Hand occupational therapists (OTs) specialize in rehabilitation of patients with injuries, surgeries or conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, fractures and tendonitis. These may involve the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder and hinder activities of daily living (ADLs) such as buttoning a shirt or opening a container.
Who is Hand & Upper Extemity Rehabilitation for?
Some of the common hand and elbow injuries treated at the Upper Extremity Center may include the following:
- Post surgical rehabilitation
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Arthritis at the base of the Thumb (CMC joint)
- General Arthritis
- Fractures of the wrist and hand
- Dupuytren’s Disease
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
- Bone spurs at or about the elbow
- Bursitis of the elbow
- General elbow arthritis
- Bicipital tendonitis
- Traumatic hand or arm injuries
- Traumatic elbow injuries/dislocations
- Joint replacements of the hand, wrist and elbow
- Traumatic amputations
What does Hand & Upper Extremity Rehabilitation involve?
Occupational therapists work ‘hand in hand’ with the orthopaedic and plastic surgeons to promote optimal outcomes for individuals with trauma, elective surgery, injury or pathology to the upper extremity. Services they may provide include:
- Evaluation of sensibility, strength, range of motion, pain, edema, wounds
- Education of Injury
- Range of motion program
- Upper extremity strengthening
- Function and sensory re-education
- Performing arts/overuse injuries
- Edema/lymphedema control
- Activities of daily living (ADLs)
- Joint protection principles for rheumatoid arthritis patients
- Wound care
- Computer ergonomics
Fracture healing and tendon repairs of the hand, with the guidance of hand surgeons, require careful planning and hand therapists’ knowledge to ensure successful outcomes and return to full use. Returning the patient to a productive lifestyle with strong and pain free motion of the hands and arms, with good sensation and coordination is what occupational therapy in the upper extremity and hand department is all about.