Hand Therapy

What is Hand Therapy?

People value the use of their hands and any loss of function through injury, disease, or accident may have a devastating effect on their lives. Anyone with an injury wants the very best of treatment to assure maximal recovery. Those who are seen at UOC for Certified Hand Therapy can be assured that they are being treated by a therapist who remains current in the latest therapeutic techniques and have committed themselves to maintain the highest standard of care for the hand, wrist and elbow.

Hand therapy is the art and science of rehabilitation of the fingers, thumb, hand, wrist, forearm, and elbow. Hand therapy is a merging of occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) theory and practice that combines comprehensive knowledge of the body function and activity. Using specialized skills in assessment and treatment, hand therapists promote the goals of prevention of dysfunction, restoration of function, and /or reversal of the progression of pathology in order to enhance participation in life situations for individuals with hand and wrist disease or injury.

These injuries may include:

  • Fractures within the arm/hand/fingers, tendon injuries and repairs
  • Cumulative trauma injuries such as carpal tunnel, tennis elbow or trigger fingers
  • Ligament injuries (sprains)
  • Arthritis
  • Amputations
  • Burns
  • Scars that limit motion
  • Diseases that cause pain and limited motion

A CHT (certified hand therapist) is an OT or PT who has a minimum of 5 years of clinical experience, including 4,000 hours or more in direct practice in hand therapy. In addition, the CHT has successfully passed a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory. A CHT is required to demonstrate continued professional development and competency by recertifying every 5 years. Certification in hand therapy is voluntary and difficult to attain. It involves meeting rigorous standards, developing a long-range career path, and acquiring the advanced study and training required to pass the certification examination.