A hand therapist (Occupational or Physical Therapist) is an expert in the medical field who performs rehabilitation sessions for patients suffering with hands and upper extremities. They work in coordination with surgeons and physicians to help patients recover from hand trauma/injury/surgery.
Accident, trauma, or arthritis can be some of the major causes leading to hand trauma/injury. Hand therapy becomes inevitable in such cases and experts like Physical or Occupational Therapists advise patients with the best therapy. The aim is to help patients restore their normal lifestyle as soon as possible.
An initial evaluation is done to understand the extremity and intensity of the problem. A detailed examination is also performed by the therapist to make an outline for the treatment and then advise the patient accordingly. The goal and a timeline/deadline are set by the expert so that the progress of the treatment will be assessed in the later stages.
Stages of treatment advised by the hand therapist:
- The expert will undertake a hand therapy session with the patient to conduct investigations and then assess the intensity of the issue. This will help the expert to advise the treatment procedure. Some of the symptoms that help the experts to decide the treatment process are swelling, deformity, sensitivity, dexterity, strength, mobility, and difference in skin colour.
- If the severity of the problem is minor or moderate, then the expert may prescribe a few exercises for the hand, wrist, or palm. Most likely, the experts start with simple exercises. Also, the therapist may suggest medicines along with simple exercises for better recovery.
- If the intensity of the problem is intense, then the treatment procedure will be different. The expert may suggest customised orthoses or splints take care of fractures, tendon repairs, or nerve disorders. The focal point of the treatment is to restore mobility of the hand. A list of hand therapy procedures are listed below for better understanding:
- Manufacturing of Orthosis
- Educate the patient about the treatment outcomes
- Pain management
- Muscle or edema massage
- Adaptation advice
- Rehabilitation for better hand movement
Benefits of hand therapy:
With the help of hand therapy, the patient will be able to resume daily activities soon because the treatment is planned by the expert as per the severity of the issue. Hence, the treatment will give the desired results. Some patients show early signs of recovery and respond to the treatment plan with agility.
Motivation will also help in fast recovery. As the patients observe that they are well looked after, their spirits are high and hence, they can recover at a good pace.
In some cases, fancy equipment is also not required for exercises that can improve hand mobility. Simple tools like a smart grip strengthener manufactured by MySquegg is advised by the therapists for the recovery sessions. The patients can easily perform such exercises in the comfort of their homes too. These tools are like their “homework exercises” because the hand therapy exercise of squeezing the ball can be performed 3-4 times a day for improved results.
Our hands are the most functional organs in the body that we often tend to take for granted. But hand therapists and the treatment plan designed to help recover hand trauma can aid in the quality accomplishment of daily tasks.
Be mindful and make the right decision to visit the hand therapist timely if you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, hand arthritis, injury, or any other hand-related problem. A timely assessment of the issue will give a better treatment planning insight to the expert.