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Hand therapy is a specialized branch of occupational and physical therapy caring for individuals of all ages with challenges in their shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. A hand therapist is an occupational therapist or physical therapist who, through advanced sports medicine study and experience, specializes in treating individuals with conditions affecting the hands and upper extremity, including hand injury, upper extremity injury, nerve pain and post-surgery rehabilitation.

Hand therapists can effectively treat a patient through post-operative physical rehabilitation, preventative care, non-operative treatments and industry consultation. The hand therapist works closely in collaboration with your surgeon or physician to provide physical rehabilitation in upper extremity, wrist or hand areas. Hand therapy treatment starts within days of an injury or surgery right through the patient’s return to work or a productive lifestyle. Hand therapy may consist of manual techniques and exercises to help in hand rehabilitation, wrist rehabilitation and upper extremity rehabilitation.

Many of these injuries also benefit from an orthotic (splint) to protect healing tissues, reduce stress on injured tissues, reduce scarring and regain lost range of motion. A hand therapist can make customized orthotics to meet the needs of each individual patient as opposed to the one-size-fits-all shelf models. Orthotics are made from a variety of materials to comfortably and safely protect and position the hand injury or ailment.