as therapeutic exercises, joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization and functional activities to help return a person to their highest level of function. Hand therapist, Leslie Goodson, OTR/L, CHT, provided some insight into what hand therapy is all about.

“Hand therapy is fun because of the connection you have with the patient. We do everything with our hands, so when you can’t because of injury or disease there is a lot of stress that comes with that,” Goodson said. “It’s rewarding to help people regain that functionality and get back to doing what they love."

Who benefits from hand therapy?

There is a long list of conditions or injuries that hand therapy can be used to treat. Ultimately anything that would require regaining mobility and strength from the shoulder down would benefit from hand therapy. Some of the conditions that hand therapy is used to treat include: arthritis, fractures and dislocations, tendon injuries and repairs, sports injuries, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

The problem is that many people don’t know that there is a specialized form of therapy for the hands, Goodson said.

“I have people come in all the time who tell me they didn’t know there was therapy just for the hands. From people with weak and painful hands, all the way to serious injuries, we can help them manage and treat their conditions,” Goodson said. “We are able to get them through the recovery process with specific exercises and treatment techniques to help them replicate what they would be doing with their hands whether they are a piano player or a surgeon.”

There are also ways that hand therapy can be used proactively to prevent hand ailments from surfacing in the future. Generally stretches and exercises are used to prevent common ailments for people that use their hands often such as musicians, but arthritis and tendonitis can affect anybody. A hand therapist can provide education on injury prevention and joint protections strategies to help reduce its impact on your daily activities.

Norman Regional has two Outpatient Rehabilitation locations, one in Norman and one in Moore. Both locations employ certified hand therapists. Patients can self-refer for the first month of treatment but will need to get a referral for treatment after that. To schedule a hand therapy appointment, please call the location you would like to visit – either at the Physical Performance Center in Norman or at Norman Regional Moore Physical Therapy in Moore. To learn more about physical therapy at Norman Regional click here.